Unclutter Your Home and Cash In

With the iPad poised to become the next must-have electronic gadget, now's a good time to look through the closets and drawers in your home and unclutter them of electronic equipment you don't need anymore.

From old phones to computers, iPods and chargers for some forgotten gadget filling the house, there are plenty of ways to get rid of unwanted electronic items cluttering your home. Dumping them in the garbage is wasteful because they can harm the environment, so recycling, or e-cycling them is the best way to go.

Web sites such as Gazelle.com will give you cash for your gadgets, giving you incentive for cleaning up before buying the iPad or any other electronic gear.

If your stuff is too old or banged up and not worth any money on Gazelle, then there are plenty of recycling programs that can either be done in person or by mail to get it out of your house.

But for those of you looking to make a few extra bucks while cleaning out the closet, here's how Gazelle works:First, don't expect to get near what you paid for your camera, phone, laptop, gaming console or anything else among the 20 categories that Gazelle buys back. It pays 10% to 30% of the original price, and finding out how much it's worth is easy.

Just look up your item on its Web site, such as the new NBA 2K10 video game for Xbox 360. Answer a few questions about the quality and if you have any accessories, and it will calculate an offer. It also projects the price over the next few months, which is usually a downward trend since the older electronic equipment gets, the less value it has.

If you decide to send your items to Gazelle, they will provide you with a free shipping label. If your stuff is found to be worthless when it arrives, Gazelle will ask you if you'd like it to recycle it for free. But if you can net some income from your used electronics, you'll get paid with a check or by Paypal.

Another option is eBay, although getting a price quickly on Gazelle seems like a much easier way to get rid of the gadgets, and to make some money, than selling it yourself.

And if you're not going to recycle your gadgets, the Powermat is at least a small start to uncluttering your home of a few cords from your electronic gadgets. The Powermat charges devices with a magnetic field on which things like PDAs can be set on. But be forewarned - it doesn't work with every gadget out there.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area who can be found at www.AaronCrowe.net
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