5 Gadgets We Should Have Forgotten About

Around this time each year, we start combing through the closet and digging through drawers as we embark upon the tradition of spring cleaning. Often you find things to trash or take to Goodwill, but sometimes you come across an old treasure that, whether or not it still works, you've just got to keep it. Why, in the name of Marie Kondo, would a person maintain a graveyard or museum of their old electronics? For some people, it's straight up nostalgia. For others, it's simply the only cost-effective option.

We asked five R29ers to talk to us about the gadgets they just can't seem to get rid of. Here's what they had to say.
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Julie Bogen, Social Media Editor

What's your gadget?
"An Olympus 8mm video camcorder, VX-806."

When was it purchased?
"1992. My grandma bought it for my parents so that they could film me being born (which feels weird to say), which means we've had it for around 24 years."

What's the story of how you got it?
"I actually ended up with it in January when I asked my dad to get our home videos digitized. He tried to take it to BJ's, but I guess they don't do that there anymore. So he brought it to NYC the most recent time he visited — along with all 200-plus hours of 8mm tapes. I've been on the hunt for somewhere affordable that can get them all on a flash drive."

Why can't you get rid of it?
"It's meaningful for a few reasons. First and foremost: the camera came from my father's mother, who passed away when I was around eight years old. She was such a wonderful, prominent caretaker for my sisters and me when we were kids. I find myself missing her and my grandpa, who passed away a couple of years later, and thinking of them more frequently these days. The camera is one of the only things I have that reminds me of the two of them. Along that same vein, the home videos we took on the camera show a really different life than the one I have now. Not necessarily a better life — there was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes — but at least a blissfully ignorant one. My sisters and I were so young and curious and cute! It brings back a lot of bittersweet feelings and memories."
Advertisement
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Laura Norkin, Copy Chief

What's your gadget?
"Apple iPod, first generation."

When was it purchased?
"This model came out in 2001, but since I know I made some car trips to and from college with a Diskman plugged into my car radio (no, seriously), I think I got it in 2002 — before the next model was released."

What's the story of how you got it?
"I don't remember! I'm almost positive it was a gift from my parents, as I come from a line of devoted Apple, or, dare I say, Macintosh users, who also happen to be music-lovers."

Why can't you get rid of it?
"It's indestructible and a catacomb of nostalgia. I had a newer model iPod which both stopped working and was stolen (sucks for you, thief!), and have moved music over to various iPhones over the years. But whenever I come across this (while rifling through drawers for something else), I lose an hour scrolling through it. Looking at your music collection from a specific moment in the past connects you to what you were doing and feeling back then in such an intense way.

"I turn this on — yes, it still works! — and from 'getting-ready' music, like, uh, Ludacris, to the bands I only knew from working at a bar with live music, and things like The Roots when they were mostly just a Philly group all my hip-hop friends were really into, or Mary J. Blige for belting out in the car, and Dashboard Confessional-like things I'd never admit to anyone, the memories come flooding back as readily as if I'd just dredged up my MySpace from the internet graveyard where it thankfully resides."
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Anna Maltby, Director, Health & Wellness

What's your gadget?
"Sony PRS-T1 Pearl eBook Reader with Wi-Fi (catchy, no?)"

When was it purchased?
"November 2011."

What's the story of how you got it?

"I've always been such a luddite and never wanted an e-reader. My husband tried many times to convince me to let him give me a Kindle or Nook for a birthday or Christmas gift, but I refused. Then, a friend went to an event where the gift bag contained a Sony Reader, and she already had a Kindle, so she asked if I wanted it (for free). I let my curiosity get the best of me and decided to give it a shot, especially because I was in the middle of The Emperor of All Maladies, a beefy 600-page book, and my shoulder was hurting from carrying it in my purse. I ended up loving the reader. I always thought I should probably switch to a Kindle at some point, but I stuck with Sony.

"Almost three years later, Sony announced it was shutting down its e-book store and switching everything to a Canadian company called Kobo. They sent instructions for downloading the books from your reader, which really confused me — could I keep using the reader with Kobo? I couldn't figure it out and got nervous about relying on Kobo (if it was even doable via my quickly-becoming-outdated device) and figured it was time to just switch to a Kindle. The real bummer was that over the years, I'd spent about $600 on Sony e-books, and none of those files can be transferred to a Kindle. "

Why can't you get rid of it?
"Because of the $600 worth of books, basically. I keep my fingers crossed that someday I will be able to transfer those books and read them again. I have the entire Game of Thrones series on that dumb device, sigh."
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Benjamin Wilson, Tech Lead Mobile

What's your gadget?
"iMac G4 15-inch 2002 edition."

When was it purchased?
"I've had this computer (really several versions of it) since 2006."

What's the story of how you got it?
"This one I found at the side of the road with a broken metal arm. I patched it up and kept it on my desk because I love the look of it. It does have utility though!"

Why can't you get rid of it?
"I stream everything through my Apple TV and I don't have a DVD player, so whenever I want to watch something super rare that I can't stream, I'll bust out the DVD and this little dude still plays it without a hitch. To me those late '90s and early '00s products from Apple are the most magical and weird, the G4 Cube is in the MoMA! It's just such a cool computer it deserves a warm home."
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Photography by Corey Olsen.
Elyssa Starkman, Executive Director, Branded Video

What's your gadget?
"iPhone 3G, first generation."

When was it purchased?
"July 2008."

What's the story of how you got it?
"I was obsessed with having every new iPhone the day it was released. I had the first generation iPhone the day it came out — because I paid someone to stand in line for me! When this was released I basically talked my way into getting an upgrade from AT&T, I think I may have even cried."

Why can't you get rid of it?
"As soon as my daughter was old enough to want to play with my phone I gave her this one (because hello, no way I was gonna let a baby touch my actual phone!). One of her first words was "hone" which was what she called this old iPhone. She's six now and still plays with it."

Photography by Corey Olsen.
Advertisement
This month, we're asking you to toss out everything you thought you knew about spring cleaning and give every corner of your life a refresh. The inspiration for a happier, clutter-free you is right this way.

Photography by Corey Olsen; Prop Styling by Dave Bryant; Styling by Alison Mazur; Hair and Makeup by Andreana Yancey.