back to article The hoarder's dilemma, or 'Why can't I throw anything away?'

I like my house zen. Unfortunately, I am a hoarder, so it’s not. My half-life wife has been trying to educate me by making me watch TV programmes with titles like Extreme Hoarders, I Can’t Stop Hoarding and Smelly Old Fat Bastards Who Don’t Wash And Won’t Throw Anything Away. To some extent, this does the trick. After each …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The solution is...

    1) Coffee

    2) Beer

    3) Being mental and not fully in control of your senses, SUCCESSFULLY GIT RID OF OLD KIT (i.e. pack it into boxes then drive down to the recycling center - remove any harddisks first though because the personnel has developed a gluttony for old disks for some reason)

    1. miknik

      I'm totally guily of this too

      I have untold amount of tech like this, not to mention a cable monster which is expansive enough to need mapping. I keep it "just in case" I need a 10m DVI cable or similar one day. The problem is you never need any of it *until* a week after you throw something away, right? I can't be the only person this happens to...

      Sent from my Nokia 9000i communicator.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stacking boxes

    Last year I invested in lots of transparent plastic boxes that stack eight high against the garage walls. Each box has a detailed contents label - with each one containing related items. This has several benefits:

    1) things can be found quite quickly.

    2) the contents of a box can be classified as truly obsolete at some point.

    3) unstacking and restacking the boxes to get to a desired one is good upper body exercise.

    No box is yet marked as "Pieces of string too short to use"

    1. bitmap animal
      Thumb Up

      Re: Stacking boxes

      I did that last year. It was terrifying how many tubs I needed for the variety of parts. I do have a small business so look after workstations, servers, networking, phones etc so there is a lot but thee boxes full of bits grew to about 25 tubs.

      It was worth doing though, at least I can see what I've got now.

    2. MondoMan

      Re: Stacking boxes

      I learned it as "string too short to save" - makes the acronym more fun!

    3. Jim 59

      Re: Stacking boxes

      Same boxes, same gear, all in the loft. There it remains until better electronic recycling facilities are available. Much of the kit is broken, but is it better in my loft or in landfill ? Much council "recycling" == landfill IMO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stacking boxes

        "but is it better in my loft or in landfill ?"

        Come off it, this is just some self justification for hoarding!

        For complex products using materials we don't make much use of in the UK, the energy used in recovering the materials, and the lack of a proper local use will undoubtedly tip the balance in favour of landfill.

      2. N13L5

        What Landfill??

        What are you all talking about Landfill..

        eBay is your landfill... just have to hire some kid to list it all and in the end, you can split the proceeds 50/50 and buy new cables for your attic with the money...

      3. A J Stiles

        Much council "recycling" == landfill -- WRONG

        Councils get paid good money by private firms for the recyclables they collect. Along with parking, this is an important revenue stream.

        Please explain how any private firm manages to turn a profit by paying for stuff and then burying it in landfill.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Much council "recycling" == landfill -- WRONG

          Doesn't it depend what the rubbish is? Here at my local tip workers, and the handful 'volunteers' without hi-viz bibs that seem to perpetually hang about the place, are very careful about making sure nothing with significant metal content goes into the black (landfill) bin by mistake and that mains cables are excised as close as possible from any electrical equipment as soon as it touches the ground. TVs and CRT monitors go direct into an ISO container and PCs go into the metal skip. I always assumed this was because 1) the TVs are destined for fiery death on an African beach, 2) the PCs being metal cased follow all the other metal scrap to get weighed in by whichever hanger-on's turn it is today and the proceeds get shared out amongst the council workers.

          I was told there once that none of the plastic gets reused as sorting it costs more than it's worth as a raw material and the paper is not even good enough to make toilet roll as there's too much plastic tape in it. That only really leaves the clothes (which can more validly be donated to a charity) and garden waste. I believe the council runs their own anaerobic digester and uses all the compost it generates in the public spaces.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Much council "recycling" == landfill -- WRONG

            I know (am related to) a council worker who makes a good little profit on old sinks, taps and various bits of metal that get stripped from houses during repairs. It seems my local authority have no problem in not demanding back old boilers etc.

  3. Craig 12

    Call that a cable box?!

    If el reg wants to start a competition to find the most hordiest, I'm definitely in with a shot.

    BTW Anyone need a scart cable? ISA TV card? Iomega zip drive? Two pin kettle lead*?

    (*even I struggle to understand why I keep these)

    1. MJG

      Sadly I have all you've just listed...

      Throwing it away though, it's such a waste.... Is it?! I dunno... :(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      +1 for a readers' photo competition.

      1. melt

        I have a roomfull of VAXen; I will beat you all.

        1. Charles Manning


          My box with 12 slide rules?

    3. Silverburn

      Indeed. Cable and connector hoarding is absolutely natural. You never know when you might need that 20m CAT5 ethernet cable. Or that 3m SCART. Or that USB cable with that propriatory terminal (usually Sony). Usually for that 2mp camera...that's in the other box. As a backup, you understand.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Don't diss the 20m CAT5 cable. They make for very good telephone extensions to go between the master socket and your ADSL router, normal phone extension cable not being shielded and all. Five minutes with a crimping tool, a hammer and some cable pins and you could double your broadband speed...

        1. Thomas 4

          Yup, my cupboard is a vertiable IT graveyard of various bits and pieces. Off the top of my head....

          1 x Palm Tungsten T5 - fully boxed

          1 x Palm Infrared Fold Out Keyboard

          1 x Compact Flash I USB reader - I have no earthly idea how this got there

          1 x Nokia 6230

          1 x Blackberry Pearl

          1 x Motorola Droid (now reincarnated as an alarm clock)

          1 x Experia Play with a busted touchscreen that I really should send away for repair

          1 x Amstrad GX4000 (old school baby!)

          1 x Asus Eee PC 701 (Mint in box, used twice)

          1 x unholy rats nest of VGA cables, coaxial network cables, fibre optic cables, audio plugs, microphones, antennas and something that scratches around in the bottom of the box and keeps me awake at night

          I really should dump some of this crap on eBay. Except maybe for the last one. I'm not touching that. oO

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            >something that scratches around in the bottom of the box and keeps me awake at night

            That would be a mouse.

            [Insert one of the oldest home computing jokes here]

          2. Jim 48

            Nokia 6310i x ?

            Nokia 9000 Communicator

            Toshiba e570 Windows CE PDA (including leather case & cradle)

            Handpsring 56k modem but NO Handspring Visor!

            Sony Ericsson M600i

            Linksys NSLU2 (slugged up but retired)


          3. Thomas 4
            Thumb Up

            I forgot something!

            I forgot to add the shining jewel of my obscure tech hoarding:

            1 x fully boxed and working Sharp Zaurus Linux PDA.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: I forgot something!

              I moved house a while back, and the computer cables got 'rationalised'. Such that when my Mum asked me for a SCART lead for her new DVD player last week, I didn't have one. The shame! I didn't think I'd dumped those. My old parallel and serial cables finally went, and my figure-of-eight power leads. Also my old, still working, Amstrad Notepad NC100. My laptop for £200. I think I finally ended with the PS2 keyboards and mice as well, even though I just saw one of those on the back of a mate's PC that I was fixing. One PS2 for the mousey, USB for the keyboard, and it's only a couple of years old.

              The cables nest only fills one large box now, as opposed to two. Also, my Windows 3.1 disks, all my old games from my IBM/Ambra 386 (except I kept Elite). I think Windows 3.1 was only 10 floppies, Windows 95 came on about 30 (if you foolishly took that option). I've never hoarded mobile phones, I've always given mine away soon after upgrading, but my computers are usually so obsolete when I stop using them, there aren't any takers.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Here's my garage hoard:

            Numerous bits from a Digital PDP11 (including a honking great hard drive)

            Atari STE with monochrome monitor

            SGI Indy with monitor, camera, keyboard, mouse and external CD-ROM drive

            RDI SPARC based laptop

            Digital VaxStation VLC with terminal and keyboard

            NeXTstation with monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound box, external CD-ROM drive and humungous printer

            Two Digital Sharks (prototype ARM based computers)

            Apple G5 Xserve

            15" LCD screen, multiple PS2 keyboards and mice

            Two hubs with BNC connectors

            Four large boxes of cables (including various kinds of ethernet cables and just about every SCSI cable known to man)

            That's just the computing related stuff. I dread to think what lurks in the dozen or so other decaying boxes.

            1. Stoneshop


              I moved house a year ago. This was not unlike bzipping my hobby/storeroom (36m^2, 1.7327 nanoWales) and an adjacent 8m^2 room into crates and boxes, sokobanning them into a shipping container, having the containers moved to the new domicile, then unpacking the container's contents onto pallets and moving those inside. No attempt was made during packing to separate worthwhile stuff from rubbish (would have taken too much time); only the most egregious crap was dumped.

              I can state that I have

              - 1 36HE 19" rack full of Suns, VAXes, Alphastations, an UPS and a big honking IBM x86 server

              - 1 Europallet stacked chest-high with crates containing cables (Ethernet, SCSI and miscellaneous), network gear, harddrives, tapedrives, controllers *), mice/trackballs, keyboards, power supplies and less-readily-categoriseable tat.

              - 1 Europallet stacked even higher with boxes containing Beebs, Atoms, early Thinkpads (among which 3 701CSes), Ataris, Amigas, an Apple ][ clone and similar.

              - 1 Europallet stacked about as high as the previous one, with audio gear, only a minor part of which being my intended living-room hifi. Somewhere in that stack are an Uher Reporter, HighCom noise reduction units, DAT and MiniDisc players and a Telefunken video disc player.

              - one more Europallet has already been de-stacked and moved to the loft, most of which were crates of electronic parts, modules, projects, databooks and such.

              - One full storage rack with, among others, a purple iMac, a Motorola Powerstack and some more 80's home computers.

              - One full storage rack with electronics measuring equipment and boxes of parts.

              - a Schaub Lorenz Music Centre.

              - a mover's bin (1m40 long, 50cm wide, 50cm high) nearly full with CAT5 cable with lengths of up to 50m

              - There's a SGI Personal Iris *somewhere*.

              Stored/displayed elsewhere are a NeXTCube, a SGI O2, a Compaq Portable II, a Compaq Portable 486, some non-Thinkpad IBM Portables and a few more VAXes and Alpha's.

              Oh, and there's the workshop, plus the (between me and my gf) ten motorcycles, a moped and a motorised cargo bike. With their complement of spare parts (including gearboxes, crankcases, front forks and rear suspension units).

              *) wooden storage crates, lest static electricity reduce them to dead, or even worse, not-quite-healthy controllers. Separated into SCSI, video, network and miscellaneous. I'm still quite pissed at IKEA for stopping carrying them.

              1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

                Re: Hoard


                - a Schaub Lorenz Music Centre.


                Only one? Amongst my other music hardware I have 3 Sony HMK-80 Music centres. What will you do if one of the parts dies and your spare has a similar failure?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hoard

                Remember hoarders: Best prognosis is you're within two degrees of saving your poo in jam jars.

                (Or so I am frequently reminded.)

                Must remember to start tidying the garage tomorrow.

      2. ridley

        "You never know when you might need that 20m CAT5 ethernet cable. Or that 3m SCART."

        Of course you do it will be within a week of throwing them away.


    4. Dave 126 Silver badge

      A competition, hey? Rosettes awarded in a number of categories, including most obselete kit, most obscure item, best snake's nest (sorry, cable box)...

      - Gravis Ultrasound card, Analogue Joystick (transparent version, though I lost the little screwdriver), and Gamepad. The controllers are still useable (with an adaptor) but I can't imagine the Ultrasound being of much use, unless you must resurrect some ancient .MOD files.

      -Some weird mid-nineties Phillips PDA with stylus

      -Canon's first consumer digital camera, the PowerShot 600 (though I lose points on this, since I bought it from the 'junk bin' from outside a local PC repair shop about ten years ago. With its dock, I thought it would make a good paperweight).

      I'm not in with a chance of winning this game!

    5. Vince Lewis 1

      I need a scart lead.... two weeks after dumping my tangle of cables, the wife asked me to get out the old vcr...

      1. unitron

        So two weeks... the universal constant for these things?

    6. Steven Roper


      This thread enticed me to go out to my garage and take stock. Let's see...

      2 x Amiga 500s, one with a half-meg expansion board still in it.

      1 x 52 MB GVP side-mount hard drive for said Amiga 500.

