By David Wilcomb
Summer is here and with it more daylight and more visibility of all the tech clutter in our homes which is either very dusty, last week’s model or worn out. What to do?
How to Clean Electronics
If your gear just needs a good cleaning, take care to read your owner’s manual first. You can clean your electronics’ outer chassis with a damp cloth, use liquid sparingly and never spray it directly onto the piece. Electronics and moisture don’t mix. There are many commercially available screen cleaners which do a good job. Be careful and read your owner’s manual to avoid products which may damage your screen. A safe bet is distilled water lightly applied to a clean microfiber cloth, again, NOT directly on the screen or chassis.
To avoid potential damage, try a commercial screen cleaner such as Belkin, which is alcohol- and residue-free and comes with a microfiber cloth. Never use paper towels on your screen.
For speakers with wood or veneered chassis, try a LITTLE lemon oil, lightly applied and rubbed in to restore the wood’s personality. No sprays, please! For scratches, try the same scratch-removing touch up “crayon” you’d use for good furniture. You can find these in home improvement stores in the paint department.
For grubby turntable and dust cover syndrome, try Lemon Pledge. Always on the cloth first, then on the piece to be cleaned. Shiny again! If the turntable is a belt-drive model, lift the rubber mat and hook a finger into the belt. It should have a little play but not much. If it’s floppy, check the manufacturer’s website for new belts. If the manufacturer doesn’t have the right size, there are plenty of online suppliers. If the turntable just sounds “fuzzy” check your manual for proper tonearm-balancing procedure, which is quick, easy and very effective. If it still sounds bad after balancing, try any of several online stylus suppliers such as Needle Doctor.
Dispose, Sell or Recycle?
City Waste Disposal generally doesn’t like to take electronics, nor does the recycling pickup service, as there are potentially toxic or environmental pollutants in most electronics. If you call the city and pay a nominal fee (usually around $20) they will pick up your old gear, and there is also an annual recycle event which takes electronics and recycles the metals and plastics in them. What if you don’t want to have all the clutter around until then or aren’t sure if it’s really clutter after all? There are several private companies and organizations which will also pick up or accept drop offs. Check the list at the bottom of this page for contact information.
Here are a few tips on what to get rid of, what to keep and how to make things Go Away.
Start by asking if you’ve actually used the object in question in the past year. If you haven’t and it’s not Great-Grandma’s Edison or an original PacMan still in the box it’s time to bid a fond farewell. If you’ve already replaced a piece, think about moving the old screen or electronics to the kids’ room and getting some use out of them. Maybe you never liked those speakers in the first place, or your spouse has given an ultimatum involving a choice between them and the gadgets, it’s an indicator that you should get rid of the offending items. If the gadget in question needs repair that will cost more than a replacement, which is common, that’s a definite sign it’s time to go.
If the gear works or can be repaired for a reasonable price but you’ve decided to replace it, you might consider selling it. Unless you have experience navigating this mine field you’re probably better off contacting someone who buys/sells/trades used electronics. Two of the best in the valley:
Brian Anuma 602-284-2883
Steve Eberhart 602-740-7454
Both are very nice, competent and professional. They will pick up quality equipment you want to make go away. They both pay fair prices based on many years of market knowledge, so you can remove clutter and make money at the same time.
Upward Foundation will also pick up pieces which may be difficult to move, especially larger TVs:
They schedule ahead a few days and will pick up larger TVs if you leave them on your front porch or drive with a note labeled “UF”. There is no charge.
For more information or to find a good excuse to get rid of your old audio-video equipment, contact or visit Watt Integration.
Here are a couple of resources for disposing of electronics:
http://www.westechrecyclers.com/ will pick up or accept dropped off computer gear, most audio-video equipment, cables and more.
https://www.phoenix.gov/publicworks/contact takes electronics and will also pick up for a nominal fee. There are six dropoff centers in the Valley.