Old electronics can turn into cash with this advice from Consumer Reports

If you've gotten some new electronics for the holidays, don't just throw your old stuff into a drawer and forget about it.

The tech team at Consumer Reports says yesterday's devices could be worth some cash.

Take Robin Newhouse, for example. She's treating herself to a new laptop. Which means there'll be one more old laptop hiding in her kitchen cabinet. It'll be just above the drawer full of over-the-hill tablets.

"I always feel bad throwing them away, but I don't really know what to do with them," Newhouse says.

There are plenty of online classified services, but if you want simple, ecoATMs are popping up across the country where you can sell mp3 players, tablets and cellphones.

Just plug your device in at the kiosk. It will examine it to determine the storage, the condition and the value on the market. They'll make you an offer

If you agree to sell - voila! - cash on the spot!

"A lot of big electronics companies, when they're putting out their new products, they do a lot to make everything seem exciting and fresh," says Thomas Germain with Consumer Reports. "But your old stuff that you have lying around is still perfectly good - and if it's working, it's a great way to make some extra cash."

Online buyback services such as: Decluttr and Gazelle work in much the same way.

Answering a few quick questions gets you a price. If you're happy you can just print a free shipping label, box up your device and send it off.

And maybe you'll even make enough to pay off some of those holiday bills.

But before you sell any electronics that once had any personal data, Consumer Reports says it's important to protect yourself by logging out of any accounts, including cloud-based storage and disable any apps that track your device, like Find my iPhone.

Then, be sure the device has been completely erased. On a phone, you would perform a factory reset which scrubs it clean.
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