Chances are that you have a drawer at home that hides a mess of cords, cameras and memory cards that kind of looks like this:
In this case, we actually pulled all of this mess out of two drawers, and I’ll show you those in a minute. It’s time to tame your tech mess.
If you are already overwhelmed, you are not alone. That’s why this is the perfect project to break down into small chunks…specifically five steps that you’ve heard me talk about before:
How to Organize Anything: S-P-A-C-E
SPACE, as in: Sort, Purge, Arrange and Analyze, Containerize, and Establish a Maintenance Plan.
First, sort out the cords, devices, and memory cards, sticks, and tapes. The only exception is if you have already matched up a specialty cord with its device, you can keep those together. Use trash bag wire ties or velcro loops to neaten up the cords.
Then purge, or set aside, those items that you know you won’t be using anymore. Out go the old micro-cassette recorder, the old and broken point and shoot cameras, the older dSLR camera, and the 2nd Polaroid camera. We made sure to take the memory cards out of these devices as we put the devices themselves in the pile to be donated.
Analyzing and Arranging: That middle step is figuring out what you have left and where it really belongs. Out of that whole pile, we ended up keeping the current dSLR camera, a Polaroid, and a few cords.
Put things back together, and store them in a way that makes sense.The memory devices are all removed from their devices and stored in their own protective case. There are different versions of media and camera card cases, like this one.
The remaining gear now fits nicely in the two drawers. The left drawer holds the Polaroid and film (yes, believe it or not, you can still buy Polaroid film), the memory device case, and the household remotes. We also kept the card reader device with it’s cord, but now it’s contained and easy to find in its own baggie. If you have one of these, it’s a good idea to keep it so you can read all of your old cards on newer computers.
The right drawer holds the newer dSLR camera and the cords we are keeping. There are basically four types of cords these days. There are the specialty cords for older devices. Then there are the Apple-specific cords from various generations. In the past few years, the mini-USB cords and the micro-USB cords have become the universal cords for almost all of our consumer electronics, such as phone and cameras and basically anything that needs to be recharged, so if you have a bazillion of them, you can pare them down to just a handful of each. Micro-USB cords will all work equally well in any device that takes a micro-USB, regardless of the brand. The same is true for the less common mini-USB cords.
You can identify other mystery cords here, and recycle the ones you don’t need at BestBuy or any recycling center. Once you identify any you need to keep, don’t end up in this mess again. Your maintenance plan includes labeling these cords now, with a label machine or a simple masking tape + Sharpie solution.
So, with that, decided, we ended up with one small baggie each of micro- and mini-USB cords, and one remaining bag of audio cords.
What happened to the rest of the mess? Hopefully, it’ll turn into cash for this client. We dug up four old iPhones that can either be gifted to family or can be turned into Gazelle.com for cash, The second Polaroid, the old point-and-shoot cameras, the digital picture frame, and even some smoke alarms that aren’t yet out of date can all be donated and claimed as tax deductions. The old dSLR could probably be sold on eBay or CraigsList. Even if the camera itself isn’t terribly valuable, the lens may be. All of this stuff laid out in the picture below is leaving, and the drawers that hold electronics are now manageable, and things in them are useful.
So the next time you find yourself hunting for a cord,or trying to jam shut a drawer with too many electronic pieces and parts, take a bout a half hour to go through this process, and declutter your gadgets, and you might even make some money from them.