It’s a new year – time to clean out your unused tech drawer. Banish extra cords!

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You know you have that drawer of cords you keep around because you’ll use one at some point. I’m guilty of having something closer to a closet like that… The new year means is a great time to clean it out!

Let’s dig through the closet to make sure you’re not hoarding anything you don’t need.

That mess of  cables, I know you have them! go find them, I’ll wait.

Start by digging out all of those old power cords from devices you haven’t had for 10 years – you’ll never need that spare cord you kept for the VCR that you threw away 10 years ago. That spare cord from the laptop you had in 2004 also isn’t going to get any use. Recycle them! Unusual adapters to things you don’t have anymore: Gone!

Power cords tend to be pretty specialized for most components – there are so many different connectors and power requirements that they tend to only work in a few places without giving you trouble. One of the common exceptions to this is the standard PC power supply plug.

both sides of a standard power cord

These get used in a lot of places. Desktop computers, monitors, all sorts of tv/entertainment systems, etc. It’s never bad to keep a few of these around as spares. You’ll of course get new ones every time you buy something new. I personally only keep particularly long or short ones – they can be useful when installing things when you need just a few more inches of cord or don’t want to end up zip tying 5 ft of extra cord behind a TV.

Phone & related cords. It’s amazing how quick these tend to build up – some of these are still pretty useful and a few aren’t used much anymore.

When it comes to USB you have a few different types

USB connector styles

Type A plugs in to your wall charger or your computer – the other side of the plug is what you need to check. The type B or ‘square-ish’ style get used for computer accessories like printers. The mini plugs were used for older cell phones and other smaller accessories – digital cameras are common uses, (including gopro’s) the micro connectors are what you see used for most smart phones in the last few years (it’s nice they finally standardized.) You don’t need to keep 15 USB type B cords or very many mini-connectors either – it’s pretty safe to hoard the micro cords though – you can always use another one of those when your dog eats your phone cord–over and over again. The new micro-C type connector is starting to come in to the phone market – it’s another iteration of the smaller connectors used by phones – give it a few years and we wont be using Micro-B connectors anymore and they’ll be collecting dust in the drawer.

Apple devices use different plugs

you’ve got the ‘classic’ apple connectors & the newer lightning plugs.

lightning connector imageApple dock connector

Lightning on the left & ‘classic’ or Apple Dock Connector on the right.

Unless you’ve got an older ipod around that still gets used you really only need lightning cables now.

What do you do with all the unneeded stuff?

Now you have a pile of leftover cords you’re ready to say goodbye to – great. Now what? Most recycling will gladly accept electronic cords – right in to your blue bin and you’re done. Donate them to a local technology group – they go by different names in different cities – Free Geek, etc. Google ‘electronic donation’ and see what’s local. Goodwill or other donation places will happily take them but you’ll want to sort & clean them up before dropping them off. Best Buy and most other big electronics stores also have bins for recycling/donating old electronics & cords.

Start the year right and clean those drawers out!

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