      1 x Amiga 1200, with 68060 racer board and 32 MB of RAM on it.

      1 x tower case with 3 320 MB SCSI HDDs in it, to hook up as external storage device to said A1200. Yes, I was the first in my group of friends to have ONE WHOLE GIG of storage space!

      4 x plastic disk boxes with dozens of 3 1/2" Amiga floppies in them... Oooh, The Settlers! I loved that game! And Elite Frontier... Damocles... Shadow of the Beast (1 and 2)... Menace... Sidewinder... Blood Money...

      2 x boxes of assorted cables and power bricks, none more recent than 1993ish. Centronics leads, RS-232 cables and connectors, SCSI adapters and those super-wide ribbon cables they used; the 5-pin DIN-type leads the C-64 used, Amiga and C64 power bricks...

      1 x Commodore 64 C w/ Datel Action Replay 6 and DolphinDOS.

      1 x 1541 5 1/4" floppy drive (the ORIGINAL kind with the push-in door) and DolphinDOS.

      1 x MPS-803 dot-matrix printer for same, with cartridges

      1 x 14400 baud unbranded modem w/ cable

      1 x 56k baud Motorola modem w/ cable

      Assorted cartridges for said C64 including Hesmon, Epyx Fastload, Cockroach Graphics Pirate and Freeze Machine.

      8 x plastic floppy disk boxes with all my old C64 games and crackscene demos on them. Oooh, some old favourites: Bugaboo The Flea, Henry's House, Zaxxon, Wizardry, Elite, Mercenary, subLogic Flight Simulator II...

      4 x boxes of old Commodore User, Your Commodore, Ahoy! and Australian Commodore and Amiga Review magazines. And there's that old cover tape with the R1D1 game on it!

      Awwwww look... My dear old Sinclair ZX81, my first computer, complete with 16KB Expansion Cartridge of Don't Fucking Sneeze Near It Or It Will Crash. And my beloved old VIC-20, complete with Maths Invaders, Typing Tutor and that tape of crappy BASIC games that came with it... And is that my old Casio PB-100? My god, an old desktop office cassette recorder... wow, this is becoming an archaeological dig here...

      Ethernet cables and old wireless mice indeed! Bah! MY garage is a veritable computing museum!

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Right!

        That's not a hoard, that's a museum. Consider putting information cards next to each item for members of the public to read.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right!

        Some of that amiga stuff is still worth a surprisingly decent amount, you should stick it on ebay or to amiga groups. I got 100 quid recently for a dusty old amiga 1200 accelerator board.

      3. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Right!

        Real obsessives keep PDP-11s in their garage - although you're not really hardcore until you try to restore a PDP-10.

        (I've done neither, although I did get run TOPS-10 running on Ubuntu in Virtual Box on a Mac controlled from a Windows PC once.)

    7. johnB

      Two-pin kettle lead

      I know a chap who was asking for one of those a couple of weeks ago - he's inherited an old coffee maker that uses such a lead & there wasn't one with it.

      Put it on eBay please!

    8. Shaha Alam

      I needed an Iomega zip drive about a year ago when i discovered some old zip disks. I had no idea what was on them, the obsessive compulsive in me told me whatever it was, it was so crucial I simply had to know. Bought a zip drive off ebay, checked out the disks to find they were all blank and ready to be used if/when needed.

      I'm very thorough and organised like that. I just *forget* I'm organised.

      I'm also now stuck with a zip drive with zip disks i'm never going to use.

      1. Cpt Blue Bear

        "I'm also now stuck with a zip drive with zip disks i'm never going to use."

        Nonsense - bung them on eBay and some other muppet will buy them. I know this because we moved office recently and have been off-loading all manner of crap old kit to benefit the End of Year Pissup Fund. It's in the black to the tune of over $1,000 already...

        Zip drives are still in demand it seems based on how our stash have gone. I'm still looking for the power supply for a USB Zip250 and the whereabouts of the old SCSI Zip100 (I reckon an ex has it - it provided termination for the external SCSI chain on her PowerMac...)

    9. Rusty 1

      The Ascent of Man

      Surely there is a sequence to be observed:

      1. a box containing miscellaneous computer stuff;

      2. many boxes, one of which contains miscellaneous computer cables;

      3. many boxes, one of which contains ethernet cables;

      4. many boxes, one of which contains CAT6 ethernet cables;

      5. many boxes, one of which contains 1-3m CAT6 ethernet cables;

      6. many boxes, one of which contains red 1-3m CAT6 ethernet cables.

      Once there, you only have to worry about the number of O'Reilly technical reference books you have.

    10. Number6

      Only one?

      Without looking too hard, I have at least eight boxes of cables. One is full of IEC mains leads, two are labelled 'network' and mostly contain cat5 cables, although I think there's a 10BaseT to 10Base2 converter in there too, and a PCMCIA ethernet adapter for an old laptop. One has all the cables commonly found inside PCs, one is helpfully labelled 'misc' and the rest are a mystery.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I found in my dads garage.

    An Elonex 386sx laptop, with 40mb hard drive and ISA slot. Just Why? The PSU was bigger and heavier than my aspire one.

    I was even bored enough to power it up, it booted and loaded windows 3.1.

    <small>I know that if he was to chuck it out, i'd probably insist on rescuing it</small>

    1. Silverburn

      Re: I found in my dads garage.

      and if you're like me, you'll scour ebay to max out the RAM, HD, maybe find a video card...under the vain pretense you can make it relevant and useful again. Only to find Crysis does'nt run.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I found in my dads garage.

        Like my 486 laptop, Office 4.3 on it and it's a nifty little word processor.

        Clarisworks on it and it even does a bit of DTP.

    2. Simon Harris

      Re: I found in my dads garage.

      "An Elonex 386sx laptop"

      I've still got an LT386SXP/16 (that's the one with the orange plasma screen and no battery), sitting in a cupboard. I don't think I've powered it up in the last 10 years! Just found the 5 1/4" external floppy drive and a 3 button logitech mouse with an RS232 interface I used to use with it! I think I bought it in 1990.

      Also found, a Z80 CPU, a couple of 6502s, a little pile of 2114 static RAM (from about 1980) and a pile of 256Kx1 dynamic RAM in DIP packages, the latter pulled from a 286 system I got rid of in 1991 - thought the memory 'might come in useful sometime' - err, well... not in the last 21 years, it didn't!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I found in my dads garage.

        My old fella works with embedded systems in industry, and finds old laptops useful for:

        - Serial port (most machines no no longer have a serial port)

        - Parallel port (see above)

        - Floppy drive (old controller software on floppy)

        - Proper DOS

  5. Peter Simpson 1
    Thumb Up

    You have inspired me

    to fill the trashcan this weekend.

    Thank you.

    (and my wife thanks you as well)

  6. theastrodragon

    Hoarding?? Never!!

    Keeping old electronics isn't hoarding.

    Its off-site backups. For very old sites...

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: Hoarding?? Never!!

      Is it an offsite backup if you can't quite remember where the site was?

      1. Gavin King

        Re: Hoarding?? Never!!

        The more important question is whether or not it's an off-site back-up if the site (and everything to do with it) has ceased to exist.

  7. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    And another one here...

    Also occasionally nagged by my better half to have "a clear out".

    But that said her mother did ring up a few months back complaining that an electronic somethingorother (I forget what it was offhand) had stopped working. Diagnosed as a failed power brick - cue reading of power requirement label, shufty through my version of aforementioned boxen, appearance of fully working power brick kept after its associated gadget went tits-up and lo, one relatively happy mother-in-law, at least briefly.

    Not to mention the walk-on cameo role that a couple of handfuls of old memory chips made a while back as visual props when I had to give a training presentation about my job, which seemed to rate all sorts of brownie points from the PowerPoint droid giving the course.

    So here's to the boxes of cables, all coiled up and nests for mice (and keyboards).

    1. nichobe

      Re: And another one here...

      I have a box specifically for orphaned power bricks!

      It's like a bank, some people deposit others pay out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And another one here...

        Doesn't everyone possess one of these?!?

  8. A J Stiles

    I've always maintained .....

    ..... that hoarding is natural, and it's the pathological throwers-out who have the problem.

    Although "Help! I can't hang onto anything!" doesn't work so well as reality TV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've always maintained .....

      Exactly, a tidy workspace indicates a psychotic works there. It's what I tell my manager

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I let my last ISA card go recently as I haven't had a motherboard with ISA slots for some years.

    OTOH pre-bluetooth wireless mice and keyboards are something I'm happy to chuck as they never worked when they worked if you get me.

    Anyone want half a dozen perfectly fine CRT monitors I can't bring myself to chuck in the skip? Or several dozen IDE cables, pre-IDE CD-ROM drives or all the multitude of propritary higher capacity removable cartridge drives (IOMEGA stuff). I still have a 5.25 floppy drive and disks if you need them for your museum

    Anyone got a use for low-res usb cameras?

    I tell myself it's all waiting for the right project, and who knows, that could be true.

    Last time I threw something away it was 7 days then I needed one

    1. Soruk

      Re: horders

      > Last time I threw something away it was 7 days then I needed one


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: horders

      my low-res (i.e. 3MP) camera takes, every now and then, better pictures than my 10.2 MP classy panasonic lx5. And beats hands down an 8 MP pentax. AND it takes real batteries, i.e. AA. instead of those mightily overpriced, anti-fake-chipped, branded shite they insist on these days (for your own good, understand).

      Now, cable boxes are a different story. Actually, I prefer disposable bags. Very un-elegant and temporary-looking, but they give me a sense of doing a re-cycling bit, i.e. making them useful again :)

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: horders

        Likewise, I had a Sony Mavica which took 3.5" floppy disks... very nice pictures, but only at VGA resolution.

        1. Mike Brown

          Re: horders

          by christ i forgot about those. my dad had one. it was, at the time, awesome.

    3. Richard Plinston

      Re: 5.25 floppy drive and disks

      > I still have a 5.25 floppy drive and disks if you need them for your museum

      I still have 8" floppy drives and disks. I still have my first 'home' computer which had 2x8" 1Mb drives and I added another 2 drives by using a Polymorphic 8088 drive cabinet. (I still have the Polymorphic too from 1977 though it was 2nd hand).

  10. Lyle Dietz

    I've been planning on throwing my crap out...

    ... and I could use the services of your wife. If you want a little break, send her over to the Land Down Under, and I'll put her to good use.

    This is just for computer stuff mind, the car stays.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I could use the services of your wife...

      me too

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: I've been planning on throwing my crap out...

      I'm pleased my wife is so popular. I hope you have your anti-rad decontamination suits ready.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same boat

    Same boat here.

    Cupboard full of IT stuff, either collected or someone has given me.

    Box full of wires like yours, another box full of CDROMs, another full of floppy disks.

    Couple of old laptops. Another couple of laptops in bits. Couple of old desktops that I kept meaning to combine to make a server for something or other.

    Did ebay some stuff, the Mac Plus that I fixed got good money. The BBC Micro wasn't working but still sold. No-one wanted the BT router. Sold a keyboard and mouse up the car boot sale.

    My dad got given a Pentium4 laptop the other day. It ended up with me, if I get a chance I'll dig out an old 2.5" IDE drive and find a universal charger for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Same boat

      ... and my Tungsten T3 ended up on ebay a couple of years ago.

      Most obscure piece of kit currently is a brand new HP Barcode Wand HED-3050, brand new in box, wand itself is wrapped, datestamped 1981. I know I'll never use it, but it is too good to throw out, I keep it as a kind of curiosity.

      1. David Haig

        Re: Same boat

        And somewhere I've got the HP calculator thingy that it plugs into.

        I think it's with the HP 100 hand held which had a stylus and keyboard, ran graffiti and came out at the same time as the Newton. And all the nokia communicators are still boxed (9000 - 9500)

        No garage anymoreso it's all in the back of the car ....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Same boat

      "Couple of old laptops. "

      My count is eight ATX ivory cases - mostly gutted as the godchildren desired black ones on the last tech refresh. Various CD/DVD drives obsolescent because they are ivory or PATA. Numerous PSUs that are AT or too weedy for game spec machines. Two AT PCs - just in case the old ISA prototype board with FPGAs is ever demonstrated again. About ten laptops - mostly for spare screens for friends who are fond of their old laptops. A stack of ethernet connected standalone wifi units that were replaced by homeplug connections. A stack of Netgear DG834G units as spares for everyone whose broadband was set up.

