Electronics are a category which many clients avoid or feel overwhelmed by. Evidently, the number of electronic items can easily and quickly multiply within a home – probably because electronics date quickly and are replaced. BUT when new items enter homes, the old ones are often still kept but then not used very much. Honest answer: are you guilty of holding on to useless leads, chargers, old phones or cameras?
Although there are easy means to sell some items i.e. through websites like Music Magpie, the reality is that we do not get a very good return on them. We humans sometimes doggedly focus on their original high value instead of their actual value. The resulting emotion is guilt, which we deal with by keeping the item, perhaps telling ourselves that we have not yet finished using it.
Even if we do want to part with an item, we may be unsure about how to do so. Most of us are aware that most charity shops don’t accept electronics, making it even easier to delay the decision. The worst part? Keeping the electronic device means keeping its relevant cords. A huge, tangled mess often ensues in a drawer. The natural reaction to this is to close that drawer – and avoid the decision.
It’s important to think about the usability of any electrical item. The end goal is that the item adds value to your life. If other items you own are essentially duplicates, this won’t add any further value. It will simply dilute value by causing confusion and taking up room.
- Start by identifying which items give you the most value and put them to one side, with their partner cords and chargers. Use a white permanent marker to label cables. If the cord connects to the mains electricity, it can be particularly useful to label the plug – that way, when plugged in, you can see which it relates to at a glance and will know when you can turn the power off or swap power points.
- Aim to store cables with the gadget they’re for; however, for cables which aren’t used regularly, place them in a freezer bag labelled with the gadget name and store in a specific place.
- Ensure you have disposed of the packaging in which your electronics arrive. The packaging is notoriously extensive I have known many clients hold on to this huge bulk, which takes up a huge amount of precious space.
- Let go of anything that doesn’t work. It is extremely unlikely that you will get it fixed. Online selling sites sometimes pay out for broken electronics; otherwise there will be a specific part of your local recycling centre in which to dispose of them.
- If you need to wipe the hard drive of a device, take action and call a local PC shop who can do it for you. People often procrastinate about this resulting in them holding on to the device for years.
- It is worth buying an inexpensive battery tester (this is something I find very useful as part of my professional organisers’ kit) As you go through your electronics, you will need to test the batteries, put any dead ones in a labelled freezer bag and make a note to take them to the recycling centre or supermarket for specialist disposal.
- Let go of anything on which you no longer have an appropriate device to play it on (CDs, video games) and likewise any old devices on which you no longer have items to play (cassette players, VCR’s, gaming).
- If you do not yet have the updated version of something and you are still getting value out of it, don’t feel pressured to replace it. When people prematurely replace items, this is where they struggle to let the old item go and end up with duplicates. If the old item is being donated to someone else then great but it needs to be assigned an owner and a use – just like everything else in your home.
At the end of all this, you will no doubt have unidentified cables and perhaps devices. If you can’t face simply disposing of these, place them in a box and label them with a future date to review – perhaps six months from now. Put a note in your diary of the date and location of this box and if you haven’t missed them by this date, let them go. After how hard you have worked, you owe it to yourself to follow this one through.