I barely remember the days in which people would go on vacation, take some photos, then get home and go to get them developed. A bit more recently, the days of CD’s, newspapers and magazines seem numbered. For me, certainly they’re long gone. Just pop in the old USB cord and there are my photos, open my browser and there’s my news and information. The more time that passes, the fewer tangibles there seem to be. Books, photos, movies, music, boarding passes, shopping, and the list goes on. They all exist in the digital realm.
It seems great. In the case of media, it’s quicker, more convenient and you have more control. Your computer, tablet or phone is all you need to edit your photos, store them and organize them. The same goes for your books, music and videos. It’s all easy, instead of taking one great photo, I’ll just make sure the subject is in the frame and take four or five pics. Two are usually blurry, one’s badly lit and the others are decent. But who cares, they’re digital, I’ll throw them on the computer and sort it out later.
Except, later never comes, but with seemingly unlimited space, again, who cares. The same goes for music, I’ll download every album, mixtape and EP that I can get my hands on. I’ll listen to it at some point, I’m sure. Movies and books too, it’s not taking up any physical space, just digital.
Eventually, bogged down with files, my computer started moving a little less spritely.
Instead of admitting that I have too much digital crap, I invested. I invested in hard drives, jump drives, compact flash cards, mini SD cards, cloud storage. It was obvious to me that I need all this stuff. I might be in the mood to listen to that mixtape I downloaded two years ago by what’s his name. I also plan to go through all those pictures I took at one of our many, many trips to the park, just to make sure I don’t delete a good one.
What I was paying for was my own laziness and disorganization as well as my digital hoarding habit. I was paying for online picture storage, online music storage and I had bought 3 hard drives and more, just to handle the load. I was paying for intangible storage for intangible goods. More than that, whenever I wanted to listen to music, I found I couldn’t decide what to listen to because I had too big of a selection, filled mostly with badly organized, very average music. There were also books and movies I started and moved on from, a true digital nightmare.
I’m currently midway through my digital purge. I’m paring down my photos, keeping the ones from important days that I want to remember and deleting the rest. I’m getting my music down to the classics: Illmatic, The Score, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Reasonable Doubt, Good Kid, M.a.a.d City, anything by Bob and things on that level. The stuff I always end up listening to anyway. I’m being more thoughtful and intentional in my digital acquisitions.
The result: I have less stuff, and less is more. I have a digital space that is larger and of better quality and more money in the old pants pockets. Everything’s all in one place, no more searching for things on different hard drives, cards and clouds. Less hassle and more time. It’s really quite freeing.