New tech appears on the shop shelves every single week. And marketers are definitely not shy in coming forward to tell you all about it. They’ll describe how it solves every one of your problems, especially ones you didn’t realise you had. They’ll detail all the reasons why it is so much better than anything that came before. They’ll make it impossible not to buy it on the day of release! So what are you going to do with its predecessor?
When it comes to tech, something better, more efficient, and more attractive will turn up to replace what you just bought within two years. And some tech companies will simply stop servicing or updating what you bought not long after. It’s a huge problem and has turned many of us into hoarders. If you’re not a hoarder, then chances are you’re a thrower – chucking out your gadgets, gifting them away, or dumping them in the recycling bucket. So which are you?
Well, there are degrees of everything. And there are times when chucking it out is absolutely the right thing to do. When appliances go wrong or become damaged, they can quickly become a safety hazard. If you’ve got kids in the house, don’t take any chances. If it’s out of warranty and unsalvageable get it out of the house. Most recycling centres will take almost anything off your hands if you’re willing to drive down there with it. Of course, some are obliged by government guidelines to charge you a small fee for doing so. But what price safety?
Some hoarders hang on to every first edition or first release of new tech. They believe they can get a great price for it at auction sometime in the future. That’s not a crazy approach to items that are superseded quickly. In fact, there are entire museums devoted to such things. However, if you don’t have the space for it, consider your options carefully. Storage units over the years will cost you far more than any price you can command later!
Other hoarders know there will eventually be an option to use their kit or gear again one day. Kids are perfect for nostalgia journeys like that. They’ll find your old Speak-and-Spell, or that old Amstrad computer you had (too far back?) Or they’ll find your SNES or PlayStation 1 (better?) Perhaps they’ll find an old iPod full of classic noughties hits (I’m gonna stop now.) Your kids might find these things keep them amused for an hour or so, but beyond that, it’s probably just junk to them (blasphemy!)
What about your tech that is starting to show its age? It’s easy to be quite attached to items you’ve had a lot of use out of for a lot of years. And surely it’s wasteful just to replace something that is still (mostly) working? Computers and laptops are typically tossed aside in favour of a new model with the latest OS. But these things can be upgraded quite easily. They can be repaired and restored. And yes, a simple computer repair or service really can offer a new lease of life for your favourite old workhorse.
So what are your options? Well, that depends on your limits:
If you’re a busy chap, you simply might not have time to use those old gaming systems, fitness watches, or iPods anymore. Parents often struggle to find the downtime they used to have pre-kiddies. Will you ever get that time back? Probably. When they’re teens, and they don’t want to spend time with you anymore, you might get back to your console. But chances are you’ll be using that time to get back to your career and make sure you have the pension you want by the time you retire!
So you wait till retirement, right? Nostalgia is a pretty powerful thing. You might well be drawn back to the tech of yore and dust off the old controllers. That old sandwich toaster might make a comeback after thirty years. Stranger things have happened! Remember your old CD drive? You’re bound to find some old photos you haven’t uploaded to FaceBook yet (will FaceBook still be around then?)
Time and space are definitely important when it comes to tech. But space is perhaps the biggest challenge to overcome. There simply isn’t much of it left. Where are you going to keep everything while you’re waiting for the good years to come around? There’s another problem. Temperature control. You might stow your gadgets, gizmos, and appliances in a garage, basement or loft. One cold, damp winter and your circuit boards could be ruined forever.
There are ways to protect your most valued items, but it’s up to you just how valuable you find them to be. Space at home is hard to come by. Sure, you might finally get around to that extension or even insulate the garage. But you might also find a lot more new tech to fill up that new-found space! The problem with loving new tech is there is just so much of it and so little space to keep it.
Families are challenging in every conceivable way. But the biggest challenge you might face could be your finances. Kids don’t come cheap. They need clothes every couple of months. They also need a lot more food than you would think. Then there are all the activities and extracurricular interests. Football boots, hockey sticks, piano lessons, GoPros for the scooter, summer camps, and endless school fundraisers. Are you going to get a second job or sell some of your tech hoard?
Of course, you might simply go cold turkey on your tech addiction and say no more. No more first releases, no more top of the range, no more replacing what isn’t broken. If you’re not spending money on tech, then you’re not adding to the tech hoard. Time and space are no longer present or future concerns. But life would probably be a bit boring! Are you a thrower or a hoarder?