This morning I’ve been going through the time-consuming process of moving a lot of my old CD and DVDs onto Blu-ray discs – mostly to save space. I am finding things I completely forgot about which tell a journey/progression through my life to where I am right now. It was initially fascinating to revisit this. Yet I discovered more and more stuff, which took more and more time to look through. Pretty soon, I gave up my idea of cataloguing everything neatly – there was simply too much stuff. It became crystal clear that I am a digital hoarder. There – I finally admitted it!
For years I’ve berated my poor wife about the space all her books take up, with the argument “my stuff takes up a lot less space”. This may have been true at some point, but it is exactly the same compulsion which drives me. I simply can not bear the thought of letting go of any of my photos. music. videos (even rubbish ones) or any of the work I’ve done in the past. Problem is, I am still doing this and as bandwidth/media formats and storage all increase – so does the amount I store. And it now IS starting to take up space. Plus there is absolutely no way I will ever have the time to revisit the majority of this, yet I trundle on repeating the cycle.
I collect in the hope I may one day use them in a future production. However what actually happens is I tend to get frustrated trying to find something in particular, then think “it’s probably out of date now anyway” and go off to collect more.
I’ve since found (somewhat unsurprisingly) digital hoarding is a well-known problem.
This can be a very serious problem for some. Whilst I don’t feel the need for any psychiatric help, I can particularly relate to the part of “not knowing when to stop researching”. It then also then becomes an issue of learning “where do I begin?”. I think this has actually be holding me back creatively recently and too much choice is debilitating. I also worry that we may pass this on to our kids, I have long been a believer of the “less toys is more” philosophy for children. It is essentially the same thing.
Therefore I have taken the decision that I would like to begin de-cluttering parts of my digital life. This will not happen overnight and will take time. For now I will not get rid of anything. But I will also try to discipline my brain to say “What value is this to you really? Really!? Do you need it or are you just hoarding again?” with anything new. Plus I will try and get rid of some of the old CDs which are clearly of limited value. Stage one in the new digital minimalist me! 🙂
Meanwhile I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who has experienced this.