Recently at a friend’s home, I was asked to retrieve an item out of a ‘junk’ drawer. Upon doing so, I noticed five cell phones rolling about. The first thought to enter my mind was, “oh, I am not the only one with a ton of phones lurking around.” We talked about this and both of us came to the conclusion we had no idea what to do with these outdated and broken devices. What do people do with old cell phones? Does everyone have a committed drawer to a cell phone party? Upon curiosity (and perhaps seeing a few dollar signs in my eyes) I decided to research on what to do with my mobile pile up.
Some of the research clearly indicated to ‘give it away’. Locally, I tried and no one wanted them; speaking of how out of date they were. I even received a few laughs, thinking I was lost somewhere in the Stone Age and no one bothered to tell me. However, the upside to this was the abundance of charities which might accept the phones. Some showed me their own junk drawers full of donations, and said no more. Some were picky and took the best two. Others told me about other charities willing to accept old phones. Either way, I was leaving with a box of older phones.
If I had one of the original smartphones, perhaps I could have re-purposed it. If you are savvy enough it can become a dedicated media device for your car, or an alarm clock. I have personally witnessed this from the younger crowd boasting of infinite possibilities with smartphones. One thing I did do was keep my best phone aside as a backup, because I had a couple of situations where I actually needed a spare (consider the phone-drop-into-middle-of-puddle routine). Still, that leaves me a flurry of other phones to deal with.
I set out to sell the phones. I tried Craigslist, eBay, and a couple local ad pages. No such luck. I am to assume my devices are obsolete. If yours are not, then there are a few choices here. At the end of this article, you will find a list of viable options. If you are with Verizon, they have a recycle, re-purpose, and reward program with their phones. They will appraise your device value based on three things: model, condition and manufacturer. Check their website for exact directions for shipping. Remember, not every provider takes every phone; most of their interest is in the newer models. If you are determined to get cash for a device, check out online spots first. Comparison pricing is what it is all about if you are working with a great phone to unload.
Online sales and trade-ins
Cash For Smartphones
Best Buy Online Trade-In
Swappa (Marketplace, more like eBay)
Your carrier’s buy-back program
Physical sales and national recycling outlets
Cell Phones for Soldiers
Hope Line Phones (Verizon)
City drives — check with your city government
Local domestic violence centers