Sara’s Tech Tips: Spring Cleaning Your Gadgets

February 20, 2011 at 10:16 am , by

sara _0079Editor’s Note: We’re excited to introduce LHJ’s new tech contributor, Sara Haines of NBC’s Today show! This month she’s got some great tips for spring cleaning your tech clutter.

Chances are, you’ve got an old cell phone or two stuffed in a drawer. Maybe you have an outdated TV gathering dust in the basement or a printer that doesn’t really work any more. Most of these gadgets can’t even be fixed (or in many cases it’s cheaper to buy a new one). Or maybe your kids had to have that new game system and quickly forgot the old one. But what should we do with all this tech clutter? Unlike your usual spring cleaning, it’s not as simple as dropping these outdated tech toys into the trash. Some of the materials, like the cathode ray tubes in televisions, can be hazardous in landfills, and other items that still work can be donated instead of ditched. Here are my three favorite tips to help you “spring clean” responsibly when it comes to your has-been electronics.

Company “take back” programs. Many big chain stores (such as Staples and Best Buy) and manufacturers (like Apple and Sony) have beefed up their “green” game by offering incentives or resources to recycle old consumer gadgets. Check out Engadget to find the most comprehensive list (including stores, manufacturers, and government agencies) for these “take back” programs.

Recycling. The resources are available for electronic recycling vary depending on where you live, but many gadgets can be recycled. Here are a few sites that can help you find the best options for your area. and both allow you to search for a recycling center by ZIP code. is also a great resource to find collection events taking place locally.

Tech patience. Practice self control when it comes to new gadgets. It may be hard for you (or your husband or kids) to pass up that shiny new gizmo, but holding out for the second round of a product gives manufacturers time to work out early developmental glitches. Buying later also practically guarantees a lower price. Patience is a virtue that will reduce electronic waste while saving you money!

28 Responses to “Sara’s Tech Tips: Spring Cleaning Your Gadgets”

  1. I’m looking for April 2011, clean up you online act w/Sara!!From page 10,

  2. I am not able to connect or find Sara’s “how to spring-clean your PC and streamline your online life” in the LJH as listed on page 10. Please clarify.

  3. What happened to Sara’s tips on cleaning your PC?

  4. still looking for sara’s tip “how to spring-clean your pc. what happen?

  5. Someone ought to proof read what they say in an article. NOTHING on cleaning ones PC.

  6. I do not see anything in Saras online spot that refers to cleaning up the PC and streamlining my PC– help !!!!!

    thank you

  7. Still havn’t seen anything on cleaning your PC.

  8. What happened to the to spring cleaning your PC?

  9. Ditto to all of the above. Not at all like LHJ
    to not deliver as promised. Really disappointed!

  10. I can not find “declutter your computer and streamline your online life” @…as stated in your newest magazine.

  11. I just received the April 2011 LHJ. I appreciate the SKPE download info and the FREEBIES info/site. BUT, I am not able to find Sara’s “how to spring-clean your PC and streamline your online life” in the LJH as listed on page 10. How/where do I find this info?

  12. Where is the information for how to spring clean you p.c.? Thank you for any help you can give me.

  13. I can not find the part about the PC clean up.
    I am not tech oriented but my computer is 5 yrs old and i think I would do wll with Sara’s help.
    Can you send a link to the specific Spring cleaning a PC in April issue.


  14. I two am looking for pc cleanup Help!


  16. What about a spring clean for MAC when the PC one finally appears??

  17. Also looking for spring cleaning my PC

  18. I’m also disappointed. I’m still looking for spring cleaning my PC

  19. I was really looking forward to cleaning up my PC. Very disappointed there are no ideas or instructions here.

  20. Ditto everyone above! How do I spring-clean my pc and streamline my online life!

    Disappointed LHJ!

  21. Double ditto on the Spring cleaning pc where is the information hiding—-

  22. Nothing there about how to clean up your PC? Somebody made a boo boo.,

  23. Disappointed to not be able to spring clean my PC.
    Looks like a lot of people had the same idea. What’s the problem?

  24. Please, would someone from LHJ reply? Seems many of us are interested, and would like the information you advertised. I usually don’t find the time to look these things up…would like to find it.

  25. I also with all the people above would like the info you advertised.

  26. also could not find keyboard cleaning.

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