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Recycle & Donate: Decluttering Electronic Devices for Spring Cleaning

Spring is definitely claiming the weather back these days and you know what that means. Spring cleaning time is here so it’s a great opportunity to declutter and get rid of some of the junk that you collected over the past year. While it’s important to remove the cobwebs, clean out your closet, and put the winter clothes away, there’s one more thing you can do. Have you thought about decluttering electronic devices?

Even though you probably haven’t considered this idea before, give it a chance. Think of those old or used smartphones, laptops, headphones, tablets, Bluetooth speakers, and video game consoles you no longer use. They probably ended up in a drawer somewhere in your house, taking up valuable space. Once you replaced them with newer, sleeker, flagship gadgets, you didn’t need them anymore. But now it’s time to come face to face with the tangled mess and find a new purpose for them.

Step #1: Assessing the Situation

You have several options when it comes to decluttering electronic devices and charging cables. You can either donate them, sell them (if they’re still in good condition), or send them off for recycling. But before you decide what to do with them, it’s time to gather all of your old e-junk.

To get started, collect all the used electronic devices that are hiding around your house – in forgotten closets, storage boxes, or in the bottom drawer of your desk. Lay them out on a table or some other flat surface. Remember to gather all of your old chargers, accessories, and USB cables, as well. If you’re no longer using a certain device, chances are you’re also not using its accessories (especially if we’re talking about any Apple products).

Time to take an honest look at your display of old electronics and evaluate how much you’ve used them over the last year. If you’ve replaced a device with a new one or you simply don’t need it anymore, it’s time for that device to go. Be honest with yourself: If you haven’t touched it for more than a year, chances are you won’t use it in the future anyway.

clean desk

Step #2: Donating & Recycling

Now, it’s time to decide the fate of each of your old devices and their accessories. There are plenty of opportunities, whether you choose to donate, sell or recycle. Your community might offer you recycling programs, or you could try reselling them online. Instead of letting them gather dust in your drawers, you could give your used items a new life.

  • Donating – Are you interested in donating? Simply call a local thrift store or other charitable organization (such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill) to find out if they need your kind of devices. For instance, the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center accepts cellphone and smartphone donations to help victims of domestic violence going through a transitional period. Anyone can call to let them know about a donation and make arrangements for pickup.
  • Recycling – E-waste recycling is one of the fastest growing branches, so why not make good use of the programs out there? Many recycling centers accept year round drop-offs. However, they might have various business hours or recycling points, so make sure you contact them before dumping your old electronics on their lap. Accepted items usually range from scanners to laptops, as well as DVD players, rechargeable batteries, ink cartridges, and more. Most devices can be dropped off for recycling at no charge.

Step #3: Selling Your Old Devices

If you have electronic devices in good condition (and not extremely outdated), you can resell them at several stores. Wal-Mart, for instance, could help you with their ecoATM kiosks. They accept smartphones, tablets, cellphones, and MP3 players. After a quick assessment of the condition of your devices, you can get cash on the spot. At the same time, ecoATM wants to keep electronic accessories away from landfills, so you can leave your old chargers and headphones in a recycling bin.

Step #4: Trading In

If you no longer want to trip over your collection of old video games, GameStop can help take them off your hands. Well known for trading in video games, the retailer also accepts tablets, phones, video game systems, and accessories. Simply take your items to one of their locations and they will give your a price quote. More often than not, the retailer offers trade credit in return, so you can buy some gaming devices you really want.

Best Buy also has a trade-in program set in place with plenty of locations across the States. Items accepted by the retailers include tablets, mobile phones, video game software, as well as hardware (laptops or smartwatches). You will receive a Best Buy gift card based on the value of the devices and accessories you take to the store. You can use the gift card to buy newer electronics you will enjoy.

Tips for Decluttering Electronic Devices

In the end, it doesn’t matter which option you choose for your old devices – selling, donating, recycling, or trading them in. What does matter, however, is that you remove any personal information from the device before handing them in. Computers, laptops, and smartphones might contain sensitive data you wouldn’t want to share with retailers.

Donation centers and non-profit organization that resell your old electronics will probably do a sweep of their own, but it’s safer if you take care of it yourself. First, download and back up photos, files, and other information you still need. Then, sign out of all services on the device, and then reset it to the factory settings.

After sifting through and decluttering electronic devices, you may want to take spring cleaning a step further. If you have a smartphone, you could declutter your screen by removing any apps you no longer need. You may have several apps you downloaded and tried only once. If you never opened them again, it might be time for a general phone cleaning. Changing the wallpaper to one with a simpler pattern could also help you see clearly which apps you do need. It also makes the device look organized and ready for spring.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3 

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David Knoch
 

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