You've upgraded to the latest smartphone, laptop or TV – now, what to do with your old gear? Learn how to trade in your gently used electronics for cash, or donate gadgets at the end of their lifespan.
Available in a mall near you, consider this the tech equivalent of Coinstar. Each ecoATM guides sellers through a step-by-step process of scanning an iPhone, MP3 player or tablet for its estimated resale value. Once personal information like a driver's license ID (used to deter theft and criminal resale), is uploaded, the kiosk offers a cash value that you can walk away with that same day.
I love the convenience and reach of Craigslist for selling things locally. When writing your Craigslist ad, do a little market research and see how other users are pricing comparable goods. If you price, say, a camera lens for a $100 more than others selling the same thing, don't expect to get a lot of bites. And always make sure to upload only the most glamorous shots of the tech to grab buyers' attention.
Trade It In
Major retailers like Best Buy (pictured), Walmart, Target, Amazon and even Apple offer the opportunity to exchange gently used gadgets for gift cards that can be used to buy more electronics or, you know, toilet paper. Your choice.
Find an Online Electronics Market
The business of electronics reselling is booming – great for sellers looking for top dollar. Gadget markets like Gazelle, NextWorth and uSell make selling old iPhones, laptops and tablets almost as painless as ordering your morning coffee, and they'll send you a pre-paid shipping label if you like the price. Brilliant.
Hire a Virtual Sales Assistant
The smartest way to sell your gear online is to get someone else to do it for you. Glyde is one effortless option: Answer a few questions about the product, then Glyde will do all the background bartering on your behalf. Once the product — be it a gaming console or point-and-shoot camera — is sold, print the Glyde shipping label, send it off and look for your money in less than a week. Valet from eBay is another hard-to-beat concierge service, only requiring you to take a few pictures of the item being sold. A "valet" then responds with a value range and will send you a free box in which to ship the item. Products usually sell through Valet in seven days, which is when you'll receive payment.
Use Your Real-Life Social Network
Go retro and tell friends, family and acquaintances in person about the tablet or TV you're selling. Chances are good they'll know someone that doesn't want to pay full retail and pass your info along. Post on Facebook or Twitter to let every last one of your friends know at once. Who knows, maybe the girl that sat next to you in freshman biology years ago really needs a new flat screen.
Tech for Karma
If there's a school or charity nearby that you'd love to support, skip the for-profit model and donate the old technology to organizations in need. Goodwill even has an Impact Calculator on its website to show how an electronics donation can help your community.
Even if It's Broke
What to do when your gear is a little less "gently used" and a little more "totally trashed"? BuyMyTronics offers money even for broken and defective products. Sell pretty much any gadget under the sun here, from a Nokia flip phone to a graphing calculator.
Recycle, Close the Loop
Step away from the trash can and repeat after me: "No gadget of mine will end up in a landfill." Ensure old batteries and electronics parts don't contribute to the pollution of the planet, and find an e-cycling center near you. 1800Recycling.com lists resources by ZIP code of where tech can be responsibly dropped off or mailed in.