Clutter accumulates quickly, especially when you don’t care about the items that soon become clutter. Valuable items never become clutter. Your display shelves might eventually display too many items, but they’ll never clutter up the same way a convenient surface might, and undoing that mess involves figuring out why the clutter accumulates. The main cluttering objects in the photo below are my storage solutions, sitting on the chair and underneath it, rather than put away.
I’ve been meaning to get into the habit of weekly backups for months.
So I’d scatter storage solutions around this laptop, the one I use primarily on-the-go, so I’d “remember” to plug in a thumb drive to grab the files that I’d added or modified the evening before putting everything into my laptop back to take with me the next morning. It never worked. That data sat on my hard drive, and not duplicated on any of the thumb drives I had stored in either small containers or directly next to my laptop.
Those thumb drives sat and became clutter.
I’ve since placed all of my storage solutions in one box. Eventually, I’ll go through and downsize the number of thumb drives that have data on them, so I can be more flexible about when I use them. Ideally, I’d like to back up all my most recent and relevant data on a weekly basis to a thumb drive, back up everything to an external drive monthly, then maybe go through a yearly audit of all my data to see what I still care about and what I can delete?
I don’t think I’ll be at that point for a while.
I’m still in the process of clearing out the big gunk out of my system; all the biggest possessions I don’t care about, of which I have many, and it is complicated to downsize. Data is small and I don’t necessarily need to start deleting data to clear off space, because external hard drives are getting increasingly cheaper for more data capacity, but this, too, is clutter that takes up space – even if it’s nearly “free.”
A thumb drive here, a thumb drive there… it all adds up.
Why do I value this data and this stuff so much?
It’s convenient to keep keeping what I’ve already kept. I’ve only started to become comfortable deleting things from my computer over the past six months. Now there’s an embarrassing thing to admit to the world, but here I am, a recovering hoarder, admitting that I had trouble even deleting things. I don’t want to go overboard and delete everything I’ve ever downloaded, and for stuff I’ve made I still want to publish them all on Better Zombie so I can keep it, but otherwise, the junk projects and the stupid things I’ve collected – digitally or otherwise – should go if I don’t care about them. My clutter shouldn’t represent some sort of temple of the mind.
After I’ve downsized, I’ll restore my time for writing fiction.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Honestly, writing about stuff like this is one way to prevent me from regressing in my habits. By telling the world that, hey, even me, a recovering hoarder that’s learning to reduce clutter still clutters up space is a way of saying that there’s still work to be done.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photos: Downsizing process.|
|Written On: May 4th [45 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft for the Internet.|