      Eight large cardboard boxes hold all the "reserve/install" bits for PCs built for the godchidren, FOAF etc. It was previously found that when the PCs came back for repair/upgrade - that they had thrown away all the supporting material given to them "for safe keeping".

      A bookcase holds all the IT books - most of which are probably obsolete unless a museum wants them.

      eBay is no solution for cheap, heavy, bulky items. Freecycle might clear some space.

      Now - about those 2000+ general books that resist well intentioned purges.....

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Same boat

        I never knew 'ivory' was the proper term for beige...

        if your cases are still 'ivory', I can only assume they've been kept out of direct sunlight. UV yellowing is IT kit's answer to carbon dating.

  12. Paul E

    1 in 10

    I work on the 1 in 10 assumption. For every 10 items hoarded one will be needed at some point but that as you can't tell which one you have to keep all 10. Thus though I know the majority of the items hoarded will not be used I accept this as without them I would not have the few items I need when I need them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1 in 10

      there is a perfect way to find out which one of the 10 you keep is useful. This will be the one you have decided, with broken heart, to dispose of. Last week, so no chance to retrieve it from the bin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1 in 10

        "Last week, so no chance to retrieve it from the bin."

        One day I finally dumped the source listings from a product I had supported many, many years earlier. That afternoon a phone caller asked me if I could tell them how a particular function worked. Luckily the cleaners hadn't emptied the bin. That binder stayed on my shelf for many more years after that - but was never needed again.

        1. bobbles31

          Not a hoarder so much

          I do regularly clear out old kit so my collection these days only runs to a couple of boxes.

          Although in my defence I do seem to cling to exotic items:

          1 x Fujitsu Siemens stylistic st5031 tablet pc

          1 x mpeg4 daughter board for long obsolete graphics cards.

          1 x Commodore 64 with 1541 disk drive and 1501 printer

          And my personal favourite

          1 x Action Replay Cartridge mkiv for said Commodore 64

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same problem..

    I had the same problem as you a few years ago of a wife constantly nagging me to get rid of old stuff. I did the opposite though, I got rid of the wife instead. (And no, not via a new patio, it was a legal divorce.)

  14. Britt

    That signiture, wouldnt happen to be a Mr Savile would it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      based on a quick google image search, I think you could be correct:

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Yes, it's Jimmy Savile. I can't even begin to tell you what I had to go through to get it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        My first thought when I saw that was...

        oh dear, someone's tried to draw a cock and balls in your autograph book!

    3. paulc

      So the caption didn't give it away then?

      "How's about that then?"...

  15. mccp
    Thumb Up


    Don't forget to keep the magnets from a hard disk drive that you've dismantled - they're awesome.

  16. Scott Pedigo

    Benefit of Saving Old Crap

    I'm still using a 20 year old keyboard I received from Dell. The Dell computer it accompanied has long since been sent to the recycling centre. The cool thing: I got a phone call from someone in an Indian call-centre, flogging (I assume) some product or service from a scare-ware monger. I played along, but we never got to the actual scam. The guy obviously had some sheet of instructions he was reading from. The next step after falsely identifying himself as Microsoft Tech Support, verifying I actually had a computer, and telling me that Microsoft had detected that I had a virus which was slowing down my computer, was to get me to press the Windows key on the keyboard. Which I told him, truthfully, that I didn't have. He didn't believe me. He probably wanted me to bring up the task manager or something, but all my attempts to help him just to the next step failed. He just HAD to first get through that one step. He could not believe I didn't have such a key. Probably he was too young to know that there was a time when they didn't exist. After 15 minutes of detailed descriptions of which key was where, down there by the Shift and Ctrl keys, he gave up in frustration and just hung up.

    I've also got an old IBM PC1, circa 1981, which last time I checked still boots up MS-DOS from its 20MB hard disk, which I added to the original 320 KB 5-1/4" floppy. I can't bear to throw out a lot of old stuff, like boards and serial mice and keyboards with the big pre-PS/2 connector, because if something on my 'museum piece' fails, where would I ever get a replacement? Oh yeah, YOUR garage :-)

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Benefit of Saving Old Crap

      > I've also got an old IBM PC1, circa 1981, which last time I checked still boots up MS-DOS from its 20MB hard disk,

      If it has a hard disk then surely it's a IBM PC XT which would be a couple of years later. I have a 5150 IBM PC here that is a 'model B' so it is not the initial model which is a model A. (there should be a blue ink stamp on the back panel with A or B in a circle). The PC (pre XT) has a cassette tape port as its most easily identifiable feature.

  17. College Tech

    I run an hardware lab in a vocational Collge.

    You should see the stuff we keep.

    EDO ram, ESDI drives, laplink cables.

    The mobo's dating back to the year dot hung around the room are useful though to show legacy interfaces.

    Some of this years intake have never seen a PS/2 mouse until we introduced them to the joys. "it doesn't work Sir" "Yes it does, you need to plug it in before booting" "What's booting?"

  18. Christopher Rogers

    Yup me too.

    I now have collections of parts and cables over my and my parents houses. But! I am getting better. I am starting to catch on to myself. Things are heading binward. It is however a very long very slow process.

  19. Chris Miller

    Just last week, the missus had to do a presentation at a remote site using a portable projector on loan from work. Testing it at home, we found the scroat who used it last hadn't put the VGA cable back in the bag. My 'useless' drawer full of tangled computer cables finally earned its keep.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      I needed a VGA cable the other month. As I was up the tip (sorry, Recycling Centre) I poked my nose into a large skip full of CRT TVs and monitors. I didn't find a cable in the skip, but was surprised to spot a Pentax Super A with a Sigma lens, and rescued it.

      Part of this hoarding I think is a dislike of seeing working high-tolerance mechanical devices going to waste, even if I no use for them. There is something slightly soulless about fully solid-state devices. I like the mechanisms that eject tape cassettes from old camcorders and the like...

      I do like the logic of the person disposed of it in that skip: "If it's made of glass, plastic and circuit board, it may as well be a TV"

  20. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    I used to have a cable box like that...

    ... which turned to a single block of tangled cable if it was left for a few weeks. Then I discovered Nylon releasable cable tie,250x7.6mm (RS). Buy loads, then you always have one handy. You can now bundle up the cables, power adaptors and such into neat parcels.

    They're also great for taming the cable hydra that lives in the foot zone of any geek desk.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I used to have a cable box like that...

      There is a certain technique for coiling cables, known as the 'BBC method'. It involves a quarter-turn of the cable between thumb and fore-fingers of the hand that is gathering in the loose end, which makes the coil behave itself.

      It some circumstances, people use different coloured insulation tape to indicate that a, the cable has been tested, and b, its length.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to have a cable box like that...

        We used to teach our students this technique on a TV Studio course and used to wrap their knuckles if they didn't. We drummed it into to them to respect the cables.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: I used to have a cable box like that...

          An easier solution is a freezer-bag tie.

          At work I cut short lengths of scrap Cat-5E cable and push out the copper innards. Voila, four wire tidies. (Eight if you're the sort that enjoys untwisting twisted pairs).

          Never use cable ties. Quite apart from the un-green-ness of it, you'll look a right Charlie when you deliver a patch or VGA cable to someone and forgot to bring wire-cutters.

          1. Gordon 10

            Re: I used to have a cable box like that...

            That's why you use the re-usable cable ties. I got some free on a magazine years back and have always wanted to get some more.

          2. Stoneshop

            forgot to bring wire-cutters?


            - Leatherman. Some even have a hook-like cutting implement that you slide the offending ziptie into, then pull. Also works on cable bundles that someone else, ignorant on the matters of not using zipties, created.

            - Velcro strips, the hermafrodite type with hooks one side, loops the other. At work I have a D-jub-sized ball of them; it grows with every comuter-room reshuffle.

            - As noted, reusable zipties.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: forgot to bring wire-cutters?

              "Some even have a hook-like cutting implement that you slide the offending ziptie into, then pull"

              Thats called a can/bottle opener.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to have a cable box like that...

        I've found that I write the length of network cables on both ends of the cable, that way I can find one the right size without uncoiling it. It also helps with identifying cables which are plugged in. ("It's a green 5m cable, go to the switch and hope there's only one green 5m cable plugged in).

        Dymo ticker tape style labels don't seem to last too long when doubled back upon themselves around the end of a wall wart cable. I've found a staple will usually do the trick though, just make sure you miss the cable :(

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I used to have a cable box like that...

      Hayden Clark,

      Oi! No! Don't you dare torture those poor cables! Tying people up is wrong!

      You don't need cable ties. Just leave a bunch of cables in one place, and they'll soon tie themselves into one convenient rugby ball shaped knot. They're happier that way...

      My experience is that cable ties just make things worse. If you bundle the cables up, they get permanently bent. If you tie coils, you can never undo the buggers. Coiling them properly, with the aforementioned quarter-turn and carefully piling them, is the least bad way to go.

      I wasn't aware there was a name for it though. I was taught the rudiments of sound engineering by BBC trained guys, so I guess I picked up a few of their habits. Although BBC mixing desks are backwards, for reasons that made sense to the BBC in dim and distant past.

      1. Andy Taylor

        BBC Mixing desks

        The BBC mixing desk faders were backwards so you had to pull them on. Apparently it was so that if the presenter fell asleep across the desk it wouldn't fade stuff up, but switch off what was live (i.e. the presenter).

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: BBC Mixing desks

          @Andy Taylor - close, but I think only half a banana...

          I was taught to sound mix by the BBC on type-D desks - the first with 'slidey' faders which replaced the earlier rotary faders. They weren't linear pots, though; they were a thing called a quadrant fader - loads of precision resistors, and a slider moving on a central pivot past lots of low-impedance studs. ( has a grainy image of such a desk; has a discussion and images).

          The point was that you never intentionally opened a fader all the way on a live show; there was generally expected to be 10dB or so headroom - if the presenter was quiet, or too far from the mic, you had to crank in the extra level, so that last bit of the fader got used then.

          Because the fader - about four inches long - was part of a circle, it had a hump in the middle about an inch high. Trying accurately to control the position of the fader when the knob was away from you is difficult; when it's moving towards you, it's a doddle. And in most cases you could put your thumb on the desk and open the fader till it met your thumb without looking, and get it pretty much right.

          When the BBC moved to flat faders, they stuck with their premise even though you do tend to lose the location feedback, and for many many years all the major manufacturers made desks with BBC-style faders. Though they seem to have lost their clout recently (er, in the last ten or fifteen years) and started buying upside down desks...

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: BBC Mixing desks


            Thanks for that. I hadn't heard of the old style quadrant faders. They sound quite an interesting idea. Nice tactile feedback on what level you're at as well.

            Back on topic: The only cable ties I've ever found to be any good are the velcro ones. But even they seem to be more trouble than they're worth in a lot of cases.

  21. Miffo

    Memory cards for PC's

    Anyone got a collection of expansion memory card thingies from old PC's that you now have no idea what the spec is so can't even flog them on ebay. Not that I've bothered to flog the ones I do know the specs for!

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Memory cards for PC's

      No. But I do have an 8MB SD card. Yes. You read that right. Megabyte.

      Somewhere I might still have the 1Mb "SIP" chips that our cheap 386 needed to boot Windows 3.1 - the only other thing I've ever known to use them are some ANCIENT HP Laserjets.

  22. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Hoarding is a bit of an IT disease, mainly because when you go round someone's house (after months of them begging and also realising that you probably do owe them a favour), they will need to have a Windows reinstall from an XP disk with some obscure driver which has to be put on using a floppy drive, and then their printer install will have freaked out because you're not using a parallel cable but are trying to be clever pushing it through some networked-printer-server thing that you also found (but which could've saved you a lot of time), and then being asked if you've got a mouse because they can't find PS/2 ones any more.

    The fact is, my hoard, by percentage is mostly worthless and will be unused. But in there is that one obscure cable, weird card you never thought you'd use, adapter for something that doesn't exist any more, etc. and sometimes - just once maybe - it will absolutely save your life that you've got it still.

    That said, in terms of boxes, manuals, etc. I ditch after a year. If I haven't sent it back after a year, it's probably okay, and there's no law that says it has to be in the original packaging even if I do (really, honestly, truly!). Cables, I limit myself to a maximum of five of anything that's immortal (e.g. power leads and 19v adaptors), two of everything else and one of most things. You only need so many 36-pin floppy IDE cables, or ZIP drive power supplies.

