Choose fewer electronics

Here’s another one I personally struggled with: electronics.

I love technology. I’ve worked in tech since high school and wish I could buy everything in the Apple Store. (I have to remind myself to choose less every time I visit one.)

My love for tech means a love for electronics. I once had giant boxes full of old cell phones, video games, and even my defunct college laptop.

Even if you’re not as techy as me, you probably have a lot of electronic things in your house, too.

There are newer and better gadgets coming out every day, which are usually pretty good!

But I know that when I used to upgrade to a newer version of something, I’d keep the old one just in case something happened to the new one.

Doing that over the course of many years and many upgrades, somehow one extra cell phone in a drawer became a graveyard of dusty devices.

As I started choosing less, I realized that if I wasn’t using my gadgets actively anymore, then I probably wasn’t going to use them in the future.

So, I decided to choose less and to find a way to dispose of them.

Here’s some ideas for how you can, too.

You probably know step one by now: get all of your electronics, cords, and cables and put them in a pile so you can better understand what you already have. From there, sort them one by one into keep and sell/donate piles.

Once you've figured out what you want to get rid of, though, know that electronics often take a little more work to dispose of than something like a shirt or an extra wine glass.

If you can, I would first recommend donating still-functional but unused devices to friends and family. Gadgets are expensive, and someone might be able to use your phone that’s only a couple years old.

If that old device is on its last legs and you’re feeling a little DIY, you can probably fix it using a guide and tools from iFixit.com.

Another great way to get electronics out of your house is selling them through Facebook Marketplace or eBay. Most used electronics have some value, even after many years. You might not get a lot, but it will be better than nothing!

If you just want to donate your electronics in bulk, places like Goodwill should take them, and I’ve found that people from the Craigslist free section are always happy to take gadgets out of your life.

Don’t keep too many cords, either. Just keep the ones you use to regularly power or charge your daily-use devices. Cables are cheap on Amazon, so it’s easy to replace a broken or misplaced one.

Without all the old gadgets in the house, I freed up a lot of space and even made some money. I’ve accepted that I used those old things I had for as long as I was going to use them. Now that they’re gone, I can move on and better enjoy the things I use every day.

If you’re curious, here’s what I’ve pared down my electronics to: iPhone, MacBook Air, AirPods, Kindle, Nintendo Switch, keyboard, mouse, monitor, and desk speakers. 

I’m the first to admit that that’s still a lot of electronics. I haven’t quite shaken my gadget habit.

But they’re all things I use almost every day, so I am happy to have them in the house.

This post is adapted from a weekday newsletter I wrote in April 2018, Choose Less.