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Happy New Year and Goodbye to Clutter?

This editor uncovered some interesting gadgets when cleaning out his home office during the holidays.

Spencer Chin

January 2, 2024

4 Min Read
old samsung flip phone
Samsung may now offer flip phones, but they're a far cry from the simpler, far less expensive basic mobile phones many used decades ago.Spencer Chin

At a Glance

  • A treasure trove of now unused tech gadgets cluttered this editor's storage cabinet.

In between holiday festivities and gatherings, I managed to find a few hours to conduct a bit of housecleaning during the holidays. I decided to focus on the area where I generate most of my content that you see on the Design News site─my home office. While I have periodically do some spot cleaning of this oft-used area, the growing pile of clutter this time necessitated me spending a bit more time to perform a more thorough purging.

After laboring through several piles of various letters, documents, and files, I was able to easily fill one 30 plus gallon blue recycling bag and several trashcan loads. But the interesting part is when I started to go through a storage cabinet housing old electronics and tech gear. While I am not a DIY gadget tinkerer and don’t have heaps of parts and tools lying around, like many I have accumulated my share of consumer tech gadgets over the years, many of which are simply thrown in the cabinet when they fall into disuse.

Flip Phones

Last year, Samsung attempted to revive the flip-phone format with Galaxy Z Flip5, which packs in the power and features (and price) of a smartphone into a flip-phone format. But before the brick form factor of the smartphone became the defacto standard, flip phones ruled. I have owned several of them. Found in my desk an old Samsung flip phone (see photo) that was a basic call device for my elderly, not-savvy in-law. The phone is long dead; several attempts to power it up with charger failed.


While we’re talking about phones, I have a bad habit of saving the original package that my tech gear is shipped in. Such is the case with my current smartphone, a Samsung A32, which I’m hoping to replace at some point. Inside the package is a pamphlet containing terms and conditions of use, which I never read, and a fold-out pamphlet of basic operating instructions, which nowadays are available online.

Remember These Headsets?

You can argue that keeping the documentation for a current product in usage is available. But I cannot use the same excuse for a Samsung Bluetooth headset. If you remember, before Apple Car Play, Android auto, and other in-car infotainment systems that enabled one to use the vehicle’s speakers for hands-free calling, we wore these headsets in our ears while driving. While they worked okay for me, I had the bad habit of losing these small devices, and that was the case here as the package contained the instructions but not the headset (see photo).


Don’t Forget Digital Cameras

One of the great selling points of the latest smartphones is the incorporation of high-resolution cameras─often several of them including a telephoto─that can take clear, colorful images that rival those available in many discrete digital cameras. Nowadays, the bulk of digital photography is done with smartphone cameras with enthusiasts continuing to use powerful single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras. 

In my drawer was a decade-plus old Canon PowerShot SX160 IS compact digital camera (see photo), the kind of camera many consumers bought before smartphone cameras took over most photographic functions. I haven’t used it in at least five years, and even after changing the AA batteries it no longer powers on. I likely forgot I still had it, and perhaps the disuse contributed to the camera dying out. I regret this one, as the camera was for a few years a trusty companion for various photographic tasks.


The Ill-fated Power Supply

Remember my week-long of woe last summer when my Verizon FIOS home Internet service was out for a week due to power issues? Well, the Verizon power supply that was one of the culprits is still lying around and collecting dust in my drawer too. The photo below is proof.


I can come up with other examples of junk collecting in my drawers, but you get the picture (pardon the pun). I’m not quite finished as I now need to decide whether to keep some of these items around for sentimental reasons or take a hard line and toss stuff I have long retired from daily use.

Last year, I posted a gallery on obsolete tech. Little did I realize as I do now that I could have used my own products to illustrate the gadgets we no longer use.

About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor with Design News, covering the electronics beat.

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