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Give people some space
I hate getting rid of something that I think still has use. But if we don’t move some things out as new things move in, space starts getting tight.
If your office has a bunch of obsolete tech and furniture in the storage room, this post is for you. It is also for you if you have a closet full of the chairs that used to be in the conference room. It’s for those storing a shelf of monitors with plugs for cables that no longer fit modern computers. It’s for those who just realized they still have a fax machine on-site that has not even been plugged in since 2008, when that one state agency said they needed the form returned by fax.
There are many options for removing these, and I’d like to focus specifically on donation and recycling.
Furniture can be donated to Goodwill, ILoveSchools, Vietnam Veterans of America, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Operation Give, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Salvation Army, or your local donation center, school, or house of worship.
Pro Tip: a summer intern can come with you to the storage closet. As you point out what needs to go, they can tag each item for donation (painter’s tape is a good, non-damaging marking system) and write up a list of the items (so nothing gets either missed for pickup or accidentally donated), and then call some of the local chapters of the organizations above to find out who does pickup.
This has great benefits—the space is decluttered, donation is environmentally friendly (unlike filling the dumpster out back), and donations can give your firm a tax break. Keep those donation receipts!
While some of the donation centers take obsolete tech (as long as it is still in working order), many do not. Consider a similar tag-and-list system for the unusable monitors, fax machines, printers, etc. and then recycle them through Best Buy, Apple, or your local electronic recycling center. This is sometimes called “urban mining,” because the components contain metals or other materials that are needed in the manufacture of new tech.
Pro Tip: do not donate, recycle, or throw away computers or other items that contain hard drives that may have sensitive data (e.g., tax info for the company or employees, trade secrets, client info, etc.). Get IT to wipe the drives securely. Or get them to remove the drives… and then someone gets to have the fun of smashing them to bits with a hammer (while wearing safety goggles).