Over the next few weeks, millions of Americans who own the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are likely to abandon their phones for the growth-spurted iPhone 5. And when they get their new iPhone 5, those same millions of Americans will face an eternal dilemma, a puzzle for the ages: What, oh what, are you supposed to do with your old iPhone?

You have, as I see it, a few options. You could let it crust and deteriorate in your discarded electronics drawer, along with your Walkman and Yak Bak and Talkboy. You could hot glue it onto your wall and show it off as modern art, a commentary on the decompositional nature of time. You could attempt to answer the age-old question: Will it blend?

Or you could save your iPhone (and the blades on your blender) by taking care of your old iPhone the smartest way -- a way that, you might be surprised to learn, could earn you enough money to defray much of the cost of the iPhone 5. If I were one of the Hypothetical Millions of Americans making the switch, I know exactly what I would do with my old iPhone, and it doesn't involve the Found Art concepts of Marcel Duchamp, nor my blender.

Here's my guide to getting rid of your current iPhone for the iPhone 5 (or any other phone!): Step-by-step, day-by-day, from the time you decide to sell it, to the moment you kiss the phone goodbye.

TRADE IT IN ONLINE -- THE EASY WAY!

There is an entire galaxy of gadget trade-in websites on the Internet; the best of them will fetch you a good chunk of guaranteed money in return for your iPhone. For an iPhone 4S with 16GB of memory -- a device that cost $199 on contract at AT&T, Verizon and Sprint when it came out last year-- Gazelle.com will give you $250; NextWorth.com will give you $260; and Glyde.com will give you $269 through its Speed Sale section. Even though you only paid $200 for your iPhone, that price was lowered because you also locked yourself into a two-year contract; had you bought the phone without a contract, the phone would have been much more expensive ($649, to be exact).

Thus, Gazelle, NextWorth and Glyde can give you about $250 for your phone, and then find a buyer who will still pay, say, $480 for one. They are more than happy to pay you under $300 for your old iPhone, an amount of cash that still represents to you, as the rapper Pusha T might put it, "heel money" and/or "bill money."

The three services above work the same way: You enter in a little information about your phone -- the carrier, how much memory it holds, the condition of the screen -- and the website spits out an offer. If you accept the offer, you then print out a mailing label (postage paid by the website) and ship your old phone to the service's central address. If your iPhone is determined to be in the condition you've claimed it to be in, you'll receive a check in the mail (or in your PayPal account) in a week or so.

It sounds too good to be true, the Internet version of those "WE BUY YOUR GOLD" commercials. But I've used both Gazelle and NextWorth and found that on both services, the process was painless and the heel/bill money you are promised does, indeed, arrive on time. For those who don't want to spend too much time fishing for buyers on Amazon or eBay, Gazelle, NextWorth and Glyde are well-paying, easy-to-use alternatives.

KEEP YOUR PHONE AROUND

Step one, then, is to take three minutes and check how much money each website can offer and choose the one with the highest amount. BUT: Once you accept, don't start packing up your old iPhone just yet! All three services offer a "price lock," which means you can lock in your price and wait for a certain amount of time before you actually mail in your gadget. For Glyde, it's seven days; for NextWorth, it's 21 days; for Gazelle, it's a very generous 30 days.

These grace periods are helpful and are another advantage over eBay or Amazon: It means that you don't have to part with your phone until the moment you actually get a new one. You need not go without a cellphone, and you can make sure that your data has successfully transferred from the old phone to the new. Speaking of which...

BUY THAT NEW IPHONE

At a store, online, at a flea market, from Bob Sacamano, wherever.

PREPARE YOUR OLD PHONE FOR ITS JOURNEY THROUGH THE MAIL SYSTEM

Once you possess the iPhone 5 (FINALLY!), you'll want to set it up with all of the data from your old phone. MacWorld has an excellent primer, and I definitely recommend backing up to your computer in addition to iCloud.

This is about your old iPhone, however -- the one you were about to blend, remember? -- so let's stay focused on it for now. Once you've got your new iPhone set up (contacts transferred, email set up, Stocks app hidden as far back as it can go) it's time to ready your old iPhone to be traded in.

Presumably, you've taken the SIM card out of the old iPhone and put it in the new one to transfer your phone numbers. If not, you're going to want to take the SIM out before you mail in your old iPhone. (Anthony Scarsella, the chief gadget officer at Gazelle, told me that Gazelle has a machine that mass-destroys old SIM cards, crushing them into nothingness, which we'd love to see, but still: You don't want someone getting their hands on your old SIM). With the SIM gone -- and when you are absolutely certain you've got everything backed up on your computer and/or in iCloud -- you are ready to format your phone, erasing everything in the memory so that it's ready to ship. You can do this either in iTunes, by clicking on the "Restore" button under "Version" on the main screen, or you can do it on your iPhone itself, by going to Settings-->General-->Reset-->Erase All Content and Settings. (Glyde has a helpful visual guide).

This is the equivalent of hitting the big red button: It will return your iPhone to "Factory State," meaning that absolutely none of your data will remain on the device. It will be like new, and ready to ship off.

