Digital Hoarding

Barbara Vey -- September 4th, 2012
My desktop...before

My desktop...before

My son is in charge of a computer art department at a local high school.  Last night when we were talking, he was frustrated with his co-workers for what he called “digital hoarding.”  Apparently, they save everything and delete nothing.  This limits the  space left on the computers, so he went through and cleaned them all out by deleting everything.  This way the new semester could start off fresh for the classes coming in.  Of course, someone needed something that they saved on their computer.


This is so me.  I save everything because I’m afraid if I delete it, I’ll need it someday.  I know this isn’t rational and I also know there are external hard drives and flash drives available to save things on.  The problem is that I have saved things on flash drives and then I can’t remember where I put the flash drive.  At least if it’s on my computer I should be able to find it.  Should being the key word.


My desktop...after

My desktop...after

I’ve even set up folders to be more organized, but those are jammed full of stuff I’ll probably never use.  A few months ago a friend freaked out when he saw my desktop filled to the brim with stuff.  He cleaned it all up for me and promised spot checks to make sure I keep it clean, but it’s not easy.


Now I wonder how writers handle digital hoarding.  Do you save everything?  Are you afraid the minute you delete it you’ll need it?  Or are you able to hit that delete button with no regrets?


Bottom Line:  I may have to find a support group for this.


20 thoughts on “Digital Hoarding

  1. Georgie Lee

    I hoard, only because I never know when I might need something and digital hoarding doesn’t take up any room in my house. I keep all versions of manuscripts because sometimes a scene I deleted a long time ago is needed again.

  2. Shari

    I’m not a hoarder on my laptop because I don’t want to interfere with the speed. Important stuff gets saved to an external hard drive or flash drive. But then, you should see the file cabinet in my office. Big four drawer vertical file that contains more pieces of paper than I care to think about. We won’t talk about my bookshelves.

  3. Danica

    Oh, I’m a hoarder, big time!! Partially because I’m afraid I’ll need it someday, and partially because I still do refer to really old files on a regular basis. I am currently in crisis because I just got a new computer and all of my old emails didn’t transfer over right. And, in my defense, a couple of those old emails are ones I really NEED! Like airline reservations. Because I um, can’t remember my password to get another copy from the airline. *sob*

    Maybe I need a computer therapist.

  4. Susan Carlisle

    Right now mine isn’t full enough to be considered hoarding but I don’t delete much. I use my jump drive regularly and now have five of six of them. A couple of them have books that have already been published on them. Maybe I hoard alittle.

  5. Christine

    After my hard drive fried and I couldn’t retrieve anything–even with expert help–I learned hoarding was useless. I keep some stuff as a print copy or a copy on an external or flash drive but it’s like cleaning out old files, bills, articles etc. Eventually the clutter drives me crazy enough that it’s got to go! And I learned that it wasn’t such a crisis after all.

  6. Ellie Miller

    I’m a hoarder to the extent that even when I replace my computer (twice in roughly eight years) I make sure that the contents of the old hard drive are transferred intact onto the new one. File space isn’t really a problem, but the area I find hardest to deal with is cleaning out emails on even a semi-regular basis, so I’ve made it a sort of point of honor (with some exceptions I really think I might need) to keep no more than one previous month’s worth of active correspondence alive in my Old Mail box on AOL. An interesting note anent hoarding, BTW, came from my lawyer (we were redoing some stuff and the subject arose) after I said , “It’s on my computer!” He then asked, “Is your pass word stored or protected?” He told me that he’d come to a screeching halt in in the middle of trying to close out a fairly complicated estate recently because the deceased had EVERYTHING stored on his computer and no one in the family knew the password.

  7. Dianna Love

    LOL – I tend to keep everything for a while then it makes me crazy to see all that stuff and I get into “Delete Mode.” I still keep more than I should. I love that term “digital hoarding” and agree – we need a support group. Great blog, Barbara and tell your son he’s just too wise some days. :)

  8. Kim Hughes

    This sounds like someone I work with!! Her email has over 6000 in deleted. 12000 in saved emails and over 9000 in the inbox. Yes people that is thousands and not a misprint!! People wonder why she can never find anything. Bad thing is that what she keeps is not always needed stuff. She has email for sales from department stores from 2009. Sorry but I think they have expired by now. At least delete the junk. LOL

  9. Pingback: A virtual mess: Are you a secret digital hoarder? « Notes Quotes 2020

  10. Tech

    The prettiest etchings is the readings which they cares about around this world. You must write action packed addons. Blast. The nature lifted his blasting tech so they are forced to yell to you which they are smileful.

  11. Pingback: Offline FOMO-ism: Our Obsession With Recording Everything | I'm Wired A Little Weird

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>