    If you really want a hoard, I guarantee you that I still own:

    - 2 Video Backers (backup data to VHS tape from an ISA card! - no idea what I'll ever use them for, but there you go)

    - APC UPS serial cables (which you HAVE to label because they have a different pin configuration to everything else)

    - "Real" fax modems (surprisingly useful if not winmodems for setting up automated fax to email systems with Hylafax)

    - Fans and fan-adaptor cables (unbelievable how many people just let their fans clog to the point of dying and then buy a £20 Maplin fan that's worth about 50p).

    - A Syquest Sparq drive (parallel port version - like a ZIP but 1Gb disks, and a HUGE data store for anything that only does DOS / Parallel without having to worry about drivers and moving old IDE disks around).

    - IDE -> SATA and SATA -> IDE convertors (usually tiny ones that cost next-to-nothing)

    - Drive rails (e.g. 3.5" -> 5.25" bay rails - invaluable even on modern machines when you use a lot of disks).

    - 25m serial cable made up of every combination of 25-pin, 9-pin, male, female, etc.. Seriously. Used to play IPX- and TCP- games over this using an old DOS packet driver pre-home-networks.

    - PCI analog TV cards (excellent for CCTV systems running on old machines and as spares for such now that digital is king).

    - Every possible combination of USB A, B, mini, micro, male, female, etc. that you can imagine in one huge long daisy-chain of adaptors that takes up nearly a meter of solid plastic (I call it the USB lightsaber).

    - Power adaptors for weird things - old Dell laptops mainly and anything that has a weird voltage / connector like some of the old ISDN modems, routers, etc.

    - PS/2 extensions and USB adaptors. Vital for fixing old machines and/or keeping your old keyboard.

    Plus so much other junk I couldn't name it all.

    But I tell you what, when someone says "I know it's a long shot, but I don't suppose you have..." I just *KNOW* that if I haven't got what they need, I can cobble it together from the "bits box" quite easily. Some of the improvised cables/adaptors that have come out of that box were like something from Apollo 13's fix for the air-scrubbers, but they worked and against all odds we got things back and working even if they WERE immediately scheduled for removal because of the difficulty of maintaining them after that.

    1. Nigel 11

      Believe it or not

      Some of us are still maintaining systems running NT or 98. Even 3.11 and MS-DOS 6.22 sometimes.

      The usual scenario is that someone buys a piece of lab kit for £100,000 that came with a £1000 computer. The lab kit is still fine and dandy, and the computer interface works as well as it ever did. Up to the day that the computer expires. Sometimes, it's embedded so well they didn't even realize there's an ancient PC inside. (Screwed to metal brackets with self-tapping screws!)

      At this point the manufacturer quotes you £100,000 for a new instrument that's so much better than your old one (but £98,000 more than you can afford). Or, £5000 for a "new" antique computer and an engineer to install it (plus labour and travelling time). That's if the manufacturer is still in business.

      Cue a call to the IT geek, who hoards old computers ... with good reason. And yes, he's also hoarded a copy of the disk with the software installed on it. So easy these days ... 40Mb disk? 10Mb disk? But try finding a replacement disk small enough to replace it with!

  23. PaulR79

    Hoarders unite!

    Being a relatively young (in IT lifetimes) 33 I can't compete with some collections but for utter uselessness I have a Spectrum 48k with plenty of old games. That isn't the utter uselessness part. At the time I acquired it, one Christmas where I was overjoyed, it also came with a Microdrive and cartridge but no way to connect the two. Needless to say I still have the Spectrum, the games, and the Microdrive.

    In terms of PCs I have my first PC sitting in the corner of my room along with the first monitor I bought. Both are relatively new compared to the Spectrum, bought around 1999 I believe, but they haven't been used in almost a decade. They still work but it would be so slow I'd weep openly if I tried to use it for any purpose.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Hoarders unite!

      Pssh. I have two ZX Spectrums in my work-room. One's a 16K, one's a 48K. Both had bad memory chips and thus don't successfully boot. But I still have them, joysticks and bunch of tapes (all of which have already been TZX'd by the relevant Spectrum archives), not to mention every issue of "INPUT" by Marshall Cavendish (a programming weekly, which included Spectrum, Commodore, Tandy, Dragon and BBC listings in BASIC *and* machine code).

      I also have a 6-ft long moving LED sign from a shop that the company stopped making in 1986 which has a faulty "storage chip" (really a cheap memory chip like the Spectrums with a circuit-board battery soldered to it which has been dead for about the last ten years) and no longer holds any messages you put on it.

      And, somewhere, I have an Intel QX3 which I refuse to let go. But at least that works and you can still get (Linux) drivers for it!

      1. Rob

        Re: Hoarders unite!


        Nice, if I ever get our BBC micro working again I might ask for some scans of those just for shits and giggles.

        Additionally if I find out what's wrong with it I might be back to this thread for spare parts, I have more games for it than you can shake a stick at (it also has a mod on the case for the Action Replay chip). I refuse to get rid of it, my wife knows she can throw it away when body is cold and long dead, hence I don't keep my life insurance paid up ;-)

        1. techmind

          Re: Hoarders unite!

          I have two BBC Master 128 computers, a single 5.25inch disk drive, and twin Cumana disk drive. All my old 5.25" disks, several unopened boxes of 5.25" disks. AMX mouse, joystick. All fully functioning. Plus a BBC-style "cassette lead" (yes it does work to load programs off an mp3 player!).

          If a BBC micro won't start, one of first things to try is to see how far the start-up beeps get - this is some diagnostic. Remove and re-seat the keyboard cable-connector. Possibly remove and re-seat the OS ROMs.

          If you've got a mod, check the wiring for that - I carefully extracted a non-standard video mod from one of mine as that was causing trouble.

          A BBC to PC RS232 adapter cable with 15 -> 5volt-dropper resistors wired inside the plug on the signal-lines from the PC...

          Probably every mobile phone I've ever owned (even though the first three I stopped using as they no-longer worked properly) - batteries and/or keyboard worn out.

          I've got a JVC not-a-Walkman which sounds horribly tinny (capacitors expired?) and LCD screen (for clock/radio) long-since non-functioning... but it's the only thing left that will (sort-of) play tapes.

          ... and no end of other "rubbish".

  24. ian 22


    I'm not a Zen monk, nor do I play one on the Telly, but I believe you are spot on about your karmic state. There is more merit in creating an new thing than maintaining an old thing.

    If hoarding == maintaining, then no merit for you.

    Mine's the saffron robe.

  25. Tom 38

    I have 8 PCI-X SAS HBAs just sitting in anti static bags in a box in the corner of the room, and not a single motherboard with PCI-X. Occasionally I throw a blanket over the disaster area that is my tech dumping ground and pretend it's not really there..

  26. whitespacephil

    I quite literally now have something (to do) for the weekend... there's clearly no shortage worldwide of old bits of kit, I am going to stop holding on to what I do have.

    ATA Hard Drives - to be hooked up, archived and wiped

    Ethernet/Fast Ethernet hubs - to be skipped

    Cables that look iffy - to be skipped

    Power bricks - to be skipped

    CD ROMs - to be skipped

    CDRs - to be checked for data, skipped

    Kettle plugs, figure of eight cables - one of each to be kept, others skipped

    USB sticks under 1GB - to be checked for data, skipped

    Old MCP training documents - to be recycled

    Old books - to be offered to my staff

    Old mice, keyboards, PCMCIA cards, Parallel cables... you can see where this is going.

    1. Hayden Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I quite literally now have something (to do) for the weekend...

      Stick the USB keys and the ethernet hubs on fleabay.

      The USB keys would be great (bundled in packs of 5) as semi-throwaway School ones.

      An ethernet hub is just occasionally handy for sniffing ethernet traffic.

      Yell when you do - me and 50 other people will be along shortly! :-)

      1. whitespacephil

        Re: I quite literally now have something (to do) for the weekend...

        Yeah good points.

        It was the Ethernet/Fast Ethernet rather than Gig Ethernet that made them candidates for disposal.

        As for USB keys, is it ethical to palm-off my old, severely under sized USB keys (some are only 16MB) to a school? Won't they have to do exactly what I was about to and skip them..?

        (PS, by skip, I do of course mean carefully take them to the local recycling centre so that they can disposed of in line with WEEE regulations)

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: I quite literally now have something (to do) for the weekend...

          Don't knock it, a 16MB USB key can sometimes be invaluable for just getting a word document to a PC connected to a printer.

          If you consider them expendable, then they sound ideal for giving small chunks of data (photos from a party, for example) to friends.

        2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

          Re: I quite literally now have something (to do) for the weekend...

          I had a bunch of old, small giveaway USB keys that my customers would be insulted if I gave to them nowadays, so I posted them on freegle/freecycle. Several people were interested. The guy who came to collect them said something about a model train group... I didn't bother to find out more!

          And kettle leads and figure-of-eight leads are things I seem to use every couple of months. Figure-of-eight cables are useful for iPad chargers, particularly if they have a foreign plug -- I find they are less weight to carry on a short trip than a plug adapter, if I only need to be able to charge my phone and my iPad.

        3. Gavin King
          Thumb Up

          Re: I quite literally now have something (to do) for the weekend...

          Never mind the school, try a University: as an undergrad we were told that we couldn't do one of the experiments as there was no way to get data off of the oscilloscope. The department ended up managing to find dinky 512MB ones, but they cost the earth, and god only knows if they're still available.

          And it was only a few weeks ago I found myself having to clear a 1GB drive tthat once held manuals and drivers to do very much the same: anything larger ---even if partitioned/formatted smaller would be "too large" and not work in the scope.

          And these aren't even very old machines, at least by lab scope standards: not even ten years old.

          Mind you, don't get me started about hoarding old stuffs. The other scope has only HP-IB and a floppy disk drive. To use the floppy disks, I ended up bring in the USB floppy drive from home, that everyone called me mad for getting and then keeping. Right up to the point where my supervisor had to use it to get drivers off of a floppy disk for a rather expensive bit of kit that escapes me right now.

  27. cosymart

    It's the suppliers fault

    I have a box of bits too. But the majority of the items are , what you might call, left overs.

    Let me explain: You get a new router/modem/super hub etc. it comes with a length of CAT5, whatever the length supplied it is always too short so I end up with using the one I already have and the supplied one goes in the box. I loose a screw/bolt/fastener etc. I only need ONE! but the pack contains 4 and the 3 spares go in the box. The other day I needed a radiator bleed key and they come in packs of 2!!! Why the hell would I need 2 these!!! and so it goes on. Buy a PC and it comes with a mouse and keyboard. I already have an excellent mouse and keyboard. HELP!!

    1. Anonymous IV

      Re: It's the suppliers fault

      "The other day I needed a radiator bleed key and they come in packs of 2!!! Why the hell would I need 2 these!!!"

      One downstairs, one upstairs? You would be amazed how many people have an upstairs and a downstairs vacuum cleaner, to save carting their sole one up and down the stairs. Usually they are called Henry or Hetty.

      1. cosymart

        Re: It's the suppliers fault

        Well yes, 2 vacuum cleaners I can understand but radiator bleed keys are quite small and light and live in my tool box. If your house is like mine there is only one radiator that ever needs bleeding and that is at the end of the run in the bathroom.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: It's the suppliers fault

          I don't like those multipacks of button cells ('watch batteries') containing a variety of sizes... I only want one size, and that's for my LED keyring! Who the hell needs 4 units each of 5 different sizes at the same time?

      2. Nigel 11
        IT Angle

        Radiator bleed key

        You checked they were both exactly the same?

        I'd have guessed one was for modern Metric radiators and the other was for old Imperial ones. Like the connectors and converters in your plumbing kit, for 3/4 inch to 22mm (to six inches of 22mm pipe and back to 3/4, because nobody ever thought to hoard 3/4 inch pipe).


        No plumbing kit??

        A pipe hoarder???

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have to throw my lot in with you all as well. Having recently moved and all this has come to the surface, more precisely all this junk is covering a lot of surfaces in the garage. I pretended to be ruthless by throwing some stuff out knowing full well I had more of it stashed elsewhere in other boxes, this did gain a lot of brownie points with the missus though.

    I did find some antique cine cameras I forgot I had as well, one of them so antique I'm actually looking for someone to get it appraised, if it amounts to more than a couple of hundred quid you can bet your last pound I will be dining out on it for years to come with the missus.

    Equally bought a load of plastic storage boxes, found a load of electronic copies of comics and vacuum packed the real ones up into the loft, well they could be worth something in years to come surely?

    Anon, just in case Mrs Anon stumbles across this post.

