The traditional time for airing out your closets and getting rid of all the clutter and stuff you no longer need is from New Year’s to spring. They even have a name for it: spring cleaning.
I propose you take a look at the technology you’re not using and consider selling, donating, recycling, or just tossing what’s no longer needed.
But what should you purge? If you’re like me, you might have a closet full of old cables, barely functioning USB headsets, and random adapters you’re keeping around “just in case.” Who knows when you might need a VGA-to-DVI monitor adapter for an emergency multimedia presentation in your living room. What if you suddenly need 10 USB thumb drives to distribute your one-person multimedia show, USB Or Bust to the media?
Let me say this clearly and please allow it to sink in (I’ll do the same because I have this problem): “Just in case” is never going to happen. And if it does, we live in a world with two-hour Amazon shipping and eBay. You can find that weird adapter without too much trouble.
So let go of these things. You’ll feel unburdened. I promise.
Clutter guru Marie Kondo famously asks you to examine items in your life, from the contents of your sock drawer to your keepsakes, and ask: “Does this object bring me joy?”
With technology, it’s less about joy than about utility. Does this object really have a use in your life? Is it making your life easier or just taking up space? Would a cheap upgrade to a better version of that item bring you fewer hassles?
Those are the questions you should ask as you examine your aging tech products. A good rule of thumb: if you haven’t used something in six months, it probably should be on its way out of your life.
Here are just a few items upon which you should be casting a skeptical eye:
It’s not all about purging. Here are a few things you might want to hold on to a little longer or use in a new way:
Now that you have decided what should stay and what should go, you have a lot of options on what to do with these items.
For newer tech such as tablets and smartphones, the best first option is probably to try selling or trading in if you’re in the market for new gadgets. Gazelle, NextWorth, Craigslist, and eBay are good places to start, as well as more locally focused apps such as OfferUp, Mercari, Letgo, and even Facebook Marketplace. If you’re selling to individuals instead of a company, be prepared for flaky people, offers to trade, and lowball offers. But a little cash is still better than nothing.
Donating your tech is always a good bet. Goodwill is usually my go-to. If you keep track of donations for tax purposes, don’t forget to ask for a receipt.