The more complicated a piece of electronics is, the less likely it is that you will be able to get rid of it easily at the end of its useful lifespan.
Complex electronic devices contain all sorts of scary ingredients, such as solder, circuit boards and batteries, and you need to be sure that these cannot contaminate the environment when you dispose of your old gadgetry.
One way is to take your old tech to your local tip, where they should now have separate collection containers depending on the potentially harmful materials to be found in each part of your device – they might even have one for energy-saving light bulbs, which ironically seem like an ecological disaster in the making.
But you don’t have to take your old electronics to the local dump to get rid of them, as a laptop exchanged for cash is clearly preferable to one simply thrown away for free.
You can maximize your chances of being able to sell your laptop through some fairly easy steps, whether it’s in full working order or not.
If it’s broken, try to find out exactly what’s gone wrong – is it the screen, or is it the graphics card? Has the battery stopped charging, or is it simply that your charger has faced?
Knowing what’s wrong with your laptop can make it easier for you to tell a buyer what they would need to do to repair it, or which parts are likely to still be working, if they are buying it to dismantle and use to repair several other machines.
If your laptop is still working, and you want to sell it on in working condition, give it a spring clean: the outside of the case can probably be polished without too much trouble (just be wary of any exterior gadgetry like a front-facing webcams).
On the inside, brush or vacuum out any dust that has collected between the keys, and again give them a wipe over, although this time you should be very careful and would probably be wise to use nothing more threatening than a slightly damp cloth.
If your laptop came with installation CDs, dig them out from wherever you’ve hidden them, and once your data is off of the hard drive, run a factory reset to restore the software to its original state.
If you’re feeling really generous, you might want to start up Windows and download the latest software updates – if you’ve had your laptop for a while and have just restored it to factory settings, there’s likely to be a Service Pack or two to install.
Once you’ve done all of that, and have your laptop, charger, installation CDs and any other accessories bundled together, you’re ready to sell it on in the best possible condition – which should net you the most money in the process.
About Gemma Fossett:
Gemma Fossett is a thrifty tipper, blogging about ways to save money, and to make money on items you might otherwise have discarded for free, such as a laptop exchanged for cash when it is no longer needed.