The Short Life of Electronics

Photo Credit: Charlie Beldon via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Charlie Beldon via Compfight cc

I’m currently typing on my laptop which I use pretty much every single day. My smartphone is next to me charging on my bedside table. My husband is holding the iPad mini and next to him is his iPhone charging. Also in our bedroom is the Nook lying on the dresser! That’s already 5 electronics that are in the same room as us!

We tend to keep our electronics longer than most people but that doesn’t mean we have a lot of them. We also have two large tv’s, a pc tower and monitor, two older laptops, a Wii console, PS3, Nintendo, Nintendo DS, two DVD players, a surround sound system, and probably a few more than I can’t think of right now! That’s a lot of electronics for two people! A lot of them are older and we’ve kept them beyond what most people would keep them around for. The Nintendo doesn’t count for that though because it’s a classic. We’re planning to donate one older laptop but we just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Electronics are made and upgraded so quickly that people cycle through them within a few months it seems like. I certainly am not one of these people. I can’t imagine how much money they’re spending to keep having the latest phone or newest computer. Then there’s the environmental aspect of where are all these electronics going? Are they ending up in landfills or do people actually recycle them?

Buy what you need

Before buying any electronics make sure you get the specs that you actually need. I usually try to go a little above what I need for my computer because I want it to last a few years before I need to buy another. This way as it gets older and software takes up more ram and processing power my computer can still keep up. Of course I wouldn’t mind buying the most expensive computer with all the upgrades possible, but it’s really not going to leave any money in my bank account. Also of course make sure you really want what you’re about to buy. This goes for anything but especially for electronics since they can get pretty pricey.

Keep electronics longer

Not having the latest and greatest electronics isn’t the end of the world. Phone companies now have been introducing new plans and deals about ways to get a new phone faster. People pay a premium every month along with their hefty phone bills just so they can get a new phone whenever they want. I’ve always waited for the 2 years to pass before getting a new phone. I get a nice discount on a new phone and my old phone is still in pretty good shape, even if not the newest. It’ll save money and help the environment a little to keep electronics around longer.

Another thing to keep in mind is the quality of what you are buying. Buying the cheapest electronics might also mean that you will have to replace it sooner. Paying a little more in the beginning for something a bit nicer isn’t a bad idea if you want to keep it around.
Try selling used electronics in good shape

There’s always the option of selling anything you don’t want on Ebay. I’ve had pretty good luck with selling old phones on Ebay and getting a good amount of money back. I had a HTC smartphone for 2 years and just recently got a new phone. I paid $50 for it 2 years ago and it sold on Ebay for $70. After all the fees and shipping I’ve basically just recouped the money I spent on it.

Donate to a school or charity

Even if the computer you have is too slow for you it might be perfectly fine for someone else. Schools and charities always need computers for help in teaching. Make sure to wipe your hard drive clean and then donate it to where it’ll be welcome. Goodwill is also another place to donate electronics.

Recycle it

If you can’t sell it or donate it then the last thing to do is to make sure electronics are properly recycled. Electronics not only contain hazardous materials but they also have precious metals inside that can be reused. A lot of electronics stores take back products for free and so does Goodwill. If its not in working condition Goodwill will make sure it is recycled.


I regularly use a lot of the electronics we have but others are pretty much neglected. The Nook just sits on the dresser for a very long time unless we have a good book we really like to read. It’s the same for the Nintendo DS. I usually like to take it with me on plane rides. It used to get a lot more usage out of it during family gatherings when everyone would have one.  I can’t imagine living without any electronics but I can try to be responsibly about how I use them.

Are you an electronics hog or do you try to pare down the amount you have?

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