Thursday, May 24, 2012

At what point are you a virtual hoarder?

This might be a little like double dipping, I am about to add to my virtual hoarding by writing about virtual hoarding.

Drawing of an apartment, with all my things noted as to where they might go.

I recently posted on facebook an image of a drawing I did some years ago. It is a space planning design for an apartment I rented sometime in the late '90's. Why do I still have it? Who the heck knows. My standard answer would be because I come from a family that doesn't get rid of things..for fear we MIGHT need them...someday.

Why anyone would need a space plan from an old apartment is beyond me...but this was not the most bizarre thing I found, or scanned in and uploaded to google docs to save in my virtual hoarding place. I also scanned in all my apartment leases dating back to 1991. (Take a moment to laugh out loud.)

I started this project several years ago, scanning all my paper so I could have less clutter. I bought a Neat Desk Scanner and scanned in most everything. I scanned in all my condo docs and all my house documents, these are a pain to store because they are legal sized documents which fit just about no where! I scan in all my bills, not sure why but I have a feeling I might need to know how much I paid for electricity in 2000. I scan in most receipts, I might need to return something. I scan in instruction manuals, old papers from workshops and seminars, things I get from meetings, old Christmas lists, etc.

A friend of mine posted that it wasn't odd that I had saved this (the drawing), probably because she has known me since I was 15 and knows I save everything...but she did mention that instead of deciding to just throw it away, I had managed to save it again in the virtual world...thus becoming a virtual hoarder.

I don't think saving one document online makes you a virtual hoarder...but I started thinking about it. What DO I have saved in the virtual world and where? Here is a list.

Email. Did you know that Google gives you the option to basically never get rid of email? They have a trash folder for things you really want to get rid of; this folder typically holds things for about 30 days. They also have a great concept called archive. You can archive something and get it out of the inbox but it doesn't really go away. It sits somewhere in lala land next to the virtual pictures, blog posts and music out in the cloud. I've decided to just about NEVER delete email. Again, for fear I will need something. I only delete things that aren't going to be valid after 30 days like sale emails from stores. Other than that, they get archived forever.

I actually have a yahoo account too but I never use it, those email are just stacking up like a virtual leaning tower of Pisa.

Evernote. What a great concept, save your junk in a method where you can look at it quickly on your phone, computer or tablet...anytime you want. What do I save here? Articles online I want to read but don't have time. Receipts that are so important I might need them faster than I can look them up in gmail. They are saved in gmail that is double the hoarding. Notes from meetings; I no longer carry around a notebook and pen, I have converted to a kindle fire and stylus. Web pages I might want to go back and look at. Recipes. Just about anything I might want quickly. I have not one, not two but I actually have three different blogs. I only manage to keep up 2 and that is rare but these are also great places to store things. They are like newsletters I use to hand write in college and then copy and mail to my family. Now I type them and send them out faster....and they are all archived in the virtual world.

Facebook. I have pictures and probably a bazzillion posts of misc ridiculous thoughts. Hoarding because I never delete anything.

Twitter. Another great place to blurt out random thoughts and ideas. Hoarding because it never goes away, it just keeps stacking up.

Picasa web albums. Great place to store my photos....of which I have thousands. One time my sister-in-law and I went to Disneyland with the family and we each took more than 700 pictures of a week long vacation. All of those are online...even the bad ones...I might need them some day. I keep random,sometimes not in focus photos because I used one once as an accent piece on a scrapbooking page so now I take odd photos ON PURPOSE.

Diggs. I have an account I can continue to add to my virtual hoarding of information.

Twitpic. I have pictures stored here that have been added to twitter...I am pretty sure that is double hoarding too.

Pinterest. If this isn't hoarding I don't know what it. Years ago I fell in love with the enormous fabric board above the desk of Rachel on Friends, so much that I made one myself. It now hangs in my craft room where I hoard my crafts. It is full of pictures and images of things I want. Pinterest is this online and on steroids.

Kindle Fire. I think this counts because I save documents on my kindle that I want to look at later. I also have books which seems like virtual "stuff" and I have books on the kindle that I have read but don't delete...they are just taking up space...a mild case of hoarding.

Amazon Cloud. I have music, books and documents here. Hey, they gave it to me free with the kindle fire, what was I suppose to do, not USE IT?!

I looked up virtual hoarding. Urban Dictionary defines it as:

A person who collects an abnormally large amount of useless, outdates, and or trivial files (music, movies, papers, apps, etc) that clogs up their computer's memory to the point that their virtual life is impacted negatively, with the unrealistic hopes that someday the useless data will magically be useful.
I'm not sure that defines me. I don't save much on my computer, it doesn't have a lot of memory, it is actually a netbook. My hoarding also isn't negatively impacting my life, unless you consider the time it takes to find something. (Probably no more time than it would take to search through a bunch of papers.) And unrealistic hopes the data will be useful?! Is there such a thing as unrealistic hope?
Virtual hoarding. Check. Task completed for today.

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