If you recently upgraded your phone, computer or other electronic device, is your old gadget sitting somewhere gathering dust? It’s good that it’s not in a landfill, but you can still put it to better use. It could make you money or help someone in need.
Grab your device out of the closet or drawer and consider one of these four top ideas:
1. Sell it. Websites such as Gazelle and NextWorth buy old devices and even pay the postage to have them shipped to them. To take advantage, you typically answer a few short questions about your product (Apple iPhones, iPads and Android devices are especially popular) and describe its condition. The company may then offer you a quote to buy it. People report offers of anywhere from around $100 for the oldest model iPhones to more than $300 for newer models. If it’s a deal you like, you can send the device to the company. After the item is received and inspected, payment is released.
Another option for selling your electronics is to try a marketplace such as eBay or Craigslist. Make sure you read each site’s policies about buying and selling an item, and try to ensure that you’re only dealing with legitimate buyers.
And always remember, whenever you give your device to another party, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for erasing the device’s memory. You certainly don’t want a third party to have access to any personal information that was stored.
2. Trade it in. Amazon recently announced a trade-in store. You can trade in items such as DVDs, CDs, video games, electronics and books and get an Amazon gift card in return.
Companies such as Apple also have trade-in programs that let you turn in your old devices for credit toward a newer model (though that may not be an option if you already bought the upgraded version over the holidays).
3. Give it to charity. Nonprofits such as Goodwill may accept used computers, phones, printers and other devices and find new homes for them. Some charities can accept a donation at any time, while others may have specific days on which they accept electronics. Check with your local center for details.
If you have a cellphone to donate, visit the website American Cellphone Drive. This site is set up to help you find nearby organizations that will accept donations of cellphones. (Some national organizations include Cellphones for Soldiers the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the 911 Cellphone Bank).
Keep an eye out for your other favorite local charities, too. Many have special programs that accept electronic products that benefit the local community. If for some reason there’s no local charity around to accept your device, consider offering it on Freecycle.
4. Reuse it. If you have an old smart phone and Wi-Fi service at your home, you could use your device to surf the Internet when you’re not traveling. It’ll conserve the battery on your actual phone for when you leave the house.
An old computer tablet that uses your at home Wi-Fi could become a portable device that plays your favorite music or video streaming service, a free portable MP3 and movie player for your kids, or a game center for your favorite games apps. In addition, apps for your smart phone can let you make Wi-Fi calls and texts without the need for a data plan.
There are several ways to deal with old computers and electronics. You can make extra money from them, give them away or find another way to take advantage of what they have to offer. Either way, find a new home for them, and don’t let them just sit in a corner and gather dust.