Digital Declutter Challenge #3: When Did You Buy It?

The Digital Decluttter. electronics have a relatively short lifespan

Today we tackle the third task in the Get Organized! Digital Declutter Challenge.

Many people have multiple electronic devices, and it is easy to lose track of how old each item is. Even with good care, electronics have a relatively short lifespan. For perspective, take a look at this chart published in 2014 by the Consumer Technology Association showing the average life span of common devices:


If you are skeptical that a cell phone’s life averages only a little over 4 years, take a look at this one. It isn’t even 20 years old and it looks like something out of a movie. I remember having a phone like this that I kept in a bag in the trunk of my car for emergencies.

Image by projectmgmt from Pixabay

Of course, you may be fortunate and have devices that last longer than the average, but it is helpful to keep an eye on how old your electronics are so you can anticipate (and budget for) replacing them. In addition, as computers, tablets and phones near the end of their “average” life, it is critical to make sure that you are regularly backing up all important information.

Today’s task is to make a record of the purchase date for all of your devices. You can do this two ways:

Method #1 – Label the Devices

Simply place a small piece of masking tape or a sticker on the bottom or back of each device and use a permanent marker to record the month and year when the device was newly purchased.

Method #2 – Create a Master Record

Create a spreadsheet on your computer or a chart on paper where you list each device you own, and then note the month and date when each was newly purchased.

If you wish, you can use both methods. As with the cord project from yesterday,  focus only on devices you are currently using. Take the time you need to dig through your records so you can date each active device.

From this point forward, be sure to include each new addition to your system.


Noting the date of your devices is a great habit to develop. Did you find this task difficult? Were you surprised to realize how old some of your devices actually are?

11 thoughts on “Digital Declutter Challenge #3: When Did You Buy It?”

  1. Even though I have an idea when I did purchase certain electronic devices here, I still can easily forget. So, labeling and keeping record sounds like a wonderful idea. I might have to go through some of my more expensive and bigger devices and do just that now. Thanks Seana for the encouragement 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Confessions Top 10 Books of 2016My Profile

    1. I tend to think my devices are newer than they are, and was surprised to see how old some of them actually are. Better to be aware that something is old and be thinking about saving for its replacement than be surprised when something breaks. We rely so heavily on phones and the like that having one break can be a real issue.

  2. I’m up to date on everything, especially since my computer crashed two weeks ago and I had to get a new one! Sorry it has taken me so long to get back over here to leave a comment—-I was completely swallowed up by the holidays!!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your computer crashing… it really does throw us for a loop. Coming over the holidays adds an extra burden. Who wants to replace a computer in the midst of holiday spending, right? Hope you are set for a long while now!

    1. That was a smart way to figure out how old your computer is. You still have some life in that one, but it is good to at least be aware. I feel the same way about my phone, but they just “age out” so quickly. If it were up to me, I’d still be using my first phone because I don’t enjoy adjusting to a new system.

  3. I love this easy way to decide what to do with electronics. We are fortunate that in the community I live in there is electronic recycling once a month. If it’s older than 5 years, it’s ready to recycle!

    1. Having handy recycling for electronics is a wonderful thing! So often we just stick them in a basement or attic and they accumulate. We will be dealing with those physical items later in the challenge!

  4. Love the idea of labeling devices with the purchase date. I do that with my spices and it’s surprising how much older items are than I thought. I only wish that my cell phones lasted 4 years. Only my first phone 15 years ago lasted 4 years or longer. Since then, I’m lucky to get 2 1/2 years. And that really bugs me. But that’s an entire other discussion.
    Susan recently posted…Day 6 Purging Tips – Kitchen AppliancesMy Profile

  5. Pingback: Digital Declutter Wrap-up | The Seana Method

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.