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How to squeeze a bit more use out of old screens and devices

Image via Pixabay.

Chances are, your household is starting to amass a decent collection of screens and devices as you buy the latest phones, tablets, laptops and computers.

They can still run apps and do stuff, so you don’t have the heart to throw them out. Don’t just let them clutter up your junk drawer, though. Here’s a few ideas to put them to good use.

Donate it to charity. There’s always someone out there who could benefit from your used devices. A good local option is Dakota Boys Ranch, which accepts computers, laptops and handheld devices that are no more than five years old. Be sure to restore your device to factory default before you drop it off, though, since it probably has some sensitive data on it.

Give it to the kids. One of the most logical uses of an old phone or tablet is to pass it down to a kid in your life, but do so with care. If it’s one of your own kids, you probably already wrestle with how much time they spend in front of a screen … now imagine them in their room with their very own iPad and a Netflix account. If you have a different kid in mind (a niece or nephew, say), be sure to have that conversation with the parent before handing the device over.

For younger kids, remember that you can control the apps on the device, so feel free to skip Netflix and load it up with educational games and apps.

Make it a kitchen device. An old iPhone or tablet is perfect for playing tunes in the kitchen or propping up on the counter as you look for a recipe. Since it’s old, you probably won’t mind getting a little cake batter on it. Hook it up to a bluetooth speaker on top of your fridge so you can rock out while you do the dishes. You could even find a way for it to display time, weather or calendar information when it’s not in use.

Dedicate it to a specific use. We’ve all gotten so used to our devices doing a little bit of everything we forget that they can also be good at just one task. Just as it makes a good kitchen device, an old tablet also makes a perfect full-time e-reader, bathroom radio, Spotify remote, digital photo frame or car podcast player. You could dedicate it to VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) or messaging, or set it up to stream video in your workout space.

Keeping a phone updated and handy could also be a lifesaver if something ever happens to your primary phone and you’re in need of a backup.

Kris Kerzman

Kris Kerzman is a digital content producer for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He's also a dad, a board game enthusiast, and a sucker for an Oxford comma. He can be reached at (701) 241-5466 or You can follow him on Twitter at @kriskerzman.

(701) 241-5466