  29. EddieD

    None left here

    A few weeks ago, I took my box of assorted bits to work, added them to the pile waiting for the secure recycling van, and went to my office.

    And I don't regret a thing - the only spares I have now are a few SATA drives, a few cables - usb, firewire, displayport - and that's it.

    I have a large amount of space in my attic, and I'm wondering what /new/ crap I can fill it with.

  30. Miek

    << Guilty

  31. Joe Drunk

    Hoarding = don't leave the house often

    Junk is junk. Is it taking up lots of space? No? fine, stash it somewhere. The Sony Walkman can be put in a drawer. It's filling up the attic/basement? Garbage.

    You have one Commodore 64, a few drives, monitor. Fine. Each and every variety/color of Commodore that ever came out and drives stacked to the ceiling? Get help. You're one step away from being found dead in a house with 50 cats, some feasting on your corpse and garbage piled to the ceiling.

    Beer icon because quite frankly, you need to get out of the house more often.

  32. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge


    I 'warehoused' my spare room, entirely shelved it for stacking crates, so I'm what others would call a classic hoarder. I'm not. Well only partly. Like others I simply cannot bear the thought of knowing I'm throwing away something I am pretty sure is still useful and someone else is likely to want. Hate the idea of landfill when there's a welcoming home for it out there, somewhere. It doesn't help knowing that the minute I do skip something I either need it or someone asks if I have one. Of course, until someone needs it, it is 'valueless junk'.

    The problem is matching-up giver and receiver. I don't want want profit nor to lose money; charity shops don't want the stuff, Freecycle (or whatever it's called these days) is usually mailing list based and too localised, and eBay charges. We need some kind soul to come up with a decent, eBay-like, no-charge, "pay the postage and it's yours", service. I'd do it myself but I'm not the entrepreneur type, don't have the skills. Must be plenty of El Reg readers who do ...

  33. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    +1 for everything everyone has said above...(even the comments from my wife)

    I have those boxes filled with cables; old DVD drives that still work and get used for diagnosing dodgy modern drives; 'proper modem' cards; 60Gb hard drives (for that emergency mythtv frontend); 12v power's all there. Even complete P4s (those HP 530 machines REFUSE to die).

    And a 1.2Mb 5.25 in drive...(anyone got an edge connector for those?)

    There is some hope; I've ditched all but one of the 3.5in drives pulled from REALLY old machines (they read damaged disks where newe drives won't); all the 3.5in disks (unreadable now) ; all the 10baseT cards..All the (broken) CRT monitors)

    The newer LCD monitors are being reused as TV replacements as my LCD TV's die (Ha!... MythTv again)

    The *spare* IBM Model M keyboard is staying...obviously

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: +1 for everything everyone has said above...(even the comments from my wife)

      "And a 1.2Mb 5.25 in drive...(anyone got an edge connector for those?)"

      Have one of those - and also a low density one as some 5.25 floppies can be incompatible with high density drives. Another reason for retaining a couple of AT PCs for the occasion when someone finds they have their first novel archived on 5.25 media. A modern motherboard might support a floppy - but the bios/OS might not handle 5.25 floppy formats.

  34. Alan Bourke

    I have every PC Zone cover CD up to around 2003.

    Why? I don't know.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I have every PC Zone cover CD up to around 2003.

      DOSBox. Even available for Android now.

  35. Mike Brown

    babies and hoarding dont mix

    I had a great room for junk....sorry spares. It was full of old towers, and hard drives, and i had the best cable box i have ever seen. then we had a baby. apparantly babies cant live in cable boxes. so i had to get rid of it all.

    i still miss my cable box. i loved sitting trying to untangle a usb cable only to discover there was an ancient MS joystick on the otherside.

  36. Trygve Henriksen

    Not impressed...

    Of course, my attic contains 3 crates full of cabling, a lot of different tape devices, and almost complete Iomega collection(internal and externals of different size and ports), a Jaz, Clik! and lots of accessories. Even a bunch of Bernoully disks, but not the drive...

    There's 'big iron' corner, where the SUN SparcStation 5 and the UltraSparc 5 is stacked together with the SGI Indigo 2. There's a portable based on the SUN... An old HP 16bit workstation from the 80s...

    Home computers occupy another area... Oric 1, Commodores, Sinclairs (ZX-81, ZX Spectrum 48 and 128+2, QL and 3 Cambridge Z88), Ataris, Amigas... Even a BBC B.

    Games consoles. No Xbox, but I have a Nintendo VirtualBoy and an Atmark Pippin among the 20 or so stored there.

    Portables... Dear God, I'm afraid to go into that corner...

    PDAs in boxes, in crates, in heaps...

    I even have a few different versions of the Canon BJ10sx inkjet printer with different manufacturers' logo on them...

    How many can name all the consoles on this picture:

    1. Major N

      I fear we are kindred spirits... I have a huge collection of old consoles, including most of those in your (very impressive) picture and an old SPARC Station 5... has to throw out the old Sun 20" CRT when I last moved (it was enormous and very heavy) so it goes unused, my dreams of having a fanless *Ux firewall/server dashed, when I could never get the Wyse serial terminal to work with it (I still have that, green on black).. and I never did find a connector to convert the Sun 15D3 or whatever it was video port to VGA...

      I love the internal design of the SS5, so clean and minimalistic and functional...

      Also got about 5 old PC boxes (I left 10 I'd acquired behind as well when I moved), 3 boxes of cables, a 386 compaq laptop (runs and boots still! Has the weird trackball built into the lid)...

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        The video adapter... Yeah, that one was a bit of an annoyance... Until I found one on eBay...

        Probably shouldn't mention the Orange card in my SS 5... Yeah, a PC emulator card.

        One day I'll get one of my SUNs to boot. (Crapped out drives)

        The picture is a bit of a trap... Theres a couple of items that aren't what they look to be.

        Bonus points to those who recognise the small figurine at the top shelf...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ah. The SparcStation 5. My main computer for many years, until She Who Must Be Obeyed made me get rid of it. Worse even than trying to find a VGA to 13W3 adapter was getting a printer lead. £120 from Sun themselves, but at least it was about five metres long. Shame the printer was sat right next to the computer ...

  37. Anonymous John

    I think we must be related.

  38. Jim 48
    Thumb Up


    With the brilliant "Marshall Law"

    1. CADmonkey
      Thumb Up

      Re: Toxic!

      Kev O'Neill off the leash!

      I loved the bit where all the senile old super heroes decide to fly off the roof and instead hit the ground like heroic lemmings.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Toxic!

        I have always hated superhero comics. This is why I loved, and continue have an enduring admiration for, Marshal Law.

  39. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I was right to keep my old Tungsten T3

    Still works, and my youngest (8) loves playing with it.

    See, I knew there was a reason.

  40. ukgnome

    Glad I am not the only one

    My IT clutter was at it's very best in 2006. All the old useful bits from my failed business, all the donations from my customers and friends. Sometimes you have to ask yourself if you actually need 13 network cards. In 2007 I moved counties and was able to give the kit of yesteryear to a mate who also was a dumping ground for obsolete kit.

    Fast forward to 2012, hows my clutter?

    erm... 5 laptops, several routers, seemingly hundreds of USB gadgets and more 40GB drives than I want to think about. And that's just the stuff I know about.

    *fail icon, because I assured the wifey that it would all go.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's what stops me. I'm an altruistic hoarder: I keep it because it might be useful to someone else so I don't want simply to throw it out. We're allowed to simply dump consumer electronics but I just can't bring myself to do it.

    For most old electronics I've given up, so I take them apart, take out the metal, throw out the plastic and hoard all the old motherboards with a hope that I can find an e-waste place later that can deal with all the toxic stuff.

    I have two old desktop PCs and an old laptop. I like low-power devices so I wouldn't want to use them now anyway for a server or anything. Maybe I can wipe, wipe, wipe, wipe, wipe, wipe, wipe, wipe the disks and donate the computers to one of those re-purposing companies.

    I may simply need to do the Free-on-a-sheet (and we also have some unused non-100% cotton sheets, since I'm picky) thing on the front lawn and hope some real hoarders come and take most of the old crap that works.

    Or maybe I'll do a thing-a-week (weekly collections here) and find one thing to dump. That way I might get rid of all the crap by 2020.

  42. FrankFable

    Electronic Detritus

    My own collection of electronic detritus! I could ditch it all, free up precious space in my cupboard, and live an uncluttered minimalist existence, but my inbuilt hoarding instinct is too powerful.

  43. Nigel 11

    Agonizing over my TV

    It's a 1985 25" Philips Vacuum-tube model that still works perfectly (connected by SCART to a PVR, since digital TV hadn't been invented when they made it).

    I really ought to replace it with a modern flat screen except

    1. 25" 4:3 aspect ratio fits in my living room perfectly. A flat-wide-screen that fitted would either give me a distorted picture, or a smaller one with black strips down the edges. (Movies excluded ... but I'm not a TV or movie junkie).

    2. I have huge respect for a piece of hardware containing 25kV and complex analogue circuitry, that still works perfectly 27 years later, and I can't bear the thought of throwing it away for no good reason.


    PS At work there's a 25 inch Iiyama vacuum-tube monitor that prpbably also still works perfecty, but that hasn't been thrown out for a different reason. It took four people to get it up the twisty narrow stairs, and it would take at least three to get it down again for disposal. Easier to just let it lie in the bottom of a cupboard that no-one ever uses, until they decide to demolish the building.

    1. Burbage

      Re: Agonizing over my TV

      That seems by far the best strategy. However tidy we would like to be, entropy is bound to catch up with us. There's no escaping it, and very little point putting much effort into the attempt.

      Besides, computer cases, old cardboard boxes, lumps of polystyrene, piles of manuals and crackling Fergusons or Pyes act very well as insulation and cut down on draughts, which helps us discharge our obligations to the wider environment. In that sense, hoarding is a duty rather than a problem.

      It's also our right. We're all paying council tax, or the equivalent, and a swift house clearance at the end of it is part of the deal, whether someone off the telly likes it or not. Does it really matter if we or our possessions get recycled now or in a few years' time? In the great scheme of things, it's unlikely.

  44. Oli 1

    Recently went to see the parents and mother decided it was the day to clear out my "computer stuff" cupboard from when i lived at home. (I thought it had all gone in a skip a decade ago) I then discovered I am a hoarder...

    2x 28k modems

    1x 56k modem

    1x 56k v90 modem

    Too many new / unused telephone - modem cables

    Too many serial / paralell leadss

    2x paralell spllitters (marked color / b&w / scanner / zip drive - shudder)

    Pretty much every bit of Palm ever made and sold in a box (uncle worked at palm)

    Bluetooth OCR devices for palm pilots

    Windows 3.11 discs

    Windows 95 discs

    Windows 98 SE Disc

    Windows ME box (discs all burnt and melted into one useful blob)

    Various Encarta and Office discs

    Borland learn c++ in 7 days (unopened)

    Various GFX Cards

    Various CDs labelled, DRIVERS DONT LOSE!!

    Various Digital Cameras probably with resolutions lower than my front facing phone camera

    Various SoundBlaster LIVE! cards and front panels

    And a device that looks like some sort of media apparatus with a PS2 port on the end.

    All seems completely useless in todays world, did i throw ALL OF IT out? Nope.

    Hey, you never know when you might need a PS2 colon inspection device!

    If "she who must be obeyed" knew about any of this, it would be in the skip before i could blink, so it stays safely in the garage for another 10 years of being forgotten

  45. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge


    For the benefit of the younger readers you explained what a Walkman is/was, but neglected to explain your explanation by saying what an audio tape cassette is....sadly I think there could be some younger readers still saying "what??"

    I, however, am content to be an old codger with not only >1 tape player but many, many cassettes.....and a whole heap of other electronic bits'n'bobs of hoardage

    1. Al Jones

      Re: Walkman

      I recently heard a piece on the radio where someone brought a C60 cassette into a class full of 9 year olds and asked them if they knew what it was. Not a clue. What's a Walkman? "A man who walks around a lot?"

      Finally, one kid remembered seeing a cassette player in a car.

      When asked what the C60 label might mean, one kid piped up "60 megabytes?"

  46. spiny norman

    Just to be different ....

    ..... we are storing an Atari 520 STFM complete with cables, software, worn out joysticks and other accessories, because ** my wife ** won't part with it for sentimental reasons.

