“Show someone you care with a random box of stuff this holiday season.”
There’s Graze, Birchbox, Barkbox, Brobox, Dollar Shave Club, Trunk Club, Blue Apron, and now, there’s Minimalism & Co.’s new minimalist themed subscription box. Each box has their own flavors, qualities, and featured products. Some use corporate partnerships to market products through these boxes, while others are hand-selected items by the box creator. These subscriptions can include makeup, food, and much more.
The subscription model is usually set at one box per month, but this varies between companies. The prices range from $25 to $100s each month. If you’re using Blue Apron — a meal preparation service — you’ll likely sign up for more regular deliveries. Although, Minimalism & Co. sends their box once every quarter (3 months). Regardless, once you sign up, you’ll be getting regular deliveries of unexpected “gifts.” It’s like getting a surprise present each month!
However, there’s another way of looking at this subscription craze. To mindlessly subscribe and receive trinkets, makeup, and/or men’s grooming products seems to be the epitome of conspicuous consumption. It’s unclear who might need these products; I mean, truly need a product received through a subscription box.
Initial subscriptions are often discounted to make the first box free or inexpensive. Subscription services know that once they have someone on the trial, they’re more likely to continue using their product and/or try it again at a later date. And even if you were done with the service, you might not want to go through the terrible phone trees and/or automatic email exchanges to get your cancellation confirmed. All the while, you’re spending money, adding clutter, and struggling to cancel the onslaught.
Subscription boxes have made minimalism, orderliness, and frugality harder. Fortunately, there’s an alternative to this madness. Today, I want to introduce a solution to effortless consumption. In fact, I’ve come up with a clever name for the subscription, too: “ByeBox.”
Our worries will be solved. It starts with a nearly empty box. When you subscribe to ByeBox, you receive nothing but a cardboard box and a piece of paper. Isn’t that revolutionary and minimal!? And there’s no need to be careful when carrying the box into your house, as there’s nothing to break. Once you’ve opened up the box to see no goodies, makeup, razors, grooming products, or exotic foods from Chile, you can prepare for a far more intentional decision.
Written on the 8.5 by 11-inch paper is a simple request: “Pick something from your house that you once wanted/desired, but no longer find enjoyment or need. Place it in box and ship it back to ByeBox for another empty box!” It’s just that simple!
We are faced with countless opportunities to spend and collect every day. Surprisingly, many have embraced subscription boxes and taken to spending outsized proportions on tchotchkes that provide little value to our lives. My idea — ByeBox — might be a joke, but wouldn’t this make more sense to those working to live a minimal and frugal lifestyle? The harder decision always seems to be fighting against the mode of consumption — to find ways to minimize by going without and throwing out.