Humans are natural collectors. Digital formats have made it easy for humans to collect with the availability of “out of sight, out of mind” storage (think the cloud). Other options include inexpensive tiny drives that can store enormous amounts of content. Not really out of sight, but also not in the way. But should we save everything just because we can? Are there consequences with saving too much stuff?
Last week I went kayaking on the South Saskatchewan River. I worked hard to take pictures of the goslings, sometimes going upstream while juggling the camera and paddle. I now find myself in a dilemma over which ones to keep and none of them are spectacular.
I love looking at the pictures because they remind me of a terrific experience. At the same time I feel irritated looking at so many similar gosling pictures and at my inability to save the best ones and delete the rest.
My normal default is to purge everything, but I find myself making excuses about why I should keep them all, mostly because I can. Saving them requires no additional commitment, but deleting them must be done on my phone and in my Dropbox, where photos are automatically backed up.
I could just save everything, but I know that in the future I will derive the same, if not greater pleasure, from saving only the best photos to remember the trip. The gosling pictures are a small sample set but imagine having hundreds, or even thousands, of similar photos from a vacation or outing. Would you save them all?
What makes our things valuable to us? Do we value something less when we have more of it?