Saving everything (aka too much), goes against a default humans have contended with forever. Humans could never save everything for a host of reasons, such as time to process everything and the space to store it all.
This mainly applies to physical stuff because eventually we run out of storage and it’s obvious when that happens. Of course some people will move to a bigger place to accommodate their things, or start renting external storage units.
The seemingly infinite amount of digital storage space and new technologies that help us process all of our digital belongings have influenced a lot of our habits and behaviors. Now, it’s possible to save more than we ever thought possible. And in some scenarios, it’s easier and initially less time consuming to save everything that it is to sort, label, and manage it properly. This doesn’t even take into consideration how many things are saved on our behalf, or about us, by third-party apps and services we use. This is mostly because we’re either not aware of how much is being gathered and/or we don’t care about because we never see or use what’s been collected.
Saving everything is tempting, but here are some of the dangers:
- Losing track of what you have (if you get hacked, how would you know what was compromised?)
- Difficulty finding what you need (searches yield hundreds/thousands of results requiring time to review)
- Migrating content to latest format to ensure that it can be accessed with updated softwares/hardwares (the less you have, the less you need to transfer)
- Exposing too much about your past self, when you’ve moved on to new things in your life (goes with losing track of what you have)
So what do we do to combat the urge to accumulate so much digital stuff? Of course, this is only if you feel bothered by the Digital Detritus lingering around in forgotten, neglected caches of stuff.
Some strategies are:
- Be mindful about what you are creating and saving
- Restrict storage limits – rather than paying for more, try to utilize the space you have
- Save strategically
- Go through your digital holdings periodically and purge – since there are so many things to review, I find it useful to start small with a single folder or my bookmarks bar
Cleaning up digital storage can feel tedious, until disaster strikes. Then you’ll feel better because you’ll know what you have.