    I recently admitted I could have no possible use for a Franklin Rex, and nor could anyone else, so that went to the tip. However, while clearing out some stuff left behind by nest-fleaing son, I found a Casio SF-4000 Digital Diary, which with some new batteries can, I'm sure, be brought back to life.

    I put some ram on ebay and someone bought it, but didn't pay. Relisted, next buyer obviously a dealer, also didn't pay. Finally sold it by requiring immediate payment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just to be different ....

      I remember the Atari ST lived on well past its sell-by date in musician's studios... integrated MIDI ports.

      1. Vic

        Re: Just to be different ....

        > I remember the Atari ST lived on well past its sell-by date in musician's studios

        I know someone still using one for exactly that purpose. And you will have heard his music[1], even if you don't know his name.

        He was *delighted* when I showed him a HD floppy could be used in a low-density drive if you formatted it. He'd been paying £10 each before that...


        [1] When you hear something introduced as "$this_weeks_face's new single", it's extremely unlikely to be "their" single at all. They might have sung some bits of it. Or sometimes not.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hearing all the stories makes me wonder how many of us worked in IT supporting old systems or moving customers onto new kit and trying to maintain their business legacy capability?

    The history of IT is littered with frequent changes in hardware or O/S specs - while the customer business had a much longer life-cycle. Virtual Machines were supposed to be the panacea - but not sure the potential has been realised.

  48. Irongut

    I just know I'm going to need a serial mouse or a 5 pin DIN plug keyboard again some day.

    And why would I throw away an original 3Com Palm Pilot? It does still work!


  49. The Serpent

    Hmm, I have a lot of worthless stuff but a few gems live in my garage

    There's a Powermac 5500 "Director Edition" (the black one) with the correct, black keyboard and correct, black mouse

    A mint Commodore 1526 dot matrix printer with original box and packaging

    An Apple Newton modem (the Newton is around somewhere but they got separated)

    All for sale at very unreasonable prices!

  50. Len Goddard


    The sad thing is that I took all the usable kit to a computer recycling charity recently.

    What I have left is of no conceivable use to anyone, except I could possibly frame one or two of the really ancient and obscure expansion cards and hang them on the wall.

  51. AndrewInIreland

    That autograph...

    ...Jimmy Saville, is it not???

    Might be worth holding onto. Unless you have a stpry behind it that you can sell to the newspapers for a large amount of wedge.

  52. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Been bitten before ...

    I needed to install the OS on a printer* after replacing the failed HD. COuld I find the external SCSI CD drive and cables I needed ? Could I f**k - had to borrow them. Best of it is, I know I've had all the parts I needed to hand at some point in the past.

    * Before anyone asks, yes I really do mean install the OS on the printer. Old Canon colour laser with Fiery RIP.

  53. Dick

    Me 2

    I plead guilty to all of the above, plus electronic parts going back 40 years or more.

    In a rare fit of cleanup I recycled half a dozen Linksys WRT54GS routers, keeping one for a DD-WRT firmware project, only to find a month later that I had dumped all the version 3's and 4's and kept a useless version 7.

  54. Colin Miller

    Does anyone want:-

    An ISA soundblaster AWE64.

    A ISA NE2000-compatible networkcard, with AUI port

    A SyQuest 135 drive with 4 (I think) cartridges? Might even have that drivers on 3.5 floppy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      we could all meet up on the M4 corridor and play swapsies, then recreate that computer out of Superman II

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anyone want:-


      no we don't.

      we've all got our own

  55. James Hughes 1

    I've got a WM-4 - in silver. Build like a brick shithouse. Dropped so many times and still working. Had to 'fix' bits with araldite, but still going. Or would be if I had any tapes.

    Sounds quality was, and still is, very good on the WM-4. Much better than any of the more recent tape WM's in the same price range.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      * BUILT

      The past tense of the verb 'to build' is BUILT.

  56. Robert Helpmann??

    I took the (extreme) cure

    I helped my folks move house two years ago. My dad is a hoarder, but is also disabled. Mom distracted him while I emptied everything I could into the construction dumpster they had rented for the purpose. I filled the dumpster six or seven times (I lost count toward the end). When it was time for me to transfer to a new location, I dropped about 50% of what we had in the house, mostly old computer equipment. Yes, I sorted and recycled what I could. No, it is not missed.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: I took the (extreme) cure

      Been there, done that, when we moved my M-I-L into a nursing home.

      TWO 30 cu yd dumpsters.

      //this may be of use to someone, somewhere

      //but not me and not now, so it goes in the dumpster

      //powerful motivation for me...

  57. Putters

    Ebayed most of the attic contents last year.

    Two Speccys went (with accessories including ZX and Alphacom printer, Interface 1 and 2 and a DKtronics keyboard) - as did a QL (with several working microdrives !), and an IBM XT PC. Oh and a portable valve radio. And an Imperial typewriter. The Atari ST didn't sell (happily).

    Pride of place goes to the two remaining valve radios (one a radio rentals branded set from when they rented radios !) and, joy of joy, a fully functional Rolf Harris Stylophone

  58. Putters

    Can you see what it is yet

    Most of the spitzensparken kit in the loft ebayed last year - including two Speccys (and associated Alphacom and Zx printers, Interface 1 and 2, Microdrive, DKtronics keyboard), 1 QL with working microdrives, 1 Psion Series 3, and IBM PC XT, a portable valve radio and a portable imperial typewriter (ok pushing the defn with that last one)

    The Atari ST didn't sell, happily.

    Two working valve radios remain (including one with the Radio Rentals logo from when they used to rent out their own brand radios) and so does, joy of joys, a fully working ...

    ... Rolf Harris Stylophone :O)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you see what it is yet

      Those radios would sell for a fortune here in the States, at least to the antique radio crowd. Especially since they were originally rental units, and they have the logos on them still.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Can you see what it is yet

      >> Rolf Harris Stylophone

      Did you also have the 7in EPs with Rolf telling you how to play along to songs, with full orchestral backing, such as "It had to be you"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can you see what it is yet

        Geez, I found one of those at my local car boot sale a couple of weeks ago complete with a Rolf 7". Reckon I could have had for a couple of quid as it was near packing up time.

  59. CABVolunteer

    It may be scrap, but it's got memories associated with it!

    I can't claim anything really old, but a few examples from my hoard:

    An Anderson-Jacobson AJ832 30cps daisy-wheel terminal (printer and keyboard) complete with pedestal on castors, bought by my wife in the late '70s for data-entry, retired in the late '80s and acquired in 1989 when they moved offices. Ideal for printing on fan-fold paper. Used since 1989? Never.

    A K&N acoustic coupler - the sort that you put the telephone handset inside and closed the wooden lid. Maximum speed: 300bps.

    Umpteen IBM token-ring ISA & MCA adaptors, a couple of hubs and a sackful of cables, all made redundant when I (reluctantly) switched to 100base-T Ethernet.

    The 10" platter and heads from a DEC exchangeable disk pack of unknown age (it was scrap in 1980).

    Half-a-dozen IBM PS/2 keyboards, over twenty years old but still our favourite keyboard - I'm typing on one now.

    And an old favourite from the '70s and beyond: my paper-tape hand punch with integral guillotine - essential for splicing paper-tape for input to the 1904S. Ah, happy days......

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: It may be scrap, but it's got memories associated with it!

      Have you asked the National Museum of Computing (at Bletchley park) if they want any of it? I'd have thought that the AJ832 might be the sole surviving specimen by now. I once had an acoustic coupler in a polished mahogony box, E-bayed it for twenty-some quid more than a decade ago. If it was a collectible then ....

      Eventually our scrap will be worth a fortune ... to our great-great-grandchildren, if our grandchildren don't pile it in a skip when they get to sell the house that we don't need any longer.

      My disk platter is at least 16 inches and hangs on my living-room wall. I've been asked "who is the artist"!

  60. Anonymous Coward

    You really might need it someday.

    I remember years ago as a kid my dad had a prop shaft for a Bedford HA van hanging around in the corner of the shed.

    I don't remember where he got it, probably from the Vauxhall Viva that somebody let him pilfer from on its way to the scrapper: a lot of the parts were the same I seem to remember.

    When the rag and bone man came calling down the street (yes he had a horse and cart in them days) he sighed and handed it over. We wouldn't really ever need it.

    Then about a fortnight later, one of the joints in the prop shaft went. Imagine the annoyance of having to pop down to the local Hardy Spicer shop for a new joint.

  61. Azzy

    The trick is to get other people to take it...

    What I do is to find something that someone else actually wants. Then I bring it over to their place with a pile of other crap - and make them promise that they won't throw any of the junk out, and will instead pass it along to someone else if they don't want it - Presto - it's now someone else's problem. And if they throw it out, they're the ones who have to feel guilty for breaking the no-trash promise

    My cardboard bins of 50-year old microswitches (well older than I am - they have Bakelite cases!), parallel+serial printer networkifier and stack of 40GB PATA drives were still sitting in his living room last time I went there. I forget what it was that he actually wanted...

  62. Nigel 11

    Lofts and Altruistic non-hoarding

    I rescued a sack of 1920's physics teaching aids from a skip outside my University and took it home. Brass and Bakelite stuff. Initial intention was E-bay, but soon discovered it wasn't old enough to collect.

    I have thrown the sack into the furthest recess of my loft, with a letter explaining what the junk is, and that if it isn't 2170 yet, just leave it lying there hurting nobody, and some day after that date it'll make a future owner of the house very happy.

    (Do you know how much lab junk from the 1850s is worth these days? Oh, for a time machine! )

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lofts and Altruistic non-hoarding

      I think you're taking quite a risk with your loft strategy. It's only takes one of those people to consign that irreplaceable piece of future antiquity to a hole in the ground.

      If you ever find you don't have room for it any more and want to make good on the idea of altruism may I suggest giving the Electric Museum in Dorset first refusal. ISTR they run lectures/demo sessions for groups of local school kids using all period equipment.

      It's an interesting place to visit in it's own right as it's in a a nicely preserved Edwardian era sub-station, complete with cast iron walkways and superstructure and is choc full of the detritus being talked about here of every period right up to the early 90s.

  63. Shaha Alam

    I have a selection of RAM sticks. It made sense to keep them at one point but having never ever used any of them ever (and on several occasions forgot I had them and bought new RAM sticks anyway!), I'm thinking about chucking them away.

    Probably wont, though.

    1. Nigel 11
      IT Angle

      Make a display

      Line a deep-ish picture frame with velvet. Arrange all the RAM modules in aesthetic and/or chonological order and make labels for them. When you're happy with the result, glue them down and hang it on the wall.

      Last time I made a display, it was of German hyper-inflation era stamps (none valuable) arranged by date on one axis and roughly by the log of their value on the other. Pfennigs (10^-2) to Milliarden (10^9) in two years. One glance and you know why the Germans really, really, really don't want to let the ECB print money for the Greeks.

      I've got fifteen old stopwatches made in the 1950s that will be my next project when I have an idle Sunday. (No glue for them. Little velvet compartments. They still work! One goes in 20ths of a second, 10 seconds per 360 degrees. Possibly the first casualties of the digital revolution? )

      I quite like the idea of doing a display frame of Motherboards, but I don't have a big enough frame or wall. Pretty things, though, and there are definite fashion trends to be noted as well as the evolving technology.

  64. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Sorry Mr Dabbs but

    you sound perfectly normal to me

    but since this is about old IT crap people have lurking about "just in case"...

    Forgive me Father for I have sinned by collecting old crap instead of dumping it

    To wit in my front bedroom i have

    1 MTX512 computer

    1 Atari ST computer

    2 * 8 meg RAM sticks

    1 P133 CPU.

    2 CD rom drives (non working)

    1 DVD drive (non working)

    2 Floppy drives (non working)

    Assorted cables for IDE drives

    Assorted driver discs for various bits of PC kit

    1 Athlon1 1000 PC with 4 HDD mounted in it(my data server)

    1 Athlon 4200 dual core PC (the develpement box)

    1 Intel I7 8 core PC (this one)

    1 epson ink jet printer

    In the back room I also have

    1 ZX81

    1 P200 PC with a dead power supply and no HDD or RAM

    1 dot matrix printer (working)

    1 VCR of dubious ability

    1 400 W per channel bass amp

    2 20" woofer units

    and 3 drawers full of assorted short lengths of wire and a soldering iron.


