Are you aware Goodwill runs an electronics store called The Grid?

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Where do old laptops go to die? If Goodwill has anything to do with it, they’re donated, wiped clean, refurbished and brought to new life to be sold at steep discounts at The Grid.

The Grid laptops

Donating a laptop can be precarious if you don’t know how to remove all your personal information, which is exactly why I’ve been hoarding my ancient ThinkPad for years. But according to Amel, who was working the store when I stopped in, The Grid adheres to strict procedures to ensure sensitive information is never exchanged. In fact, they’re audited by Dell monthly to ensure machines are wiped clean before they’re sold.

And The Grid doesn’t just recycle computers. They’ve got cameras, televisions, printers, gaming systems, random cords and plugs you may have lost along the way, and even an impressive Raspberry Pi collection.

The Grid Charlotte

Amel said she’s been working in the shop for about a year and loves it, not only because she has a background in tech but also because she believes in Goodwill’s greater mission and workplace readiness programs.

The Grid Charlotte

Products at The Grid aren’t the same brand new versions you’ll find in other stores, but they work and they’re cheap with prices anywhere from 15%-65% lower than retail.

For example, a 2.1 GHz dual core MacBook with 2GB RAM that would have retailed for about $1,000 in its prime (way back in 2008) sells for just $199.99 at The Grid.

The Grid Charlotte

I bought a new Power Rocks Magic Cube 2 9000 charger (originally $89, currently $45 on Amazon) for $24.99.

“This is a really good deal,” Amel said as she packed it up. And it was.

Walking through rows of perfectly good items discarded because something newer and flashier came along was a tangible reminder that maybe just maybe we don’t really need to have that next must-have thing. After all, Goodwill stocks an entire legitimate electronics store with discarded items that were once the must-have thing. Think about that.

If you’re like me and have been hoarding two phones, a camera and a laptop for years because they’re too old to appeal to buyers on eBay but still in perfectly good working condition, pack them up and take them to The Grid.

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Katie Levans
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Co-Founder and Creative Director