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Getting rid of old gadgets

Sell old gadgets spring cleaning

We’re kicking off spring cleaning week by clearing out that drawer full of old devices. Here’s what you need to know before you sell it or give it away.

The rate at which new devices replace the old is staggering. And the lifespan (or lack thereof) of some of these devices is even more shocking. If you’re a consumer of personal tech, you likely have a drawer or two of misfit toys, that used to be shiny and full of promise and are now decidedly outmoded.

And if you want to sell any of these devices, the clock is ticking, and the ticking gets especially audible once the next-gen device is on the market: a hot gadget can lose from 30% to 70% of its value after a year. According to trade-in site Gazelle, iPhone trade-in values drop 20% within the 60 days surrounding an iPhone launch. Ouch.

If that sounds expensive, remember that [highlight] the faster you get your stuff out of the house, the more you can expect to collect [/highlight]. Keep your devices in good condition, and you’ll get a chunk of your investment back, which helps when you’re making your next buy.  Let it rot in a dusty closet, and it’s a guarantee that you’ll end up with a doddering device that’s too slow, too large, and too incompatible with current software to be of use to anyone.

Convinced? Ready to make some cash and clean out a drawer or two this spring cleaning season? Let’s get started.

Prep your stuff for sale

After you back up your goods to the Cloud or a hard drive, do a clean system reinstall. Make sure you de-authorize subscription services like iTunes and Netflix (or anything else that has access to your device), and unlink the phone from the “Find My Phone” feature (if you have that turned on). For even more tips, check out this Photo Gallery on

Now that you’ve cleaned up the interior, it’s time for a big exterior clean up. The better your item looks, after all, the more you’re likely to get for it. Remember not to reach for the Windex— remember there’s a right and a wrong way to clean gadgets. Next, take some beauty shots in good, natural light. Shoppers who can see what they’ll be getting, down to the dings, tend to become happy buyers who don’t request returns.

Choose the right sales platform

Though auction sites or Craigslist can pull in the most cash, they’re also the most work, and some will collect more than 10% of your sale price. A site like Gazelle offers locked-in sale prices so you can get cash up front for your old device, no haggling necessary. Just plug in the details about your device for an instant quote. Gazelle will buy certain models of laptops, smartphones and tablets, but if you’re interested in selling something they don’t want to buy, there are lots of different sites that might be interested. For a list of more places to sell your tech, see this gallery on


If your gadgets are just too old, broken beyond repair, or have no value in the marketplace, it’s time to consider tossing them. DO NOT throw them in the trash, however. Electronic waste (or e-waste) includes dangerous chemicals like lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants. That stuff goes right into our air, soil and water if we chuck our outdated devices into a garbage bag and send them off on the garbage truck. Not only morally reprehensible, but it’s illegal in a bunch of states.

Instead, look for a reputable electronic waste recycling facility or a certified e-steward in your area. Or a store like Best Buy has a convenient recycling program that takes a number of outdated goods. You could also look to donate it to a charity or school that could use it, which would give you some nice karma points to add to your spring cleaning regime.

Do you have that outdated tech drawer in your home? Motivated to spring clean it this year? Let’s discuss in comments.

Photo credit: Grovemade

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