    Hoarding.... I can hh.h.h handle it

    1. Arbuthnot Darjeeling

      Re: Forgive me Father

      I think the zx81, the atari st and the mtx512 are contributing significantly to your pension plan

  65. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik


    Still have an old dot-matrix I got from a friend who got it from his dad's workplace. It works great can still get fresh carts for it and even have the paper to print on. Used to have a pile of 386, 486, 586 boards and cpus and mem. Actually used a 586 for years as a dedicated music system. Worked great.

    Then one day simply decided to clean the stuff out. Still have a bunch of old SCSI kit and floppy tapes in a box ready to go to a friend. And I have atleast 6 spare systems(boards, mem, cpu, graphics, psu) sans cases ready to go. Have some removable 3.5" ide drive bays, a ton of old fans I pulled from various kit, used to have a few CRTs but 2 of them went to the shop when they offered a discount on LCDs. Have maybe 4 optical drives... one region unlocked DVD, the others dvdrws or just plain cdroms.

    Also threw out a ton of ISA cards had some of the extended isa stuff as well as some MFM drives. Other than magnets and some other bits and piecese I eventually got rid of most stuff since. I still have a ton of crap though. Though nothing like the rest of the people here.

  66. Arachnoid

    We still run a very efficient beer can packaging machine that backs up data to floppy drive.What happens when we run out of floppies I dont know ERK!

  67. Dick Emery

    SOOOOOOO many cables!

    I have draws and bags full of cables. So many USB cables, VGA etc. I have a complete Intel E7300 PC upstairs unused. Also various bits of hardware. Seagate 5GB spinning mini HDD. AGP 6600GT viddy, PCI viddy that only works on XP, Lots of IDE HDD's that are now too small to use. I even have a giant MFM drive sitting in a cupboard. Keyboards and mice galore. Soundcards. NIC's. Modems and routers. RAID controllers. PCI cards I forget what they actually do. Switching boxes. PII and mobo (with SD RAM). Mini CD player. The list goes on. I really should clear this crap out....

  68. Bad Beaver


    Yeah well, stuff adds up… and up… the trick is to sell it in time.

    Unless it has good memories attached, like my big box of Apple Newton Stuff, complete with two MP2100s, ultra fancy protective leather gear, more cables and adaptors than you can shake a stick at and software that came on PCMCIA. The cool thing is that I can just put batteries in the Newtons and they work like the day I left them, only the buffer that runs the clock will have run out.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great call on the hard drive platters

    I have a stack of them here used for the exact same purpose, largely reclaimed from dead SCSI drives. They acquire a lovely patina after a few goes through the dishwasher

  70. Chris 171

    WEEE Sequestration?

    Is effectively what we hoarders are doing from where I'm sitting.

    Surely we can get a grant from the EU or similar for this planet saving service we provide?

  71. Radelix

    I had this issue as well

    But my solution, much to my chagrin, was to limit myself to one box small box for my computer detritus. I moved into an apartment with my girlfriend which has some limited storage options. Funny enough she of course did not get rid of nearly the amount of stuff I did. It would appear that I had held onto every computer, router, switch, and associated cable I had procured over the last decade. I drive a pickup truck and it filled the bed taking this stuff to the recycler sans hard drives of course. Now I am down to:

    1 desktop

    1 netbook

    1 HP laptop (read: desktop replacement with built in battery backup)

    1 spare body for said HP laptop

    1 media PC

    assorted android phones

    1 very tightly packed rubbermaid container holding my cables, mounting hardware for the desktop, 10 pack of floppy disks, various backup CD-ROMs, and a spare router and ethernet cables.

  72. Richard Plinston

    My excuse

    My excuse is that I remember the last years of rationing and of sitting in the chairs at Selfridges while the assistant patted up a block of butter from the barrel.

    In those days nothing was ever thrown away because you never knew if you would get another.

  73. Steven Gray

    A few bits

    An Epson PX-8

    A dead Apple MessagePad (original)

    A Palm Tungsten T3

    The Atari Portfolio I'm using to type this post.

    (That last one was part truth, part lie)

    Christ. A 48k Spectrum w/twin microdrives, a Sinclair QL, an Apple PowerBook 175. A Thomson TiVo. A Panasonic A1 VHS camera and full size portable VHS deck (all working). A Hoover Constellation (not strictly a computer).

    Oh and a Cyrix MII 333GP processor which inexplicably lives in the middle drawer of our sideboard.

  74. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Hey, man, WTF... want to tell me just when you sneaked into my studio and took a picture of my cable crate? It's got power cords and bricks from every computer I've ever owned going back to my Mac Plus, not to mention half a dozen SCSI cables from every SCSI device I've ever owned, several coiled lengths of modular phone extension cables, Cat 5 cables, speaker cables, RCA audio patch cables, four or five 75ohm TV antenna cables, and those little funky microphones I got with my old Mac IIsi, my old PowerMac 7500 and my old G3, plus a little plastic box containing about half a dozen different kinds of audio plug adapters.

    This may sound silly, but if that old Walkman still works OK, I'd hang onto it. I had a Sony AM/FM handheld cassette recorder that just recently died at the rip old age of six, and it came in really handy when the power died during the more severe summer thunderstorms around here -- especially for checking the radio for weather news during the outage, and for pulling an old mixtape off the pile to listen to while waiting for the power to come back. I'm going to be hard-pressed to replace it, even though I can still find blank cassettes.

    I still have my old G3 in my studio, still hooked up. I'd originally planned to donate it after I bought my G4, but decided I'd wait until the scanner died -- except that the scanner didn't get the memo, and continues to run. It was easy enough to find SCSI-to-USB adapter hardware, but when I went to Microtek's Web site to find updated OSX scanner drivers, guess which model they didn't have an OSX driver for. So, whenever I need to scan something, I fire up the G3, scan what I need to scan, drag it onto my main work machine over the studio net, and then shut it down.

    I still have a VHS deck in the studio, in perfect working order. I have a fair-sized DVD collection, mostly stuff I've ripped from VHS, which I watch on the DVD drive in my iBook, but most of my stuff is still on VHS (my project of ripping the "keepers" seems eternally back-burnered).

    I still have my dual-deck 3-head cassette deck, also still in perfect working order; my ongoing project of ripping old radio shows and other audio ephemera has gone much better.

    I still have my FireWire Zip drive that I bought along with my G4, as I'm still able to find blank 750mb cartridges for it. I test it out every so often, and it's still working fine.

    The old '72 Kenwood receiver amp which I bought from a friend of mine shortly after finishing college -- he wasn't the first owner, either -- is still in the basement after having been replaced a couple of years ago because it still works, goddammit. It stayed powered up for over thirty years from the time I bought it, and it was still working when I unhooked it for the last time.

    On the upside, my old IIsi and old Mac Plus were donated long ago, though lately I'm wishing I held onto the old Plus. It was a late '86, back when the cases still had the signatures of the development team etched into the inside surface of the case. The old 20mb SCSI drive I used with the Plus and IIsi are also long gone, as is the old SyQuest drive, all working when I donated them. The only old gear I trashed was gear that had flat-out died -- the old SCSI CD burner, the old PowerMac 7500, the old Sony WMD6 "Walkman Pro" I used to tape concerts on.

    Sure is nice to see I'm not the only one. Now, it you were hanging on to old gear that didn't work any more, I'd say you had a problem.

  75. Barry Rueger

    Craigslist / Freecycle

    OK, I'm coming in very late, but what's with "throw it away?"

    Anything remotely of use that I don't need gets posted to either our local Freecycle e-mail list, or the Craigslist "Free" section. I've yet to find anything that won't disappear within an hour.

  76. Esskay

    They're great for sticking on the oil filter on your car to keep any metal shavings in there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What are?

      I'm guessing you were talking about magnets...

      Doesn't help of course if you have a petrol engine with an aluminium block...

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous today because I have a real hoarding problem. Yes, that bad, not just computers. Living alone and having a house contribute to it. I'm sure if I were still living with someone, it would not have developed.

    So don't worry too much about that spare room, or the garage. If the rest of the house is okay, you're okay. And say a silent thanks for she who must be obeyed, if you have one.

  78. Herby

    It happens ALL the time.

    In my case it was an old automobile battery charger that I had in the garage. My wife had a fit of rage wanted to throw out the old rusty device (which it really was) because it was "old". Thankfully I prevailed and it was kept. Fast forward a couple of years when she left the door ajar on HER car, and couldn't start it. I immediately rise to the occasion and trot out my trusty battery charger and rescue the situation. Follow that by a BUNCH of gloating and the subject has not been brought up again.

    Now my computer stuff is in the same area. Just this last weekend I picked up two perfectly working computer monitors form the neighbor across the street. One of which I'm using right now, replacing a nice bulky 20 inch CRT monitor (which also was picked for free about 3 years ago).

    Life goes on!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A house with two hoarders

    We need a photo competition! - there, said it. All the junk written below you can safely ignore. Ah, you did, good.


    Like our article writer, I acquire stupid amounts of computer related parts - alas, my fiancée is also a hoarder. She collects what can only be described as 'tat'. The discovery of freecycle, which I had hoped would assist in her dumping some of the junk she collects has only made matters worse.

    I returned home recently, only to find she'd got three bin liners full of old comics delivered. To my amazement, there were a few hundred ancient 2000AD comics amongst this. Unfortunately, they were all dog-eared and non-sequential.

    My own collection of electrical junk isn't nearly as bad as it could've been.

    I moved back to Blightly seven years ago. Before I left, I sold / gave away / dumped 5 computers and the equivalent of 4 bin liners full of cables, switches, adapters, fans, PSU parts etc.

    After 7 years back home, I've got 4 computers and 2 bin liners full of associated crap.

    I also keep all the boxes of every tech item I purchase - for eBay purposes you understand!

    How does it happen?

    Well, the office had a clear out the other day and were dumping a lot of old kit. In my infinite wisdom, I decided I'd snag one of the old Dells (Intel core 2 duo), as the case was better than my upstairs rigs case.

    It's still sitting in the corner of the office. Dell have non-standard cases - the motherboard sits the other way around = useless as a case. But I *may* just use it as erm, a media PC or a firewall - Yeah! - I mean, it's not as if my electrical bill isn't already sky high. Low powered, small form factor PC's - PAH! - I laugh in your face! (not)

    I've considered eBaying a lot of this junk, but I've worked out that the effort of flinging it onto eBay and shipping it out vs. the cash I'd get back = less than minimum wage. I could spend the same amount of time earning 10x that building a website for someone.

    See, this article has got me all fired up - We need a photo competition!

  80. eJ2095

    God not the TIP

    Should donate to computer museum at bletchly park

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What the hell

    Does one do with a box containing about 50 floppy drives, including some 5 1/4" ones.

    Weighs a ton, some of those drives have enormous 0.17 deg/step motors.

    And, yes I also have dead BBC micros, old antique boards which last saw electricity in 1992, and enough cables to probably circle the Moon half a dozen times.

    Also add to that the flat panels kept "just in case"where the power boards are cooked, so far only one has ever actually fit another monitor with a cracked screen.


    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What the hell

      >Does one do with a box containing about 50 floppy drives, including some 5 1/4" ones.

      Label them "Top Secret" and leave them in a bar in Soho

  82. Will 19


    I spent last weekend re-arranging the 50 BBC Micros and masters I have in the loft. I just can't help it, if I see one at the tip I've got to liberate it, my head thinks "hey that's £300-400 worth there".... d'oh!

  83. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I'm 62 years old, you know...

    ...and I've spent all my life in computing.

    I have a garage, loft and 22ft garden shed full of old computing equipment. The older stuff is all ICL mainframe stuff - 1900s and 2900s. An old electronic punch card system. Early CP/M machines, Amigas, Beebs and a full run of IBMs and clones. Wiring nests measured in cubic yards. I have some 8086 laptops (one with a 10Mb hard drive!), as well as several early text processors. Large numbers of Winchersters. Not too many 8" floppies, but a lot of 5.25" and hundreds of 3.5".

    Looking at ebay, I thought that everyone had this.

    Icon not necessarily for Windows, but more for the age....

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    House Yoga

    If you can get from one side of the room to the other without long steps, careful balance and stretches you're not really hoarding.

    I have a Dowty Mayze 96 modem here, sort of mental anchor.

    When I think of the design, planning, manufacture and probable self congratulatory smile of the engineers when they first tested this 9600bps beast it's quite grounding.

    Thanks for the item and comments people (dabs eye).

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Signs of great portent

    I think I knew it had all gone too far when, in the course of a minor reorganisation, I found I had more new, unused SCSI cards than I had pairs of socks. And I have a lot of socks.

