It’s easy to just throw out unused, broken, or old computers, phones, TVs, headphones, and other electronics. It goes without saying there are negative environmental impacts to doing that, but you're also missing out on an opportunity to make a few bucks.
Besides donating or recycling, another popular option is to sell your used electronics for money, something you can do right at home or work, usually without fees.
To sell used electronics online, you have to answer some questions to value the items, print off a free shipping label, package the products in a box that you or the company provides, and then send it off. Once they receive the items and verify that the condition is as you described, it's common for them to pay you via a check, PayPal, gift card, or some other means just a few days later.
It might be to a company that purchases them for parts or to resell them to their customers, or you might be selling directly to other people wanting inexpensive, used products.
No matter where they end up, look through these trade-in websites first before tossing out your old phone, laptop, tablet, video game, MP3 player, etc. You might find that they're actually worth something, or at least worth more than they are in the trash!
What to Do Before Trading In
It might be tempting to just fly through the questions you’re asked on the trade-in website, print the shipping label, and send off your laptop, phone, or tablet to wait for your payment. There are two reasons why that isn’t a good idea.
First, the questions you’re asked on these websites are important in valuing the item you want to sell. Everything you send will be looked over before you get any money anyway, so if you give inaccurate information or completely false details, they might just send the item back and force you to repeat the whole process over again. You’ll spend much more time doing that, rather than just answering truthfully and slowly the first time through.
Another reason to take your time is that there's a lot of personal data you need to look over and decide whether to delete or back up before you sell them.
If you’re selling a laptop or desktop computer, and you’ve already saved everything you want to keep, you should seriously consider wiping the hard drive clean. This will remove every file on the drive and prevent the next owner from possibly retrieving your information.
There’s a chance some of these trade-in services will wipe your phone or hard drive for you, but some explicitly say you are fully responsible for erasing any data. Fortunately, it’s not hard to wipe a hard drive, and you can easily reset your iOS device or reset your Android device if you’re trading in one of those.
Also remember that any headphones, skins, stickers, or other personal items that are on or in the device will probably not be returned to you should you include them in the box. Only have in the box the exact product(s) you’re selling.