The downside of fast-paced technological advances being made and happening all around us is that it leaves you with too much junk afterwards. We are such assimilative creatures that we take to new inventions and innovations and the gadgets they represent with automatic gusto. The process of replacing what you currently have with what you imagine to be prized possessions in the name of brand name technology always ends up with you dumping the old for the new --- but without satisfyingly answering for what happens now to the old thingamajig.
Does it get relegated to paperweight duties? Does it end up on top of the heap down the basement together with the analog cassette tape recorder and the Walkman? Does it go deep into the recesses of the cabinet drawer where all those 90s era Microtac clamshell mobile phones gather dust? But no –- you never ask yourself such questions. All you know is that you’ve gotten yourself a brand new smartphone or tablet or phablet or whatever and as far as you know, the old stupid mobile phone’s just been decommissioned from active service. Along with all the other gizmos of years past that have happened to fall into such categories as:
• Useful things that have become technologically irrelevant.
• Useful things that have become too costly to continue using.
• Useful things that you have outgrown or become too busy to attend to and use.
• Useful things that have simply become unfashionable.
The Discriminating Hoarder
Consumers tend to get complacent about high-tech gadgets whether they are for practical home, communication or recreational use once they come into their possession. That’s where its aspirational appeal begins to wane as a coveted item. Say, for example, the iPhone 5 you might have now pleases you immensely as you use it and so goes your ego as an owner of such smartphone. The moment, however, that Apple trumps up the media card and announces the arrival of its latest edition, here you go again, getting bright ideas about replacing what you have now. A new aspiration develops and the cycle begins anew.
So what you do is save up for a new one and then get a replacement. The old one doesn't get thrown away. It’s like an old flame you run to when the current girl dumps you. You tend to hoard such prized possessions unmindful of that other tendency --- that of accumulating old but still questionably useful things piling up in the garage, attic, drawers, forgotten house corners, and the basement. All the hoarding reaches nightmarish proportions when you notice too late how things have become and you begin to reassess things.
The idea of accumulated junk in your household and the amount it comes with can be quantified and rationalized only when you become aware of its real nature. Junk exists because you refuse to consider them as such. You do so because there is this separation anxiety thing going on between you and what you refuse to consider as “junk.” In fact, you still prefer to consider them useful.
They might still be useful as gadgets per se but not in the way that they should be in terms of how relevant they are to your needs or wants right now. So much so that the four categories we mentioned above are, in reality, things that have become useless by virtue of obsolescence. The only way to positively cope with them is to do away with them. You can get rid of useless things by doing the following:
1. Surrender them to organizations that recycle old things and gadgets.
2. Do some upcycling if you know how.
3. Do some downcycling if you know how.
4. Hold a garage sale.