  86. Dave Lawton

    Loft, Spare Bedroom, Garage

    Can you tell I don't have anyone nagging ?

    Some highlights,

    Speccy + Microdrive, QL, C64 + 1541, various Acorn kit from Beebs through Arcs to RiscPC.

    Lots of other stuff, too numerous to mention, or even count, including boxes & boxes of cables.

    Dell RDRAM box, still in use for MythTV

    Rockwell AIM65

    Nascom 1 SBC

    6809/6802 eurocard development rack mounted system

    The above three still all working when last checked a year since.

    Amiga 1200, still boxed, because it didn't work, probably because it never had had any RAM soldered to the board.

    Beer, because it's time I had one, though it'll be somewhat stronger. :)

    1. Dave Lawton

      Re: Loft, Spare Bedroom, Garage

      Oh, yes, found under a cabinet in the house, when a friend called with a laptop with a suspect busted PSU, a luggable with built-in PSU running DOS 3.3, which after waiting 15 minutes for it to finish booting, still worked. It must be all of 20 years old.

  87. jon 72

    Got to be worth a photo competition

    The kudos of aging kit finding a home in a museum or a free skip/dumpster for those in dire need..

    Not to mention the pure viewing pleasure of mocking some poor fool who has a box of centronics printer leads

    Oh wait that's me..

  88. Anonymous Coward

    Possibly the most wasteful thing

    I ordered a phone battery charger off ebay (for £3.99 including postage and UK plug adaptor) and after a few weeks it arrived from China. So I opened up the the parcel, threw away the bumph, realised it was the wrong charger and dumped everything in the bin.

  89. C. P. Cosgrove
    IT Angle

    It's an old familiar story

    As several commentards above have said, it's the day or two days after you made that trip to the dump a friend or relative says have you got such and such ? And that's why we 'hoarders' hang onto all this crap !

    Chris Cosgrove

  90. Alza Muzeum

    Do not throw ancient hardware away!

    Try to donate it to the technology museums / collectors first. Your "garbage" might be actually of great value for someone. If you do not know any collectors in your area, consider donating to our Alza Computer Technology Museum. If you wish to donate, contact me at muzeum[at] Thank you!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do not throw ancient hardware away!

      Don't know any computer museums round here. If it isn't an old Titanic relic, mummy or train they aren't interested.

      All they have is a Mega Drive gathering dust as you walk in the door, as a representation of "modern" toys.

  91. virhunter

    My hoard

    Every version of Windows from 95 to XP (a couple copies of each, including the 15 or so floppies for 95)

    An Ericsson phone (not sure what exact model, but it looks like a blue-grey TV zapper) from 1999

    A couple different basic LG flip phones from 2000-2005

    A Nokia E71

    A Nokia 6085

    Two Motorola RAZR's (one of which works)

    4 Laptops (HP Pavilion, Dell Latitude, iBook G3, IBM Thinkpad 380)

    7 desktops from 1998-2005 (three of which work and only one of them doesn't have some odd casing that is impossible to put back together)

    A tangled mess of wires, some of which have connectors I have never seen before

    3 Iomega Zip drives, one of which uses a serial connection

    Countless Zip disks, a few of which make the "click of death" noise

    3 keyboards (all PS/2)

    5 mice (3 PS/2, 2 USB)

    3 CD or DVD drives

    1 5.25" floppy drive (no disks for it)

    2 video cards

    Several memory chips, ranging in sizes from 8 to 256 megabytes

    This is just what I don't use, and it is not all of it. In addition to being a hoarder, people dump stuff on me when someone gets laid off or quits and leaves stuff. My family is guilty of dumping stuff on me too. They think must think "he's the IT guy, he'll be happier than a pig in shit to get these hundred odd zip disks and an old eMachines from 1998".

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: My hoard


      Windows 1.03 on 5.25" floppies...

      OS/2 1.3 (together with Lan Manager 2.2. Probably not that uncommon package back in the 90s?)

      Want some '9chip' 256KB SIMs? Or the box of 1Meg 100nS SIMs tested to work in Olivetti M380 desktops?

      (Yes, I have the dip-switch configuration sheet needed. )

      How can you get a 'click of death' in a Zip disk? I thought it was only the drive that got that fault?

      Want a couple of 'Bus mouse' rodents for your collection?

      (Came from the Olivetti M380 machines at the office)

      I kept a shopping-bag full of them because the plug at he end is the same as Psion used on the serial port on the MC400 laptop and later the Soap-on-a-rope serial adapter for the S3/S3a and the docking cradle for the Workabout.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My hoard

      Thinkpad 380s just don't die.

      Mine sits in the cupboard, ready for the day when I want to run some old games. Alongside the Toshiba T2130 from when they were built properly too.

  92. Phil Endecott

    Amongst other junk, I have a box of *European* IEC mains leads.

    I was going to throw then out, but then the Tories got elected and I decided they would be hendy if I decided to emigrate.

  93. RichyS

    This isn't hoarding...

    ... It's just a business continuity plan. In the event of the apocalypse!

  94. MJI Silver badge

    I am going to suggest

    Reballing the YLOD PS3

    Then it should work

  95. The Alpha Klutz

    I finally managed to throw away my 56k modems

    most of them

  96. Hardcastle the ancient

    I win

    I still have a telex to RS232 adaptor

  97. Vic

    As all the hoarders are gathered here...

    ... I'm looking for an ELF II.

    Anyone got one they'd be prepared to part with?


  98. Tony W

    MS says you need to keep it

    I have archive files made with Microsoft's backup software on Windows 98. No program available for later versions if Windows (at any reasonable price anyway) will read these files. Microsoft's recommended solution is, believe it or not, to keep a PC running Windows 98.

  99. irrelevant


    Oh I'm definitely a hoarder...

    I had to empty the attic a while back, so that the joists can be checked. The spare room now has ~40 cardboard boxes, ~20 plastic crates, and god knows how much loose stuff piled up in it. And that's just the stuff that had made it to the attic. Lots of viewdata kit, BBC Micros, and other Acorn related stuff, but plenty of DIY bits too - everything from light switches to an electric shower...

    But it works, too... It seems that I'm now the leading expert on Prestel, ( with a more comprehensive collection of documentation and items than anybody else, mostly stuff I've just not thrown away over the last 30 years! All I need to find now is the server-side stuff and I'll be happy.

  100. Mr_Pitiful

    I've just decided I've got too much junk

    Oh my, what have I got?

    We are lucky that the place we live in has a few dry out buildings, one of which has a walk in freezer - unused.

    All the buildings are full floor to ceiling with boxes of old IT kit, towers, routers, drives of all sorts.

    Loads of old CRT monitors and working LCD screens.

    About 20 plastic boxes of cable, no idea whats in them.

    My office is pretty clear, though, on 25 assorted hard drives and a few DVD drives.

    All needs to be got rid off, but I will shed a tear, if I have to dump it!

    Nuke, in case it all ens up landfill!

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Anyone desire several 1KV, multiple KW single phase transformers? (50Kg each, happy to sell for copper scrap price)... or tube oscilloscopes still operational... or logic analyzers from truly vintage (oscope plugin) to merely obsolete (early IC tech)... I've even got an old Heath IO-10 though no longer functioning as ti was left out in an unconditioned shed. And many tons of other stuff, although I've been scrapping stuff with determination, the pile is only 1/2 what it was. The price of copper is quite attractive you know.

    Plus the usual newer dross, Warp PCs, PC-DOS and up PCs (down to 8088 vintage, up to 4 core)... no SSD though... yet... HD15 monitors from 43Hz interlaced to 28" LCD, but I'm tossing the old glass monsters soonest before the plumbum police tighten the RoHS cordon (plus a few left of the old style TV monitors, but the lead, the lead is a problem, so they are going soonest).

    Oh, and finally, some old pico-ammeter kit from keithley, complete with CADMIUM SOLDER in little hanks so you can use your soldering iron (hint: use a clean tip so as not to lead contaminate the joints) to fix the unit. And probably poison yourself at the same time never mind turning your home or apartment into a toxic waste site.

  102. Rob Davis

    Help is at hand: IT recycling, charities, museums and scanners

    I've been throwing out stuff for the last few years and feel all the better for it. I don't worry about hoarding something "that might become valuable". Apart from a few sourvenirs of travels, concerts, family and loved ones photos, most things I am disposing of in the following ways, see below. Life is about experiences not things.

    IT recycling charity: Jamie's Computers:

    - Proceeds from re-sale, salvage of materials goes to homeless (they are part of St James charity)

    - they take anything IT or electronics: working/broke - from consumers/households for free - if delivered to them during their opening hours

    - If it works they may sell it in their ebay store:

    - If it doesn't they will dispose of it following WEEE guidelines or (I believe) sell to scrap dealers (rare earth materials)

    Sell or give to friends/family the stuff that is still useful, still works, but not any use to you anymore

    - I've done this a few times

    Computer Museum:

    - Took my Acorn RISC PC (I DHLed it from Staples for 25 quid out of my own pocket - I'd rather do that than just dump it on the local WEEE tip, gone to a good home to give others pleasure). I have a RaspberryPi now - so I will be able to run RISC OS on that.

    IT recycling:

    - they take old floppies and CDs/DVDs: break them down into pellets to be used as low-grade mouldings OR as fuel to heat homes

    Old Documents - scan in with Double-sided auto document feeder (ADF) all-in-one printer/scanner: Epson Stylus Office BX635FWD

    Old film-based (pre-Digital) photos: Major town/city branches of Boots The Chemist on your local high street with a dedicated onsite Photo department and processing service do a great, efficient negative scanning service to CD.

    Games, music, DVDs: Charity shops: British Heart Foundation, OxFam music and book shops etc.

    Finally - some wise words on clutter - The Many Reasons We Rely Upon Our Clutter written by Leo Babauta.

    (I gain no benefit from any of the organisations mentioned, nor work for them - I've simply found them all useful)

    That said, I still have quite a lot of stuff: One MacBookPro, Desktop PC, netbook (all of which I've upgraded in one way or another, I love to rejuvenate, the netbook, a Toshiba NB100 will be getting a Samsung 840 Pro SSD soon - why replace - upgrade!), 2 digital radios, 2 TV/monitors, freeview boxes, CD/DVD/Blu-ray burners, speakers, audio mixing console, synthesizer, digital camera, external drives,ebook reader. But all of these are being used actively - when they cease to be, they will be disposed of in one of the ways I mention.

    I'm enjoying a less cluttered, minimalist-ish flat.

  103. M7S

    As '70's DJs are in the news again, and much of this gear comes from that era

    how about we revive Noel Edmons and Swap Shop.

    Not necessarily, of course, in that order.

    Deal or.....

    Oh Dear Me, sorry everyone

  104. pacmantoo

    no trouble throwing out...

    Vista in a Nutshell (actually it burnt well on the log burner - is that green?)

  105. rhydy


    It's a ruse right? That autograph is Saville? Smileys for the kids, wants every one to know he is loaded hence the dollar and pound sign. Judging by the effort I reckon you were in there :)

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HDD platters = coffee mats

    Full of win. I also have quite an extensive supply of coasters!

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have in my collection:-

    A pile of resistors the likes of which most engineers havent seen unless they are retired.

    Numerous broken PCBs which have components with ancient runes on them, possibly predating the Late Jurassic Era..

    Valves galore, the halfway decent ones got Greedbayed so all that is left is the gassy shite,

    Pile of calculator tapes (!)

    Literally bajillions of gold leaded transistors, $Deity knows what the hell to do with those.

    Even more unidentifiable chips, some so old they have gold lids.

    And yes, the usual pile of assorted RAM chips and pre-Cambian computer hardware.

    What does one do with a box of power supplies sans mains leads anyway?

  108. David Moore

    Me too.

    Right there with you.

    Pretty much every drawer in my flat has old tech related 'stuff' in it.The attic has boxes full of old cables, there's 200m of cat 5 on drums up there, as well as 5 old PC's that are neatly stacked in a corner (one of which is a P166) plus all the original boxes for said gear.

    To make matters worse my mates garage is currently full of the audio gear I collected over 10 years working as a live sound engineer. Anybody need any XLR cables? A 35m multicore perhaps? Maybe a rack full of ancient dbx compressor/limiters?

    I keep meaning to ebay stuff but I wouldn't know where to start.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still haven't got the message.

    While standing in a book shop in Glastonbury I saw and purchased "Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui"

    Only later did I discover another copy under a pile of power supplies.

    Don't think I'll write a review.

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