digital hoarding (possibly part 1 of a multi-part series)

While I don’t like to consider myself a hoarder, I certainly have packrat tendencies. In the past few years, I’ve gotten better about getting rid of stuff, as in physical objects, as long as I know that they aren’t being wasted. (Whether it’s passing things on to friends, donating or recycling.) However, I’ve also realized that in the past few years, some of my real-world tendencies to hold on to things have passed over and firmly entrenched themselves in my digital world. Case in point: digital photos. My iPhoto library is getting embarrassingly large,¹ and with this daily photography project, it is growing at a frightening speed. While I am committed to posting one new photo a day, I don’t just take one photo. Most days, I take lots. Like 20 to 50 on an average day when I’m out and about, or trying out something new. On a day when we have an excursion, I’m likely to take well over a hundred. And while I’ve gotten better about deleting some of the total duds right away–I try to make myself delete a good 25% of a batch after I import it–my library is full of bad and mediocre photos from years past that really aren’t worth even the virtual space they are occupying. But it takes time to go through them, and I don’t want to accidently delete photos that are precious to me.

I’ve also realized that of the photos that I like, and those I want to share, if I don’t manage to post right away, I find myself wanting to “save them for later.” But what, exactly, I mean by “later” is unclear to me. I suppose if I were posting regularly on themes, like I have fantasized about doing, I could share the photos along the way, in a meaningful way.

This is all to say that I am going to share some of the photos I’ve been holding on to. Starting now.

Phoebe holding a shiny rock. Photo from July of 2010.

I was also going to write about my other digital hoarding tendencies, such as with emails, but I don’t have time tonight. This post has already taken me 24 minutes so far, according to my shiny new timer app. And I have yet to actually publish. Ack!

¹ As in over 10,000.²
² And when I say “over 10,000,” the number is actually well over even 20,000.³
³ As in 34,100. And that’s before I’ve imported today’s…

14 thoughts on “digital hoarding (possibly part 1 of a multi-part series)

  1. Snicker. You should see mine. Probably 10 to the tenth, but who is counting. I am presently tasked with scanning 200 or so photos from my daughter’s pre-digital albums for a project she is doing for Christmas. She’s not as bad as I am, but close.
    However, a long time after my kids were grown and gone I decided to throw away boxes of less favoured prints. I found some treasures that reminded me of events and places long forgotten. Badly composed, botched photos, but precious all the same. They are now in albums and there are fewer boxes, but I still have some, and books and books of negatives. If our home ever caught fire, I would run for those albums and my back-up drive first. And I am not ashamed. Well, not much. My name is Mary and I am a photograph hoarder.

  2. As an attempting-to-recover hoarder myself, I can totally sympathize. [And on a tangentially related note, I am really happy that I kept a lot of clothes long past the “if you haven’t worn it in two years, get rid of it” expiration date, because I now wear them all the time, so it’s sort of positive feedback for hoarding.]
    But photos are precious… even though some of them aren’t!
    I also don’t delete old emails. And, I still have all the papers I wrote when I was in college, even though many of them are in the formats of word processors that no longer exist. In fact, only recently did I go through and throw away the hard copies of essays from high school, and even then I didn’t manage to throw them all away.
    So, I guess what I’m saying is… memory has become pretty cheap, so maybe you don’t have to throw the bad photos away? Hmm. Yep. I’m basically a hoarding enabler as well as a hoarder myself…

  3. I have the opposite problem. I throw everything away. Look at my blog: every six months I delete half of it!

    I’m looking forward to your misc. pictures. I love your pictures.

  4. I’m a digital hoarder, too, I think. I’ve developed a good system that works for me as far as photos go:

    I import my photos using iPhoto and then export them to my desktop. I then import them into Lightroom for editing when I have the chance. Once in Lightroom, I go through and remove the ones that I don’t like. (I still keep the original image files saved to the desktop.) I edit the ones that are left and then export them into another folder. I have a somewhat complicated filing system, so I’ll leave that out – but let’s say for grins that the name of the folder is Fall 2010. So all my edited photos from September – November 2010 will go into this folder. All the unedited ones get burned onto a disk at the end of each month, and then those image files are deleted from my computer. That way I still have all the photos I took but the crappy ones aren’t taking up space on my computer. I’m with you – I take a LOT of photos, many of which miss the mark, so my hard drive would be totally full if I didn’t do something like this.

    I also hoard emails, but am getting better at deleting them. I’m a big collector of links – my bookmarks drop-down menu is overflowing with them. And let’s not forget the lovely starring system in Google Reader. I’m pretty sure I have a thousand or more items starred and I have no idea why I don’t go through and sort them.

    Love the photo, and obviously I love talking about hoarding. :P

  5. ha. i totally have that problem, too. i did weed through old digi photos a while back when I was backing up past year’s photos onto disc… I made efforts to get them all onto a certain number of discs per year (depending on what big trips we took, therefore, how many millions of photos I took), and tried to whittle them down. I just find that there’s something I love about so many pictures. Sigh.

  6. I have no idea how many photos I have on my computer, but I keep them all too. Sometimes a technically bad photo can end up being one of the ones you really like looking back at.

    I really like that shot.

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