by Brandon Butler
The Cost of a Box of Cords 1/13/2020

This article by Katherine Bindley from The Wall Street Journal makes the minimalist in me sad:

For as long as consumer electronics have existed, people have had a hard time ditching the old cords to expired and outdated devices. The TV sets, computers, printers, camcorders, VCRs, DVD players, MiniDisc players, BlackBerrys and iPods that the cords belonged to may not even be in their owner’s possession.

But the cords survive, squirreled away in drawers and bags and boxes. They might be useful someday, people tell themselves, even if some cords’ purposes are lost to history.

The story is called “Admit It: You Have a Box of Cords You’ll Never, Ever Use Again” (Paywall Linktry this Siri shortcut) but I don’t have a box of cables. I recycled my iPod 30-pin cables as soon as I bought my iPhone 5. I have one Lightning cable that my iPhone and AirPods share; when a new Lightning cable arrives with a new device, it is promptly recycled. (And it would be nice if device manufactures could start asking if we need a new cable with our new thing, and offer us an option to just take the device sans-cables.) I have one HDMI cable that my MacBook, Switch, and PS4 share when connected to the TV. Many cables are shared, because devices don’t need to all be plugged in all the time.

There are real costs to storing this kind of junk, too, that the article doesn’t get into: The cost of moving it; the mentality that you need a bigger home/apartment for all your junk, so you buy a bigger space than you need; paying for additional storage space; and the mental cost of having this clutter. Also: we’re facing a global crisis now, and people have extra rooms in their homes that are simply storing boxes of junk. When we run the heater and AC, we’re paying a very real cost to heat and cool this junk in larger-than-necessary homes. We can’t afford to continue living with boxes of junk.