Over the past few days I’ve been reading Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography and I have been thinking a lot about my own use of technology. Isaacson reflects often about his interactions with Jobs late in his life (2010 and 2011) and it surprises me how dated those meetings feel. Of one of those encounters, Isaacson describes Jobs showing him all of the tracks he has on his iPad 2 and how excited he had been to sync them to the device. This blew my mind and got me thinking.
Why do I have the massive mp3 collection that I do? I listen to a very, very small fraction of it. Not only that, but I pay a service to keep it all backed up for me in case something happens to my files. In the same vein, I have hundreds of gigabytes of data backed up in the cloud that I, again, have paid someone to store for me.
You know how so many Americans pay for a storage space because they have too much stuff? Well I, and so many others, am doing the same thing with digital data.
I’m not a minimalist by any means. I collect old books, have a small vinyl collection, and surely could do with fewer of most things that I have. But having stuff just to have it, whether its physical or digital, comes with a cost. Paying for digital storage, or keeping an extra couple of hard drives around might not seem like much compared to the Personal Storage spaces of our parents but it’s still a moral statement.
It says that we value our crap enough that we’re paying someone to virtually stash it under the bed where we probably won’t visit it again for years and years.
Spend a few hours. Track down your stuff. Figure out why you are spending valuable resources (save money, resell that extra external hard drive) and get rid of the gigabytes that you don’t need. Virtual clutter is still clutter, after all. Why pay to keep your digital trash lying around in the cyberspace?
What do you think? Is there a balance between storing things and hanging onto unneeded trash?