The Myth of Digital Storage

I finally ran out of space in my laptop. I purchased this particular laptop in 2017. To be fair, I’ve been accumulating, and purging things, for almost 20 years. So even though I’ve had this laptop for about 6 years, I brought things over from previous computers. For months I’ve been receiving warning signs about low storage, though I didn’t quite understand what it would mean. Since receiving the warnings, I’ve been diligently going through files, documents, music, images, videos, to start freeing up space. Unfortunately, it wasn’t fast enough.

Last weekend, when I really needed to do something on my laptop, the whole thing froze. Nothing would load, close, open, save, etc. My computer was immobilized. It simply didn’t have enough memory left to perform any functions. After a few (tense) minutes and frantic searches, I figured out how to restart my computer in safe mode. Once opened, I immediately started purging, emptying the trash, and getting rid of anything quickly and easily. It’s a temporary fix. Now I’m left with a dilemma, submit to needing more storage, or make some very hard decisions to whittle down 20+ years of acquired digital “goods.”

As The Deletist, I have to confess, I’m up for the challenging of deleting, naturally, but also a bit daunted about going through 20+ years of digital accumulation. To add to the challenge, my computer is maddeningly slow and constantly freezing. It’s a terrible dilemma. Things won’t load fast enough to do a proper purge, but I can’t purge without seeing them.

To be efficient, I’ve been reviewing my photos and videos. I have a lot of duplicates and photos that are blurry, too repetitive, etc. These all make easy deletion choices and a way to quickly get more space. And yet, the problem of the slow uploading is magnified with photos. This makes something that could be quick and ruthless, rather long and frustrating.

With physical storage, I’ve always been a fan of working within its constraints. The amount of my physical possessions limited by the space available. It seems now I have finally crossed that threshold in the digital world, though it took much, much longer. However, it’s not just in my laptop. I’m finding my cloud storages (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) are also reaching capacity. The myth of limitless digital storage finally shattered for me.

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