Time to clear out that junk box?

An interesting phenomenon hit the country in the early part of this year. Thanks to a low-budget show that’s just one of the hundreds produced by Netflix, we’ve started talking about decluttering. Millions of people have been “Kondo-ing” their lives. Maybe you’re one of them.

What’s that thing in the garage?

You know that you have a box… or a tub, or just a pile, with a bunch of stuff in it that you thought you’d need later. Don’t be ashamed. The longer you stay in one place, the more likely it is. Technology has changed. Sometimes the critical parts we needed in the past are just junk today.

Look out for these things you don’t need anymore.

Of course it pays to be prepared, but maybe it’s time to take a look and see if you still have any of this stuff:

Serial and Parallel Cables

The ’90s called, they want their cables back. You’ve probably been holding onto a serial or parallel printer cable for some inexplicable reason for over a decade and it’s really time to let go.

RCA and S-Video Cables

Sure you’ll run into a need for these now and again but there’s a pretty good chance you’re sitting on a stash of twenty or thirty of these bad boys if you’ve been into home theater for more than ten years. Guess what? They’re never coming back into style. Really.

MicroUSB Cables

Keep a few, but if you’re like me you have accumulated dozens of these little annoyances. MicroUSB is still “a thing” today but it’s rapidly disappearing in favor of the vastly superior USB type C.

Apple “Dock” Connector cables (and stuff that uses them)

Trust me. You are not going to go back to an iPhone 4 and neither is anyone else you know. You’re also not going to use that combination CD player, alarm clock and music player you bought ten years ago. Bluetooth is here, get over it.

Owner’s Manuals

Come on, you know you never even read them when you should have. Just toss all those old ones for stuff you don’t even have. You know, you’re never going to figure out how to set the timer for that VCR and the manual’s probably online anyway.

Semi-broken cables

Ethernet cables with broken tabs. VGA cables with a screw missing. Headphone cables with broken outer sheaths. You know you have them, you know you’re not going to use them. Just get rid of them all.

Old phone chargers of any kind

You’re not going to get another Nokia 5100. Trust me.


Somehow, the box with your old cables in it always accumulates about 13 cents in change, right? Don’t put it back there, just put it wherever you put your other change while you’re waiting to bring it to Coinstar. And you, out there, the one with a few francs in the box? Seriously dude.

Get rid of that junk responsibly

Depending on where you live, you may be required to recycle old electronics. Even if that’s not true in your area it makes sense to recycle. It keeps harmful elements from seeping into the water supply and makes new electronics less expensive in the long run.

Check with local big box stores to see if they offer free recycling. If they don’t, your local city hall might, or service organizations like the Scouts or Kiwanis sometimes have events.

Yes, you’ll still need a junk box, but chances are after a little cleanup, it will have the stuff you might actually need. Imagine that!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.