Nov. 29, 2012 at 3:36 PM ET
Millions of Americans are holding onto three or more unused cellphones, suggests a study commissioned by mobile security firm Lookout. Are you one of these cellphone hoarders?
Cellphones see relatively frequent turnover compared to more expensive items like laptops and cars. They're replaced about every year and a half on average, says Lookout's research. So it's no surprise that there would be a few lying around in drawers and boxes.
But the survey of 1,000 people, conducted via Google, showed there were plenty of people who had more than just their old iPhone or flip-phone sitting unused. In fact, 20 percent of respondents had three or more phones gathering dust in their households. (A second survey conducted in the UK produced similar results.)
Surprisingly, not knowing what to do with such old devices didn't seem to be a major factor in keeping them around. Two-thirds of respondents felt they knew what to do. And 83 percent had already wiped the phones of personal data.
There are, after all, good reasons to keep an old phone around. If your current one is lost, damaged, or stolen, it's cheap and easy to get a replacement SIM card and pick up where you left off with your old iPhone 3G or flip-phone. But what are the chances you'll get your phone stolen three times in a week? As with newspapers, or cats, or action figures, at some point it stops being a collection and becomes a hoard.
If you have an extra phone or two, consider donating it to one of the many phone-recycling charities, or if it's a recent model, selling it online through a site like Gazelle or Best Buy. You might not get a lot of money for your two-year-old Blackberry, but $60 is better than a device you'll never use taking up space in the closet.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.