Suggestions for getting rid of old hardware

I know this is a question that some of you must have faced before.

I have a basement in my house. In the basement sit two servers, two partially disassembled old computers, a couple CRT monitors, and about 8 file boxes of old hardware. This hardware includes old sound cards, video cards, game controllers, external cd rom drives, RAM, wireless remotes, speakers, keyboards, modems, optical drives, hard drives, routers, switches, etc. – and that’s just what I can see from where I’m sitting by one of the servers.

I’m obviously a packrat, and need to get rid of some of this stuff. In particular, I need to get rid of some of this stuff so I can justify buying a new computer, since my current gaming machine (P4 3.2 Ghz w/ HT and 6800GS) is getting a little long in the tooth.

So my question for you all is: what do you do with your old hardware? In the past, I’ve given stuff away (as both Stroker Ace, who got my old vid card, and Rob Merrit, who kindly took some old Macs off my hands, can attest). The problem is that such charity a) only works for some items and b) doesn’t help defray the cost of a new computer (which would be nice, but hardly necessary).

One suggestion I’ve left off the poll is “donate to your local school.” I’ve left this off because I work in the realm of education, and supporting 50 bajillion donated machines often ends up costing more than just leasing a bunch of new Dells or HPs. So I’m not a fan of donations to schools or any other organization that would benefit from standardization.

So, please, vote, and make suggestions if it’s something not in the poll.

Make artwork out it and sell the results on eBay.

Maybe not…

wait, how much did they go for? that second one is interesting at least in how it looks like an overhead land view.

A “don’t” suggestion: Don’t give it to UNICOR.

Toxic Hard Labor (1/23/2007) - Gopal Dayaneni and Aaron Shuman co-authored a report about the recycling of electronics in prisons by a company called UNICOR. Freda Cobb witnessed, and apparently was affected by, UNICOR’s operations.

Take them to a proper waste disposal facility. If you can’t use your old computer junk at home, it is likely that nobody else can either. Dispose of it properly.


That’s what I was (not so cleverly, I guess) joking about with the “drop it in a neighbor’s garbage can.” I’ve looked into it, and it’s fairly cheap around here (Virginia: America’s Garbage Bin!), so that wouldn’t be a problem. I’d just hope to find a home for some of it first – after all, I paid good money for this crap! :)

Call your local school. They’ll take it. I donate PC equipment from corporate to the schools here in Raleigh all the time, and you’d think it was candy to them.

Salvation Army or Good Will stores near you? Just drop it off around back, they’ll make the call whether it’s worth saving or tossing.


I give away complete systems to family members, but also keep around some bits and pieces, they end up being useful. For example a 10 yr. old PCI video card and a P IV cpu I had in a box helped me troubleshoot a friend’s system just yesterday, as it wasn’t booting properly and we didn’t know what to blame, the 8800, the mobo or the cpu. (Fried $1000 quad core FTL)

Well, that’s been my logic for years – and occasionally things are extremely helpful. However, at some point here I think I need to ditch the old ISA video cards.

Thanks for all the great ideas – and keep 'em coming!

You can make tax-deductible donations to the Salvation Army.

Only if it’s not junk.

Where do you find computer displosal places? Is there a national registry or something? I have some old stuff sitting around I haven’t gotten rid of yet that is just taking up space.

Try Earth911, and punch your ZipCode in the top left.

Try churches and stuff.

I used to give away components and PC’s I salvaged from components to other people then I stopped. The moment you touch anyone’s PC you are now responsible for anything that happens to it now or in the future. You’ve become free tech support. They can’t format their powerpoint presentation, they call you.

Now my junk sits in the garage. At last count I had 3 complete systems lying around the garage, including a completely brand new, not-unpacked dell system.

San Jose had some really neat stores called “junk shops” or something. It was like a graveyard of components in bins labelled “WORKING”, “SOLD AS”. keyboards - original IBM PC. bought bags of jumpers and two random bags of bolts and screws (sold by the pound!).

All mine is sitting in the garage because I am unable to decide what to do with it. I should donate it, but I’m too lazy to drag it out, connect it up to a monitor and figure out how to properly nuke the hard drive. I may just give up and take it to the local electronics recycling plant. I cannot bear dealing with freecycle/craigslist people, everyone is so damn flaky, unreliable and annoying.

A year or so ago I went and took inventory of all my old pc peripherals. I took all the stuff I didn’t think I would ever use (lots and lots of SCSI equipment) and lined it up against a wall. Then whenever friends or family came over I invited them over to the wall of free stuff and pick something. Always post a disclaimer of right of refusal which means if they try to give it back you have the right to refuse it!

Ack! The closest places are like 1.5 hours away :(

Go with local charities. Considering I work at one, we are always needing new (to us) computers and computer parts to service the ones we have. Charity tech budgets are even lower than tech budgets at small businesses, and we all know how small that is. Help!

Check with your local trash company about household hazardous waste disposal. I can only speak for California, but both your city and your trash company like to avoid the liability for adding contaminants to a landfill, so they have designated days or places for dropping off household hazardous waste. Computer equipment counts as a HHW, so the last few monitors & dead components I’ve had have been dropped off at a HHW center nearby. They even take it out of your car for you, which was nice when I was discarding dead 21" CRTs.