I went to Russia when I was 17 as part of an exchange program. Among other things, I learned about matryoshkas (nesting dolls) and quickly became obsessed with them. The end result was a collection that started and ended during my 3-week stay. We had a contest during the trip to find the smallest matryoshka, which was defined as being “booger-sized,” meaning able to fit in the buyer’s nostril. Teenagers are weird. Here’s the collection:
Close up of a top contender in the contest:
And again the dilemma: save or purge?
As I spent hours going through hundreds of personal, physical items, I started thinking about the digital world. Did I have any collections there that also needed cleaning? And if I did, what would my options be for going through them? Would I be able to sell or donate part of the collection?
I often think about my music as a perfect example of a hybrid collection. The cassette tapes were thrown out. That part was easy and painless. The CDs, however, were a different story, probably because I still own a stereo with the ability to play them. Some were uploaded into iTunes and then donated. Others are still in my apartment. I now buy my music directly in digital, eliminating CDs completely. But it’s not the same as a physical collection. What I’ve really purchased is a licence to listen to something instead of an item that I can control completely.
So what happens when I feel like going through my digital collections of books, photos, music and whatever else? Will I be able to sell or donate? Or will my only recourse for purging be to delete?