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Take Back Your Drawer Space! How to Get Rid of Unused Gadgets

I’m in the midst of packing up my house for a move, and one thing is for certain:

I have accumulated a lot of fitness crap.

This is, in part, due to the fact that my husband and I are both Ironman triathletes, and as such, require a fair amount of doodads and whatzits. It’s also in part because I write about health and fitness, so I’ve accumulated a menagerie of test products — some great, some snake oil. But mostly, it’s because the thought of getting rid of all this stuff feels overwhelming. Most of it is perfectly fine, so it isn’t worth throwing away … but on the other hand, who would really want to buy a five year-old fitness watch, right?

I’m not alone in my apprehension. According to a survey by Usell, 42 percent of Americans suffer from “extreme gadget obesity” — the act of holding on to gadgets for two years or more. Though the gadgets in question are mostly smartphones and tablets, it also includes fitness gadgets like heart rate monitors and fitness trackers. Many of these forgotten devices still work perfectly, yet they get relegated to junk drawers and closet corners.

Let’s do a little spring cleaning, shall we? If you’re looking to take back your precious drawer space, here’s what you need to know about unloading your extra tech:

*Note: Before you get rid of any gadgets, make sure to do a hard reset to clear all information. Not only will this make things easier for the new user, it will keep your personal information safe. I had a friend who purchased a Garmin off Craigslist once. He met with the seller at a Starbucks because she didn’t want my friend to know where she lived. When he got home and turned on the device, however, he saw data from all her runs – including GPS maps showing her home address. Say it with me, friends: “D’OH!”


Use It

Before you ditch a device, use it a few times. Sometimes, like an old boyfriend, you need to be reminded of why you got it in the first place. Wear that pedometer for a few days, and you may find you’re not getting as many steps as you thought you were. That kind of wake-up call can be a good reminder to take it out of the junk drawer and put it on your body.

But sometimes, like an old boyfriend, booting up an old device can cause a serious case of “What the <bleep> was I thinking?” In that case, read on.

Sell It

Most fitness tech, even the so-called “old” tech, has a buyer. You know, one man’s trash and all …

  1. Facebook. Social media is not just for selfies and political rants anymore. Both personal Facebook pages and rummage-sale groups (like SteveBay, a fitness-centered buy/sell group) are great ways to find a buyer for your tech.
  2. Craigslist. This is a solid choice for finding a local buyer, so you can avoid shipping costs. However, meeting up with a stranger to exchange cash for your items can make some folks a little nervous.
  3. eBay. Have you been on eBay lately? They sell everything there. List your device, let buyers bid on it, and be ready to ship to faraway lands you’ve never heard of, like Denov, Uzbekistan, or Dunseith, North Dakota.
  4. Resale retailers. Your local gear recycling stores, like Play it Again Sports and 2nd Wind Exercise, may be willing to purchase your used items in good condition. They bid low, however, so you may not make as much cash as you would selling it on your own. Call before you drive over there, as every store has its own policy on buying and selling technology.

Trade It in

Contact the manufacturer of your old item to see if you can trade in your old model for a discount on a newer version. Garmin, for example, lets lets you trade in some fitness devices for credit toward newer model.

Donate It

Whether you do it for the warm-fuzzies or the tax write-off, donating your used gear is a great way to ensure it will get used by someone who appreciates it. Contact your local Girls On The Run chapter or high school athletic department to see if they have an up-and-coming runner who could put your gear to good use; if not, sites like Fitness 4 Charity will find a good home for your devices.

How many old fitness gadgets do you have taking up space at home? —Susan

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