Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 08 March |
Saint of the Day: St. John of God
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

My name is Maria and I’m a digital hoarder

WOMAN,INSTAGRAM,PHOTOS

Shutterstock

Maria Morera Johnson - published on 11/01/18

Here's how I now approach the digital clutter in my life.

I have a confession to make: I’m a digital hoarder. I have thousands of pictures that take up too much space across all my devices. I have drafts, and new drafts, and final drafts of projects published long ago. I have multiple versions of resumes and CVs, course syllabi from DOS days that I don’t think will even open in an uncorrupted state. It’s a mess, and I have no control over it.

The satisfaction I get when I clean my physical workspace by throwing away dusty scraps of paper with long-forgotten cryptic notes scribbled on them or lining up my pens and pencils after unceremoniously pitching the ones that don’t work rivals Christmas morning. A clean desk frees me to create. Of course, that usually means I’ll make a new mess along the way, but I can always go back to a cleaning session to recover that sense of freedom gain.

I wish I had that kind of control of the digital mess I’ve made on my computer, iPad, and phone. I think I feel comfortable throwing away a printed draft because deep inside, I know I have several versions backed up on my computer. I have no explanation for keeping bursts of photos on my phone.

It’s a kind of clutter that might speak to some other deep-seated things such as FOMO (a fear of missing out) or the compulsion to document everything in my day. I realized I had a problem when an unplanned need to upgrade my phone had me paralyzed. The young man at the counter assured me they’d upload my pictures to their server and place them in the new phone. And then he suggested my husband and I go to dinner and come back because it was going to take a couple of hours. Gulp.

I had to examine what I was doing.

Decluttering has been the focus of my chores for nearly a decade, and I realized along the way that it isn’t a one-time activity, but a mindset to clear away those things that weigh me down and hold me hostage. Why does this unseen digital clutter plague me if it’s out of sight? The bottom line is not that I lack the space for it, but that accessibility — the finding of the pictures or documents I want becomes difficult because there’s so much useless, unneeded, and poorly archived material to sift through before I find what I need.

I’ve taken control of my home space; I’m working on shedding weight that is physically hurting me, and I work on spiritual clutter through prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments, especially in the decluttering of my soul through the sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s time I approached my digital clutter with the same methodical culling I’ve applied to other areas of my life. It’s time to clean up my social media, delete the hundreds of pictures of random coffee cups and cat memes, and clear out those old files that are taking up space. And moving forward, I probably should disable that neat burst feature.


ST FRANCIS,STATUE

Read more:
3 Lessons about minimalism from St. Francis of Assisi

Tags:
Personal GrowthSocial MediaTechnology
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
GUARDIAN ANGEL
Philip Kosloski
10 Mysterious things to know about guardian angels
2
tabernacle
Philip Kosloski
5 Important things to notice in a Catholic church
3
POPE AUDIENCE
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Do you know the 3 words that describe God’s style? Pope Fra...
4
SAINT JOSEPH AND CHILD JESUS
Philip Kosloski
10 Things you should know about St. Joseph
5
Ziggurat of Ur
John Burger
Pope’s trip to Iraq is like a pilgrimage to a Holy Land
6
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope calls us to Abraham’s hope: Full text of address in Ur
7
VaticanNews.va
Pope in Iraq: Schedule and key events
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.