Thanks to channels A&E and TLC, the world is now familiar with the bizarre world of extreme hoarders. We aren’t talking about a cluttered closet or perhaps a spare room that becomes a catchall for items that don’t have homes. We are talking about homes that are so full of stuff that you have to follow little “deer trails” to go from one room to the next.
Thankfully most people are not extreme hoarders in the physical sense, they know how to let go of things that they don’t need. The issue I want to discuss is digital hoarding. It is now easier than ever to load up hard drives, thumb drives, iPods, and other memory devices with digital clutter. Think of the thousands of pictures, music files, video files, emails, and document files that are stored and forgotten because they can’t be seen or found. I’m willing to bet that most people reading this have files floating around that they haven’t seen or even thought about for years.
How is this different from physical hoarding?
Digital hoarding is invisible, does not interfere with daily life, and in most cases the items have no monetary worth. However, there is a huge sentimental value tied to these items. Should they be lost to lightning strike, flooding, or the death of a hard drive, it would be devastating.
Lesson of the day: be aware of the items stored on your devices, create duplicate copies to store in a safe place. Even better, use them. If you are hoarding old story ideas select one to develop and work to get it published. Pictures? Pick one event and create a wall collage or start creating a digital scrap-book. Songs? Go through and create a new playlist or mix CD to share with friends.
The things we keep are only as valuable as what we do with them.