by Melinda Beck, from Wall Street Journal
Digital hoarding is a huge problem. There is so much available storage, we don't have to make decisions anymore. The problem isn't that it slows down your computer—it slows down your brain,"
There isn't a set number of emails in an inbox or photos saved that defines a hoarder. Accumulating crosses the line into hoarding, experts say, when it is disorganized and dysfunctional and gets in the way of other relationships and responsibilities.
People who spend so much time and money amassing collections of music or games or gadgets that they withdraw from the real world. They can't pay their rent or buy food because they have to have this latest piece of equipment to support their habit. Hoarding often starts out as a way to feel good or fill an emptiness in life, but it leaves sufferers even more isolated.
|A cluttered computer desktop is an indication of digital hoarding|
Professional organizers warn that simply adding more storage removes any incentive to delete or prioritize. Sometimes, what needs organizing most is the hoarder's mind-set.
• Deleting anything makes you anxious—even things you can't remember why you saved.
• You spend more time searching for a file than it would take to download it again.
|To enlarge, click on chart, then "right click" to|
"View Image." "Right click" again, then
click on enlargement
• You can't remember all your email or social-media accounts or how to access them.
• You have flash drives scattered in drawers, pockets and purses and no idea what's on them.
• Of your thousands of digital photos, the vast majority are duds.
• You have entire seasons of bad TV shows you have no intention of watching.
• Practice 'zero email.' Discipline yourself to clean out your inbox completely every day, answering, filing or deleting each item.
• Declare 'email bankruptcy.' Delete every unread email in your inbox and alert your 10 best friends and colleagues that if they have sent something crucial, they should send it again.
• Unsubscribe to every newsletter and mailing list you don't need or want immediately.
• Set your spam filter to block any regular emails you don't want to receive.
• Don't check your inbox continuously. Set specified times to read and answer email each day.
• Don't copy and save documents; save Internet addresses where you can find them later, if necessary.