Tech today just isn’t made to last. Carriers want you switching phones once every few years, headphones break far too often and you’re probably getting another phone case next month. And as the usual narrative goes, our old tech gets lost somewhere in the nooks and crannies of our rooms, or worse, thrown out. With some simple tools and a little bit of creativity, you’ll find plenty of use for old tech. This is a list to give your unwanted products new purpose and save you a little bit of cash. It’ll also put a huge smile on Mother Nature’s face.
Old cell phones
We begin with tech everyone has stashed in their drawer somewhere: old phones.
If it’s not worth selling, old phones that still work make great photo frames, alarm clocks or dedicated GPS in cars. Even if the battery doesn’t last too long, leaving it charging on a dock makes for a more advanced alternative to the original device, with added versatility to spare. And in a car, it lets you save a bit of juice on your own phone too.
With Smart TVs, old phones can be left near the TV to serve as a smart remote for the family. Sync up the phone to your TV and it’s usually easier to control and type on than a conventional remote.
The trick here is to have your old phone dedicated to an app or two. It reduces the workload on its old hardware, and will still serve you perfectly well with these simple functions.
The boxiness of cameras make them an ideal – and seriously retro – container. Empty out its insides and use it as a flower pot; lenses into stationery holders; or pop a bulb into it and use it as a stylish lamp head. You can even cut a slit into the body of the camera, turning it into a piggy bank.
Let’s just take a moment to remember the good old days of the MP3 players. Clipped on our shirts or left dangling down from our necks, there was a certain joy of not knowing what song would come up next on its tiny monochrome LED screens.
And its last days don’t have to come just yet. Upload your favourite hits and turn it into a music station. Not all audio systems in cars have Bluetooth connectivity, but most do have audio jacks – link up your old MP3 player with the car with an aux cable and have your glorious tracks play on loop.
Its compact build makes it a more practical alternative to bringing your chunky phone along on runs. You won’t squeal in agony if it kisses the ground either.
They make handy emergency thumb drives too.
Cases get switched out like clothes these days, and many just find themselves collecting dust in a drawer somewhere. It’s plastic gone to waste. Some silicone cases even turn greasy when left unused, which is extremely gross.
Turns out, the curved edges of phone cases make great coasters when placed on to a table, especially silicone ones with a bit more grip. Their shape also makes them great for holding sponges or soap bars by the sink; or a handy jewelry tray by the mirror.
Save yourself a couple of bucks the next time you’re in need of these everyday items.
You’ve probably got a whole stack of these and you’ve no idea what to do with them.
Tech’s come a long way, and you probably won’t find any use for the merger megabytes that lie within a floppy disk’s storage, but plastic shell of the floppy disk makes it especially versatile. Its hard shell makes it a handy backing for weak items, with a retro aesthetic to spare. They can be punctured and bound round flimsy notebooks; or stuck together to form a bill caddy or desk organizer.
Fragile and dangerous when shattered, old CDs are a tricky one, but they make pretty materials for the kids to use for arts and craft. And if you’re never seen a narrow light strip beaming from within a tall stack of discs, you should definitely check it out.
Earphones and headphones
These never last, and often find themselves broken and in a tangled mess; or you’ve got a new and better pair with a new phone you just got.
As they come in all sorts of colors, cables make great bracelets – just snip off the earpiece and you’ve got a long and durable wire to craft with.
The selection of letters on a keyboard means you can create your own pendants and key-chains – and give that souvenir shop a miss. Pluck out the keys, and chain them up to form names, quotes and all sorts.
It’s a giant screen! Even if you’ve moved on with a new desktop, there has to be some use for an extra display in your life.
Hook it up to your laptop, giving you more screen real estate – more productivity. The extra screen is great for monitoring information, from stocks to sports, or to separate your work on your main screen from chats and other distractions.
And if the pixels and circuitry are fried, the rotating neck and wide screen make it a good body for a mirror. Get creative.
Have anymore ideas?
We hope these suggestions are useful and we would like to hear how you repurpose your old gadgets and tech – Feel free to leave them on the comment section below.