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3 On Your Side: Hoarding Old Electronic Gadgets

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Do you have a growing collection of old smartphones, laptops and other devices you don’t use?   You just might be a gadget hoarder and as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, you’re not alone.

Nicole Wakelin loves the latest and greatest in gadgets.  But it appears she’s not ready to let go of her old stuff either.  Wakelin says, “I have everything from phones that I haven’t used in five years that are still sitting in a pile, various versions of the iPads that also sit in a pile that don’t get used.”  Waklin believes that her gadgets have grown on her.  She says, “It’s hard to part with it.  You know, it means so much when you buy it.”

Christina Villarreal is a Psychologist and says, “I’ve definitely seen patients who struggled with feeling the need to accrue electronic devices, in spite of their ability to afford them.  It’s definitely becoming an increased area of concern for many people.”

But is keeping a collection of dated devices a sign you need help? Villarreal says,”Holding onto old cellphones or old laptops isn’t necessarily hoarding or a problem, as long as it’s not affecting a person’s work life, home life, relationships, and ability to function.”

Wakelin doesn’t believe she’s that far gone and points out a practical reason for hanging on to old electronics.  She says, “We haven’t gotten rid of them because there’s that sense, ‘what if something happened that I needed this as a backup?”

Despite a financial incentive that some may gain in letting some of it go.  Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch says, “Consider selling them so you can help pay for some monthly expenses like your cable or electricity bill.”

Wakelin knows her stash of gadgets could go for big bucks, but she’s holding onto it¦ at least for now.  She says with a smile, “Gadgets are probably my big weakness.  I try not to hoard anything else.”

Another reason experts say some people hang on to old devices?  They’re concerned about the personal information on them, and don’t want it falling into the wrong hands.  In fact in a recent survey 13 percent of those questioned said that’s why they’re holding on to their old electronic things.

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