What is an item worth?

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Hi, For those who don’t know who I am, My name is Allan and I am one of the co-founders here at AnyGoodToYou.  I am a bit of a self confessed geek and have a deep hatred of seeing viable objects being thrown away.  I am also happy to admit that I’m no writer or journalist so you may have to forgive my writing style in the post below.

So on to the topic of my post.

For many years I was an avid collector of what I lovingly called vintage computing equipment (others including some friends referred to this as old computer junk).  Over the years I had built quite a collection.  Some given to me, some purchased, some of it was even current and new when I purchased it, such is the speed of obsolescence in technology.  Over the years I must have spent hundreds if not thousands of pounds, not to mention the hours put into finding, collecting and repairing.

But then one day I realised that my collection was turning into just that, ‘A Collection’ something akin to a museum exhibit, I realised I no longer used any of it, unlike when I first started collecting.  And it occurred to me that an item in and of itself has no real value, the true value of an item is in its use.  I don’t have bookshelves sat there empty because I don’t want to throw them away, I have them because I want to use them to store books.  The ones that I didn’t use I gave away.

So my ‘collection’ was still quite a special thing to me, but I realised that its true value could only be realised by trying to get it back into the hands of people who would use it or share it.  So that was it, decision made.   Now most of it has gone (I still have a few items waiting to be collected), back into the hands of enthusiasts who will make use of it, venues that demonstrate the evolution of computing and vintage computer clubs who give people hands on experience of our technological heritage.

And me, well my collection has gone, there is a small twinge of sadness.  The house is emptier now, but my heart is fuller, knowing that I have returned value to once treasured items, that I have assisted in the preservation of computing history and that I have given a little joy and happiness to others.

These were also the first real sparks of life of our fledgling freecycling community, as much of my collection (and later a substantial chunk of our furniture after merging two households) was offered through it.

So, my point…

If you have things sat in the loft, garage, under stairs cupboard, think about this, what are they truly worth to you in their current locations?  What might they be worth to someone else?

That old games console that never gets played any more, that old mobile phone that you shoved in a drawer when you got your shiny new upgrade, even things like old set of crockery you boxed and put in the loft after you got new ones.  They can all make a difference to someone, and space has value , wouldn’t you rather someone was making use of something you didn’t need/want any more, leaving you more space for the things you do.

So how about digging out some of the stuff you no longer want and offering it to someone who does, return the items value by putting it back into use, and make someone’s life a little better too.

Well that’s it for the time being, time for me to get off my little soap box and hand over to you the reader, comments, feedback etc. can be left in the comments below.

Consumer Society

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The modern world has changed, no longer do the values of ‘make do and mend’ seem to be the norm.  We have moved into a consumer society, with a throw away culture.

Companies constantly push their latest and greatest product, wanting us to upgrade.

Take the humble television as just one example.  Until only few years ago, lots of people were using TV sets that were a decade or more old.  TV sets hadn’t changed that much since the advent of colour TV in the late 60s and wide screen in the late 90s.

In the last decade however it feels like most electronic equipment is out of date before you have even unpacked it.  A standard widescreen TV purchased in 2002 would have been obsoleted  by the push to upgrade ready for digital, then to HD, later to Full HD, and then to buy a 3D HD TV and now after the Consumer electronics Show in Las Vegas they are starting to promote Ultra HD (4K) TVs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology (I’m secretly a bit of a geek, well actually not so secretly), but not at the expense of the planet.  I have a HD TV but not because the marketeers won, it was simply that our old TV broke down and it was not longer economical to get it repaired.  I have a smart phone but I have upgrade cycles measured in years and normally dictated by the fact I can no longer use the device for one reason or another.

When you can no longer resist the allure of the new thing from your favourite company what do you do with the old one? It probably hasn’t got much residual value in this fast moving consumer society, but its also not broken and it’s way too good to just throw away.

Why not give it away? Many people are happy to have the last years mobile phones, or are perhaps happy to use an older TV in a bedroom etc.  Students who are just starting out on their own are also often very grateful for such gifts, allowing them to complete their studies with a lower debt burden (I know I was when studying)

This was one of the reasons we started AnyGoodToYou.com , to give people a hassle free way to find new homes for these items, and at the same time reduce waste, reduce impact on natural resources and improve the lives of others along the way.

Please help us spread the word, it’s as simple as sharing this blog post with family, friends & colleagues or post a like to it on your favourite social network and together we can help to build a better world.

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