Declutter Your Home Office – Part 4

photo credit: Zengame

Now that you’ve accumulated more iPods, cell phones, and computer peripherals than you can shake a USB stick at, it’s probably time to consider offloading these extra gadgets before your home office turns into Radio Shack. However, before you start chucking all your obsolete and outdated electronics into the trash, remember that these items may contain some nasty materials like lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium. Plus, there are many organizations and companies that can responsibly put these items to good use, so be mindful of the way you get rid of your electronics when decluttering…

If It Works And It’s Worth Something…

If your peripherals and gadgets still work and they’re worth something, then sell them on eBay or Craigslist. Of course, this option may take some time and effort if you’re looking to get top dollar for your items, but what bootstrapped entrepreneur wouldn’t want some extra cash? Another option is to see what you can get for your items at the following services:

If It Works But No One Wants It…

In this case, donate your computer peripherals and gadgets to an organization in need. Take for example the Cristina Foundation which matches donated computers and computer peripherals to charities, schools, and public agencies in all 50 states. StRUT is another worthy organization that uses donated computers and peripherals to teach students how to repair and refurbish computers for use in schools. There are currently StRUT organizations in Silicon Valley, Oregon, and Arizona.

If you’re still feeling charitable but can’t find an organization that wants your stuff, then give Freecycle.org a try. If you’re unfamiliar with Freecycle.org, it’s a nonprofit grassroots movement of individuals who are giving and getting stuff for free.

If It Doesn’t Work And No One Wants It…

If you’re a handyman or handywoman, then you can try fixing your gadgets by utilizing sites like FixYa and Partstore.com. If fixing your stuff isn’t feasible, then give Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, or GreenDisk a shot…

  • Best Buy has a free recycling kiosk at the front of every store that takes ink cartridges, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, CDs, DVDs, and PDA/smart phones. They are also working on a free electronics recycling program which is currently being tested in 117 U.S. stores – click here to see the list.
  • Staples has an eco easy program that will take your bulky electronics for a $10 fee, which includes smaller computer peripherals at no extra charge. Staples also takes cell phones, PDAs, and rechargeable batteries for free while giving you a $3 discount on ink if you recycle any HP, Dell, or Lexmark print cartridge.
  • Office Depot offers Tech Recycling Boxes that range from $5 to $15. All you do is buy a box and fill it with as many acceptable items that will fit.
  • GreenDisk responsibly recycles a wide variety of “technotrash” and arranges to have it picked up via FedEx or the US Postal Service. The cost of the service depends on the weight and type of items you’re recycling.

If All Else Fails…

The EPA’s eCycling website is chock-full of recycling links and resources including take back programs from AT&T, Dell, HP, LG, Motorola, Palm, Samsung, Sony, T-Mobile, Toshiba, and Verizon. Another option is to contact your city’s information hotline and inquire about any e-waste and hazardous materials disposal programs they may have.

Just remember that Mother Earth will jump on your face and tattoo your chromosomes if you decide to dump your toxic junk in a landfill, so do the right thing and find an organization or service that will dispose of your electronics and gadgets responsibly.

In Conclusion

This post concludes the Declutter Your Home Office series and I hope you find all the tips and resources useful. As always, feel free to share any tips you may have on ridding your office of electronic clutter and thanks for reading!

Declutter Your Home Office – Part 1: Desk and Bookcases
Declutter Your Home Office – Part 2: Snail and Junk Mail
Declutter Your Home Office – Part 3: Paper Clutter

Sincerely,
The Closet Entrepreneur

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for the list of sites. This is very helpful. Yep, we all need to clean up every once in a while to keep us organized.

  2. Please add eCycle Group to your “If It Works And Its Worth Something” list. We purchase over 1200 cell phone and 800 printer cartridge models.

    http://www.ecyclegroup.com

  3. I always worry about donating computers because I don’t know how to get all my personal stuff off it.
    Love the look of your site and the logo/landing page is fantastic. Thanks for telling me about the link problem on my website.

  4. TOMAS

    @Winning Startups – You bring up a good point, and it’s something I should have mentioned since I’m pretty sure other people would run into the same dilemma.

    What I ended up doing was removing and keeping the hard drives from the computers I donated. There are kits you can buy online or from electronic retailers that allow you to turn your hard drive into an external USB or Firewire drive – like this Rocketfish enclosure. This way, you can still access the files on the hard drive or reformat it and use it as a spare back up hard drive.

    There are also many utilities out on the web that you can use to erase your hard drive if you’re not interested in removing it from your computer, although no hard drive can be truly ‘erased’ so it’s probably a safer bet to remove your hard drive and replace it with a new one if necessary.

    🙂

  5. If you’re worried about data security, do a “clean erase” on your data. Google for “Secure” deletion software. It’s free and easy to use!

    Nice site,

    Josh

  6. @Josh – Thanks for the tips and glad you enjoyed the site! 🙂

  7. Please add http://www.eReplacementParts.com to your “If it doesn’t work and no one wants it” section. We provide replacement parts from over 70 name brands, but specialize in providing the best repair resources on the web freely to visitors.

  8. One man’s trash is another’s treasure! 🙂 We are a computer recycler at the level where we pay scrap prices for the materil. Depending on the amount of material (hardware, chips, CPU, memory) is in the unit, the more amount, the more money around 3-5 bucks. Some people are more than happy to receive that amount, and yet there are others still looking for resell prices on damaged goods. Good information in regards to telling the difference on resell types.

  9. Phil

    If It Doesn’t Work And No One Wants It…

    Another great resource is Cash for Electronic Scrap USA (http://cashforelectronicscrapusa.com/). Instead of trying to fix your items you can get cash for electronics and computer scrap.

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