What To Do With Your Old Phone When You Upgrade

What To Do With Old Phone

I’m very lucky that I get to test out many different mobile devices. I’m the dork who usually has 3 phones with me. Not because I’m so important, but because I want to use the new phones like you’d use them. But most people aren’t like that and when they upgrade to a new phone the old one ends up getting kicked to the curb.

I don’t know anyone who’d just throw an old phone away. Even if the screen was cracked or it wouldn’t hold a charge or can’t power on, few people would ever think to toss a phone in the trash or recycle bin. And that’s good because mobile phones – whether smartphones or not – contain chemicals that can harm the environment if not disposed of properly. That’s why I’m here to give you options on what you can do with your old phone.


1. Keep It – This is kind of an easy option if your device still works. Since all mobile devices have to be able to call 911 they’re great to just have on hand for a true emergency. Naturally you’d want to keep it powered up, although in reality it may end up stashed in the back of a drawer. Old smartphones without cell service will work on WiFi so you can still use it to get on the internet at home, when you travel, or at shops around town that offer free WiFi. It’s a great way to have something for the kids to play their games on while not having to hand over your device. Old phones also make great jukeboxes or a place to store your workout playlist. That way you can exercise and not get interrupted with texts or calls.

2. Give It To Someone In The Family – Maybe the kids need a phone. Or you’re trying to get your parents to ditch their 1992 flip phone for a “real” phone. If it’s just a year or so old, the technology is still relatively up to date and the device may still even be for sale with your carrier. Rather than buying a new device, hand-me-down devices are a great way to introduce new technology or upgrade older devices. Many carriers will allow you to add an additional line for a nominal fee or even provide pre-paid SIM cards so you don’t have to add a new line.

3. Sell It – Many people often think this is their main option. With new devices often costing several hundred dollars, it makes sense to want to off-set the cost by selling your old device. There are many options available for selling mobile devices – Craigslist, Ebay, Gazelle, uSell, Swappa, Glyde, – and they all have their pros and cons. I’ve sold several mobile phones over the years but I don’t do it any more. I’ve found that even though most are relatively hassle-free, for me it’s not the best option.

4. Trade Up – Some carriers will allow you to trade-in to upgrade. If you want to get out of a phone and get the newest device, check with your carrier to see if they have a trade-in option. Many do, but only for certain devices. Carriers may also allow you to trade up devices when you switch, too. This comes in handy when you’re out of contract and want to leave your current carrier but don’t want to have to shell out for a new device.

5. Donate or Recycle Your Phone – Donating old cell phones is easier than ever these days, and there are many different causes. Sometimes you can just drop them off at any carrier’s store and they’ll refurbish the ones that can be fixed and then provide them to the charity they support or, if they’re not able to refurbish them the devices are recycled properly. Many grocery and office supply stores have donation/recycle stations. Usually they’re combined because some phones people want to donate may not be suitable for donation so they’re recycled. I’ve donated several devices to Hopeline over the past few years, even though Verizon was not my primary carrier. I’ve had a Verizon account for over 10 years and I liked the goal of proving cell phones to domestic abuse survivors so that’s why I’d donate to Hopeline. While donations made to Verizon’s Hopeline are not tax-deductible, if that’s something you need check with the charities you support and find out if they accept donations of old phones.

So there you have it – several great options for what to do when you upgrade your old phone and get a new one. Each comes with pros and cons but I’m sure there’s one that will work for you. And just because you choose one way this time doesn’t mean you always have to do the same thing. Options! And who doesn’t like options.

What have you done with your old phones?


Starfish Project: Raising Awareness and Money for Exploited Women

Recently a friend of mine made a major career change to do work she is passionate about. She took a job with an organization called Starfish Project.

Exploitation of women all over the world, especially in Asia, is a significant and overwhelming problem. Reading stories of young girls and women sold into sex-slavery and exploited in other ways, and hearing statistics often makes the problem seem completely unfathomable and people just don’t know where to start. And, sadly, this is not an issue isolated in Asia. Every woman, no matter where in the world and no matter her background, is important.

Every woman deserves the chance to provide for her family, grow, and feel valued.

