Getting Rid of Old Technology

Learn the right way to dispose of that used TV or phone, and maybe even get some cash back for it.

How to Get Rid of Old Tech 05:45

Here are a few helpful tips for getting rid of all your old tech devices.

Everyone's got one: a closet full of dusty TVs, broken digital cameras, and the brand-new phone that became outdated without warning (they do that). Pretty soon, you're struggling to shut the closet full of gadgets in limbo, and they haunt you from behind closed doors.

9 Ways to Get Cash for Your Old Electronics

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Send It to the ecoATM

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.

Think Locally

I love the convenience and reach of Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for selling things locally. When writing your 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.

Photo By: scyther5

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.

Photo By: Eliza Snow

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, Instagram 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.

Photo By: Jochen Sand

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"? Gadget Salvation or Sell Broke offer 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. lists resources by ZIP code of where tech can be responsibly dropped off or mailed in.

Photo By: koo_mikko

In this episode of Smart, Simple, Solved, I'll show you how to get rid of broken tablets, crusty old keyboards and stagnate smartphones, and give them – and you – a new lease on a digital life. Get cash, or trade it in for a credit towards something new. Boost your karma by donating your old stuff to charity, or just properly recycle it all to avoid the landfills.

8 Things You Should Do Before Selling Used Electronics

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Back It Up

Safety first: Send your essential data to the Cloud or a hard drive. That means your contacts, photos, music, apps and anything else you wouldn't want to lose. Backing up your phone will allow you to restore it on your new device, setting up just like the old one in no time.

Wipe It Clean

Remember: Putting your sensitive data in the trash doesn't mean it's gone! You'll need to do a clean system reinstall (on a computer) or "restore factory settings" (on a smartphone or tablet) to make sure all your data has really been removed.

Deauthorize Subscription Services

Your account with services like iTunes, Netflix, the Xbox store or the Wii store has personal information and is linked to your device. Before you sell it, make sure you deauthorize that device or unlink it from these services so the new owner can't rent movies or buy games on your tab.

Wipe It Clean (on the Outside!)

Plain and simple: The better your tech looks, the more money you're likely to get for it. (Learn more about the right way to clean your tech here.)

Quit "Finding" Your Phone

For Apple mobile devices or computers, make sure your phone is no longer "findable" by Apple's "Find My Phone" feature (which you can turn off in Settings > iCloud on a phone, or in System Preferences > iCloud on your computer).

Strip It

Remove SIM cards, SD cards, DVDs and games. Sure, seems like an obvious enough step, until you realize a week after selling your old Xbox that your favorite game went along for the ride, free of charge. Open up every port, latch, cover, slot and drawer on the electronic you’re selling and hang on to all your media.

Take Great Pictures

Buyers are likelier to take the plunge if they can clearly see all the details, dings and all. Don't try to hide imperfection: Being honest means you won't end up with a dispute on your hands.

Plan Ahead for Future Sales

To ensure you'll earn top dollar next time around, skip the engraving or personalization, use a case and a screen protector, and hang onto the box and accessories.

Before you ditch your old devices, though, there are a few things to do – it's important to kick your digital footprint to the curb. Wipe your gadgets clean of personal information so that no one else can flip through your vacation photos or bank on your credit card information. Yikes. Plus I'll make a few upcycle crafts from those old CD jewel cases. (You won't be needing those, you MP3 lover, you).

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