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Give New Life to Old Tech Items

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By Jeff Somogyi, dealnews Media Editor

You know those home magazines that tell you how, instead of throwing something out, you can re-use household items in clever and inventive ways? Well, it's all well and good to turn an old boot into a flower pot, but we're geeks, man! We have a lot of left over tech junk filling our closets. Give us ways to recycle that stuff!

Since we're sick of waiting for someone else to do it, we've put together five "clever" ways to re-use old tech in new and exciting ways:

The Mouse Belt
Most of us have a spare mouse lying around, why not repurpose it into a chic assessory? According to photos we've seen taken in the hipper parts of town (like Williamsburg and downtown Huntsville, Alabama) Big Belt Buckles are all the rage. A giant mouse will have you blending right in with the cooler elements of society. Even better, it's so easy to do. Just thread the USB (PS/2?) end of the cord through your belt loops and tie it off in the front. Swanky! (But what if you only have wireless mice? Two words: Wireless Belt! ULTRA SWANKY!)

Get Your Weave On With VHS Tapes
Your closet is probably jammed with old VHS tapes ... and you don't even have a VCR anymore! Why not rip out the tape from all those graduation videos, dance recitals, and kindergarten plays and turn those past memories into future ones?! Once you've unwound them, start weaving! At first, you might find it difficult to work with, but perseverance is the key. Once you get the hang of it, you can start crafting baskets, a shopping bag, or even clothing (see: Ke$ha, left) from the unspooled stuff. Since the magnetic stips are plastic, your baskets will be waterproof and your clothes will be nice and warm in the winter, as they keep all of your body heat in!

The CRT Door Stop
A new flat-screen monitor is great, but what do you do with the old CRT behemoth? Just plop it in front of any door, and you can be sure that it won't mysteriously swing shut on you anymore. (No matter how hard the ghosts pull!) And those things are so dang heavy, you'll be able to use it to hold open even the heaviest of fire doors. We don't actually endorse this last usage though, as CRTs are huge and might prove to be an obstacle if you ever do need to evacuate your building. But other than that: Convenient!

Old Internal DVD ROM Drive Planter
You know what's hard to find? Hanging planters! (Unless you go to Lowe's or Home Depot or anywhere other than your overflowing obsolete tech closet ... which is where we shop.) Our handy solution is this: Use an old internal DVD burner drive, instead! On the front, you'll see a tiny hole. Push an unfolded paperclip in there and the door will pop open. Next, extend the door as far out as it'll go. To mount it, simply use a reciprocating jigsaw to cut a 5-3/4" x 2" rectangle in your wall (careful not to accidentally cut through a stud or your gas line!) Cram the drive into that hole, leaving the drive tray exposed. It creates the perfect little shelf for a small potted plant. The best part? It's retractable, so when the plant dies, you just close the drawer!

Hard Drive Storage Shed
Given enough time, disused 3.5" hard drives tend to pile up. Constructively rearrange the pile, and you could easily have yourself a storage shed — in which to store more unused electronics, natch! Tap into your inner child and start stacking them like LEGOs, and before you know it, you'll have a 10-foot x 10-foot room, with 8-foot-high ceilings. And you'll only need ... 8,448 hard drives to accomplish this. (And yes, we did the math.)

See? There are tons of things you can do with leftover, throw-away tech! The only limit is your imagination! (Our imagination tapped out after just five ideas, and, frankly, some of those were even a bit weak, we admit!) Worst case scenario? Glue your garbage onto a board and hang it on the wall. Call it "art" and call it a day!


Jeff Somogyi is the dealnews Media Editor. He loves D.I.Y., but is always afraid the cops are going to catch him. Read more about his problems with acronyms on Twitter or read his blog.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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1 comment
wonderbrett
Pure gold.
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