But it still works…

A few weeks ago, Laralee and I decided that we need to do some serious de-cluttering of our house. Our motto is:

It should either be useful, or joyful.

Stuff that doesn’t meet one of those criteria needs to go. We started with the crawlspace and managed to get rid of a ton of boxes that were neither useful nor joyful. While I was visiting Missouri, Laralee tackled our bookshelves, removing all kinds of books that she knew she’d never read again, or that she had electronically on her tablet, or that were duplicates of others (paperback and hardcover, for example). I told her not to touch any of mine, although the day is coming when I’m going to need to cleanse my bookshelves.

Today I was going to vacuum my office and noticed a pile of computer parts sitting on the floor. They were overflow from the closet, where I keep all kinds of old components… because, you know, you might need them someday, right? I opened the closet, gave a heavy sigh, and decided to start a purge.

How many keyboards does a guy need? I had about twenty, most of which had PS/2 connectors (PS/2 was replaced by USB at least a decade ago). Oh, and one ancient model with clackety keys and a connector I can’t even remember:

That was probably from one of my very first computers, circa 1992. Anyway, I kept one PS/2 model– still brand new in the box, in fact– because someday I might need one. I also kept a couple of newer USB ones, and chucked the rest.

CD-ROM drives were cool… in 1994. I had almost thirty of them. They’re all IDE-cabled, meaning they won’t work in a modern system, and I have a fancy little external USB unit that can read and burn CD’s and DVD’s. Even that I don’t use much, because who uses CD’s these days? So a pile of drives headed to the heap.

A scanner from the late 1990’s that probably weighed ten pounds? Gone. Power supplies for cases I don’t even have… hard drive caddies for IDE drives… speakers that don’t work… 16MB RAM sticks… an Apple mouse from an old PowerPC… all gone.

After heaving quite a bit out of the closet, I admired the pile of stuff.

The sad thing is that much of it still works! The keyboards are fine, the CD-ROM drives spin up, and so on. They’re just from a bygone era of computers that you can’t buy any more (except maybe on eBay from junk dealers). It seems a shame to get rid of perfectly good components. The pile probably represents thousands of dollars of purchases.

But, neither useful nor joyful. Away it goes.