Starfish Project

I want to share with you an amazing organization called Starfish Project which works in three different cities in Asia. They find these women, befriend them, and give them a way out by providing them a range of social, emotional and practical opportunities. While in the Starfish program, women can live in the shelter, receive counseling, get work training, and have a job to provide income for themselves. Their job is to make beautiful jewelry. By buying a piece of jewelry you make these programs, and lasting change in these women’s lives, possible.

You become an advocate.

This summer, Starfish Project is hosting a sale and offering a discount on over 150 of their pieces for two weeks only.

50 | 50 Summer Sale

50% off orders over $50

on over 150 participating products
July 1 12:01 am EST through July 15 at 11:59 pm EST

By purchasing jewelry you are becoming an advocate for exploited women in Asia. Your purchase will give them work for their hands, hope for their hearts, and the knowledge that they are valued by someone who doesn’t even know them.

This sale only lasts for two weeks but the Starfish story is both continuing and growing. Would you become an advocate and join the Starfish Project?


You can become an advocate by:

Buying their jewelry and telling your friends. Find all the summer sale items here.

Following the story on their blog, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

Thanks for becoming an advocate for women in Asia. The problem is huge, but together we can make a difference.

Disclosure: I am sharing information about Starfish Project and this deal with you because I am an advocate for the work they do. I do not receive any commissions or free products for this post.


Helping Others – Tikkun Olam

Asia } Cambodia } Angkor Wat } Aug 2010
photo credit: travelmeasia

When I picked BabyGirl up from religious school on Sunday she had a paper with information about a family her class is adopting for the holidays. She drew a picture on the paper of a boy who has happy and holder her hand. She told me that she is going to buy him some things and then he will be able to go to school and play with his friends and that will make him happy.

Every week, twice a week, BabyGirl goes to religious school. And each time I make sure she has money to donate. It’s called tzedakah (suh-dock-uh). The translation is ‘charity’. Money is collected in special containers as part of the classroom and at the end of the year the money is given to a charity the class chooses.  This year, though, the class is raising money for two separate things. Until December they’re tzedakah will go to help outfit an ambulance in Israel.

Back to the ‘adopt a family’ program, though. The congregation is adopting 6 families in addition to the families each class will adopt. It’s part of our social action to help make our community and our world a better place. Tikkun Olam (tea-coon oh-lahm), it’s literal translation is ‘Repair the World’. It’s another way to describe charity.

But it’s more than just giving money. Tikkun olam is about actively helping others and reaching out to people in need. It can be anonymous, as is the case with the families. The names are not disclosed to us, but nonetheless we know their story and why they need help. The children are taught that by helping others we are fixing things that are not right in the world. And like many people who make charitable giving part of their family, it’s is a very important part of our family.

Regardless of what we have, if we can give of our time or our services or our money then we should help others. I learned this very early. I can’t think back to a time where tzedakah or tikkun olam weren’t part of my life. Even now, at 90, my grandmother still does for others. Never because we have to. Always because we want to.

It’s about doing good for others to make the world better, not to get recognition or credit. I was so proud of BabyGirl for understanding, at almost 8 years old, that even though she thinks I never give her things that there are children who truly don’t have. Immediately, she wanted to help. She even told the teacher that she will bring in a whole bag of stuff because she’s going to ask me for coupons. The teacher said BabyGirl suggested people check out my website if they want to get a lot of things with coupons or for free.  Gotta love my PR agency!

I grew up being that unnamed family that other children bought for. I was that child whose mother was embarrassed to ask for help but did so that her children would have something special to open for the holidays. I was that child who knew that when I grew up, if ever I could pay it forward that I would. And now I get to teach my own daughter that doing for others is a mitzvah (a good deed), not because we’re told to do it but because it can bring as much joy to the giver as it does the recipient.

As the holidays approach, there will be plenty of opportunities to be help. Give with no expectation of getting. Give with no strings attached. Give with loving kindness. And if you’re not in a position to give, then receive with loving kindness. Allow others to do for you.

What will you do to repair the world?

This post is linked  at Robin’s Mingle Monday on her site, Add A Pinch. There are many others who are linked up, so check out what others are saying this fine Monday.