reader question – should i keep old electronics?

When you buy new a toaster or speakers or cell phone, do you put the old one in the basement, just in case? Even if it’s broken?

Whether it’s a broken coffee maker that could be used for parts, or a computer that can be called back to duty in case the new one breaks, almost everyone has extra electronics around the house. I don’t know what drives the desire to hold onto things once you’ve replaced them, but I do know that a lot of people feel the same way.

I call the basement the “appliance graveyard” because many of my clients have a collection of old, obsolete and/or inoperable electronics stashed away there.

When you replace an item, it might be a good idea to keep the old one for a few weeks. If something goes wrong – as in my recent computer experience – you’ll be prepared with a substitute. Before you stow the old TV in the basement, attic or garage, decide how long you’re going to wait before letting go of it. Put a note on your calendar to donate, sell or dump the original and then do it. Otherwise, you’re going to create clutter and lose valuable storage space.

If the original item stops working completely, however, there is no reason to keep it. You can take a photo or write down the model number if you want to buy the same one again. As for keeping parts “just in case,” consider whether you ever needed an extra piece before. If you might replace a defective part one day, would you remember where you put it? Or would it be easier to go online and order it?

Like the reader who asked the question, my clients aren’t able to use their spaces because they’re storing stuff they don’t use. The hardest part for most people is the decision making – it’s easier to stick something in a drawer than it is to think about how to dispose of it.

If you want to sell an older model, look up the value and decide whether you want to trade it online or sell it. Don’t wait until your technology or appliances are worthless. If you need to schedule a bulk-trash pickup or ask someone to help you move something heavy, make that your next step.

If you’re not using something, don’t let it take up space in your home. If you’re agonizing about what to do with it, don’t let it take up space in your head.

Do you have old electronics hanging around your house?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
Find more organizing and productivity tips on twitter, facebook and pinterest

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