SUCH SWEET SORROW

So: Remove your old iPhone from its case, and take off the screen protector. Carefully swath it in bubble wrap, place it in an envelope, and hot glue the shipping label from Gazelle or NextWorth to the front of your package. Walk up your driveway and place the package in the mailbox. And when the mailman comes in the afternoon, try not to shed a tear: You've got a taller, skinnier, smarter model in its place -- and what's more, you didn't totally destroy your blender.

Flickr photo by 21TonGiant.

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  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers wait on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • US-IT-APPLE IPHONE 5

    Hazem Sayed exits the Apple store on Fifth Avenue after purchasing his new iPhone 5 on September 21, 2012 in New York. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores around the world on Friday, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers wait on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 as other people walk past the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers take photos while waiting on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers wait on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Nurse Angelie Mok waits on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Branden Busby poses with his new Apple iPhone 5 inside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Consumers wait in line outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store for the imminent release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Greg Packer, 49, celebrates as he enters the Fifth Avenue Apple store for the release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • A consumer captures the celebration on his Apple products as he enters the Fifth Avenue Apple store for the release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany. Switzerland's national rail company is accusing Apple Inc. of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPhone and iPad mobile devices. Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand which is red. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)

  • Hazem Sayed, 54, the first in line to purchase the new iPhone 5, holds up his new phone in front of media outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Greg Packer, 49, is cheered on as he celebrates with his newly purchased iPhone 5 in hand outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Hazem Sayed, 54, the first in line to purchase the new iPhone 5, takes pictures outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Britain's Taekwondo Olympic Gold Medallist, Jade Jones, becomes one of the first people in the UK to receive the new iPhone 5 at the O2 store in the Arndale Centre, Manchester.

  • GERMANY-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE-IPHONE

    Customers queue to enter the Apple Store where a giant logo is displayed in the southern German city of Munich on September 21, 2012 as the iPhone 5 goes on sale. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • AUSTRALIA-TECHNOLOGY-APPLE-IPHONE-PROTEST

    Francis Le holds up a placard in his mock food queue outside Apple's flagship store in Sydney on September 20, 2012, in opposition to the queue of people waiting to buy the new iPhone 5 which goes on sale in Australia on September 21. Le is calling for public support to highlight what he calls the madness of endless consumption and to contrast it with desperate people around the corner, and in other corners of the world. Le wants to highlight the disparity between those who wait overnight for unnecessary phone upgrades and those who wait for food, water and safety.” AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple store staff (in blue) give out free drinks and chocolate to Apple fans queuing on the pavement for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple store staff (R-in blue) give out free drinks and chocolate to Apple fans queuing on the pavement for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple fans wait for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple fans queue along the pavement to wait for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012, while an iPad (R) reads '15 hours more for iPhone 5'. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • HONG KONG-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    A man (C) resells an iPhone 5 he just bought outside the Hong Kong Apple store on September 21, 2012. A gray market for the new iPhone sprang up on the doorstep of the Apple store in Hong Kong, where resellers offered more than 50 percent above the retail price. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple Store employees cheer as customers are allowed into the shop to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale In Germany

    BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 21: A young woman walks out of a shop advertising the new Apple iPhone 5 on the first day the smartphone went on sale on September 21, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Apple is reporting over 2 million pre-order for its new phone, which went on sale globally today. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Apple employees cheer at the crowd as the first in line enter into the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, leaves the Apple store in Covent Garden after being the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, is cheered by Apple employees as he is let into the Apple store in Covent Garden to be the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple Store employees cheer as customers are allowed into the shop to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People queue outside the Apple Store to buy the iPhone 5 at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People queue outside the Apple Store to buy the iPhone 5 at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • GERMANY-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE-IPHONE

    Customers queue to enter the Apple Store where a giant logo is displayed in the southern German city of Munich on September 21, 2012 as the iPhone 5 goes on sale. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People are served free coffee while waiting in a nearby park while queueing for the Apple Store to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone on the day of its release at Regents Street in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Apple workers count money as a customer buys the new iPhone 5 at the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers enter the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers enter the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Apple staff outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers enter the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • FRANCE-US-APPLE-IPHONE

    A customer (L) holds euro banknotes to purchase an Apple's new iPhone 5 smartphone beside an employee in an Apple store, on September 21, 2012 in Paris. The iPhone 5 goes on sale on September 21, 2012 in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages)

  • FRANCE-US-APPLE-IPHONE

    An employee holds euro banknotes beside an Apple's new iPhone 5 smartphone at a cash register in an Apple store, on September 21, 2012 in Paris. The iPhone 5 goes on sale on September 21, 2012 in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: People queue outside the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: People queue outside the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Apple employees cheer at the crowd as the first in line get into the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, is cheered by Apple employees as he is let into the Apple store in Covent Garden to be the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, leaves the Apple store in Covent Garden after being the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    An Apple Store employee gestures after dealing with customers waiting to buy the iPhone 5 outside the shop at Regent's Street in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People queue outside the Apple Store to buy the iPhone 5 at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple Store employees create a tunnel for customers as they are allowed into the shop to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone while a customer (top L) leaves with a new phone on the day of its release at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)