Spring Clean Your Tech: how do you tidy up all those cables and old devices?
Spring Clean Your Tech
Almost every client’s office that I go to has a box, a box brimming with cables, old devices and other tech detritus. And I always help the client go through it to see what the cables belong to, is it still needed and how we can recycle the unneeded items.
Here are three ways you can keep your cables organized:
- Put them in baggies. It helps keep the cables dust free. It also stops them from tangling up with other cables.
- Label the baggie. Put which device it belongs to and what it is.
- Use a velcro tie to keep it from knotting up. You can get them at Staples. Don’t use those plastic zap straps, it’s too easy to damage the cable.
I recommend you start the baggy and label process every time you get a new device. If you don’t know what the cable is for, label which device it came from. Bonus points if you put the purchase date on it. Makes it much easier to sort later.
Clean Your Devices
I recommend the Whoosh cleaner for screens. See my blog about it.
Don’t use a vacuum on electronic devices. Vacuums can static shock electronics and ruin the motherboard. Use a microfiber cloth instead. Always spray the cleaner on the cloth instead of the device.
Small, Old, Dusty Devices
Still got an iPhone 4? Maybe an old Android tablet? Before you dispose of them, you should wipe the data from them.
To clean off your old iPhone or iPad, go to Settings, General, Reset. In Reset, select Erase All Content and Settings. Be sure to transfer over any pictures or files you want to your computer first.
For Android devices it gets more complicated. Reset options will vary depending on your device manufacturer. You may have to remove your Google account and your manufacturer account before you can reset your phone. Tablets you should be able to go to Settings, System, Reset Options, Erase All Data (Factory Reset). You can always go the manufacturer web site and search support for your device.
Large, Old, Dusty Devices
What about desktops, laptops, monitors and printers?
Places like Free Geek Vancouver or the B.C. Technology for Learning Society will take your old desktops and laptops and wipe the data off. They’ll also take printers and networking equipment. Those groups then use the equipment to train on and Free Geek provides equipment to people on the lower east side. Check their web sites for what you can donate and when.
The Vancouver Zero Waste facility will also accepts computers and small electronics for free. However it won’t accept broken monitors.
When in doubt, you can try the Waste Wizard to find out where to take your items.