4 things you can do with your old cell phones and devices


As you’re doing some spring cleaning, you may stumble upon an outdated laptop at the bottom of the closet or some old phones stashed in a junk drawer.

But instead of tossing them in the trash, there are much better options for those old devices — and some could even get you some money.

Friends Carol Lawrence and Susan Sipple recently updated their smartphones.

But at home, Lawrence said, “I have five phones, flip phones too!”

Sipple said her stash is even worse.

“It sits there, it collects dust and then you add another and another,” she said. “And when you turn around you have seven phones, like I did.”

What You Can Do With Those Old Phones

That’s what Alex Hausfeld of U-Break-I-Fix refers to as the “tech graveyard,” that everyone seems to have.

“Usually, it’s either a shoe box or a closet or a junk drawer,” he said.

Hausfeld says the last thing to do with old devices is toss them in the trash.

“That’s because of the harmful chemicals that can be released into the environment whether it’s burned or goes into a landfill,” he said.

Instead, he says to repurpose old devices.

An example, he says, is using old smartphones as security cameras.

“Baby monitors are another one,” he said.

Or he says you can make anywhere from $25 to several hundred dollars if you sell a device at one of many reselling sites online.

Just make sure it’s wiped clean, he cautions.

“Be sure all of your personal information is off of it,” he said.

Hausfeld manages a U-Break-I-Fix by Asurion store that partners with Samsung to help customers recycle tech for free.

“We will recycle anything from phones to old chargers, old cables, to batteries,” he said.

Mark Williams, the head of customer care with Samsung, says parts are reused when possible — or disposed of properly.

When a device breaks down, William also suggests you repair it, rather than replace it.

“If you want to stretch your dollars,” he said, “you can keep your device a year or two longer by just getting it fixed and it’ll perform like it did when you first got it.”

One last option for old devices: help others.

Carol Lawrence and Susan Sipple say to consider donating them, in their case to help seniors and victims of domestic violence.

“If it can help somebody else, then that’s what we should do,” Sipple said.

So recycle, sell, repair or repurpose, and that way, you don’t waste your money.

About the Author
John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.