What to Do with Old CDs

Do you have a CD library taking up a big footprint at home? Feeling cluttery? You might have noticed that music has all gone to streaming, and there isn’t a big market for new CDs, let alone your used CDs. Here’s what to do with old CDs when you are ready.

What to Do with Old CDs

What to Do with Old CDs

We recently worked with a gal who had hundreds of CDs lined up along her walls. They were all stacked in skinny, mini CD stands. She told us in no uncertain terms that she didn’t want them anymore, but she thought she should be able to get “some money” for them. She didn’t have an amount in mind, but she thought there should be someone who would come to her home, give her money, and cart them away.

I’m sad to say, that magical Money for Old CDs Fairy does not exist. But here’s what we did find for her to help downsize her CD collection when she wanted to know what to do with old CDs.

Sell Used CDs

Do a little digging to find a buyer for your used CDs. In Philadelphia, a city filled with music and music history, there are several stores who may be interested in buying your collection. Here’s the catch…you must be willing to cart your collection to them, let them pick through your collection, and be willing to take what they offer, which will be pennies on the dollar compared to what you paid for the disks originally.

Digital Underground, 732 S 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, 215-925-9259

They accept hard rock and heavy metal only.

Sit and Spin Records, 2243 S Lambert Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145, 267-773-8345

They accept punk, heavy metal, hip hop and jazz.  You need to bring the cds in for an estimate, usually $.25 to a couple of dollars each.

Hideaway Music, 8232 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118, 215-248-4434

They only accept vinyl.

Repo Records, 506 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, 215-627-3775

They accept rock, hip hop, soul and jazz.  All artwork must be intact.  Usually $.10-$1.00 each.  They accept music CDs only. 

Please note that the above information is as of late 2023, and is subject to change at any time. I don’t have a relationship with any of these places, and you must call them before you visit.

You can search online where you live for “who buys used cds near me” no matter where you live to find similar buyers.

What to Do with Old CDs to Make Money

Let’s do the math…If you have 100 CDs to offload, a buyer might only want 20 of them at $.25- $1 each. So you might make $5-20, but you’ll still need to pack them up, cart them to a buyer, and then cart home the ones the buyer doesn’t want.

There are some online sources who will offer to buy your CDs, movie DVDs, and games, but honestly, I’ve never had luck with those. You stand to spend all the money you make on the shipping costs, and that’s after you’ve spent hours on their site sifting through what they will and won’t buy. I’ve personally had property go missing with one of these outfits, who just decided not to pay up. Not cool.

What to do with old CDs when you are in downsizing mode? I’m guessing you have a lot of things you need to accomplish before your move, and this one thing will probably not be high on the list. Rather than trying to make money, focus on getting your space back using one of the methods below.

Gift Old CDs

Do you know a teen or young twenty-something? They might be into your collection of the Psychedelic Furs and Fleetwood Mac. Let them take a swipe through your tunes. You just might have to buy them an external disk player, since computers don’t come with them anymore. I’ve linked to one that comes with both a USB-A and a USB-C connector, very handy to have.

Donate Used CDs

Professionally produced CDs are a pretty durable medium (although your CDs may already be dead). “Vintage” artists from the 8o’s and 90’s are having a moment. When possible, you can donate the CDs to a library or non-profit thrift store who will sell them to fund their operations. Always call ahead. Not all have the facilities to store your CD collection. For the most part, you can only donate old CDs if you still have your CDs in the jewel cases with the original cover art.

Your Disks are (Probably) Dead

Recycle Used CDs

What to do with old CDs if  you tossed the jewel cases years ago? Your best, no-fuss solution might be to recycle the disks. Community drop-offs exist in national stores like BestBuy and Target. You can check with your local trash hauler/recycler to see if they accept them, though very few do.

If you still have the jewel cases, you can separate the CDs (usually not recyclable in curbside recycling) from the jewel cases and the artwork, which may be accepted curbside. It doesn’t take that long, and sends the right parts to the right places.

Destroy Old CDs

The CDs that you used in your computer or pirated your friend’s disk onto? Yeah, those are worth nothing. But they may have data that you don’t want others to see. We recommend using a bolt cutter to easily chop through the disk to render it unreadable. If you have a recycler taking them, they want the plastic, so it won’t matter if you turn them into pieces. But please be safe. Don’t try to cut through disks with regular scissors, or you might hurt yourself.

Play Old CDs

Hey, it’s possible that YOU might enjoy hearing your old CDs again. You might still have a CD player around the house, maybe in a clock/radio. Also, your DVD player attached to your TV can probably play those audio disks, too! We still play CDs at Christmas. A few years ago I kept track of which ones never got played, and donated those at the end of the season. Now we have about ten holiday favorites. It’s enough.

What NOT to Do with Old CDs

Our friend with the stacks and stacks of CDs? She seemed so ready to get rid of hers. They literally took up an entire wall in her bedroom, making it hard to clean in there, and making it nearly impossible to get to the outlets. In the end, she decided to do nothing. Many people think that they are somehow being responsible by keeping their old clutter, but what they are really doing is turning their home into a mini-landfill. The eco-damage was done when the CD was manufactured, transported to the store, and purchased back in the day. When it’s time to part with your old CDs, I hope you decide to do something, even if you make no money. It’s better than packing them up for another move, letting them rot in storage.

Let me know how it goes.






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