Published Jun 15, 2015
You’ve finally gone and bought a new laptop computer. It has a ton of memory space, weighs next to nothing, and will be great for video-chatting with long-distance friends.
But now your old computer sits in a dusty corner, looking sad and abandoned. While you know it’s served its purpose in an ever-evolving technological world, you can’t help feeling a little guilty. Tossing it in the garbage not only seems insensitive, it seems wasteful.
After all, it’s perfectly functional. When you first bought it, it was near state-of-the-art. It’s still good at some things, so why not try to give it new life? Let’s take a look at a few ways you might put that old system to work.
Donate It to a Local School or Library
If your PC isn’t too ancient, consider donating it to a local school, library or daycare center. It may get used by students stuck in detention. Alternatively, the school district computer services group might use it for spare parts.
If you donate it to a daycare or child development center, consider buying some low-cost educational software packages and preinstalling them before handing the system over. Either way, make sure you have removed all personal information, documents and photos prior to handing it over. Also, make sure to include all license information for the software you’re preinstalling on the old system.
Give It to a Relative
This is a great idea for cleaning out your closet of items that still work well, but simply aren’t needed anymore. After you purge the processor of all your personal stats, see if your teenage cousin or nephew could use an your old laptop. Many colleges require laptops upon admission, so you could be saving them several hundred dollars out of pocket.
Alternatively, you might try getting your grandmother to finally switch from her old typewriter (no internet capability here!) to your (not quite as old) PC. She will appreciate the less-advanced technology and may find adapting to a dial-up modem not so painful.
Use It for Old-School Gaming
Consider repurposing your 5+ year old PC or Mac for some old school gaming. If you really want to get into it, try installing Windows 98 (those were the days!) so you can easily run those older Windows 95 and DOS games should you already have them on hand.
Turn it into an aquarium
This idea is for the computer that has completely died. You tried CPR to no avail. That being said, you may have spied this notion on PInterest-the classic repurposing of an old compact—and hopelessly broken—Apple Macintosh is to turn it into an aquarium, called a ‘Macquarium’. It’s pretty much like stuffing a fishbowl inside the shell of an old computer, but the effect is quite fun if you’re into retro-inspired items or faking out your friends for a few seconds. Why have a screen saver imitate real life, when you can have real life imitate a screen saver?
So, it’s obvious to see that an old computer can have many uses, particularly if it’s still in good working condition. By passing along the goods, you are not only instilling goodwill, you’re helping out the planet, too.