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

The Digital Decluttter

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.


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?

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