Around a trillion photos are estimated to be taken in 2014. If you are anything like me you are responsible for several thousand of those.
Not only are billions of superfluous and unnecessary pictures taken every day, they are stored and backed up as well. Most should never have existed at all, let alone keep hogging digital space.
I use Memopal (and Google) for backing up important files, including pictures, but I'm constantly close to capacity due to pictures I will most likely never look at. Not only do they eat paid-for space, they also make it difficult to locate the actually important items.
Are you wasting space on vinyl records? CDs? VHS cassettes?!
Digital pictures are one thing, but what about physical products? The average living space per person in the US has doubled in 40 years. Meanwhile, the storage business has exploded, because everybody is hanging on to so much more useless stuff.
Should you hang on to memorabilia? What is it really worth if you never look at it but simply keep "just in case"? Hint: nothing.
I am acutely aware of these issues now that I'm cleaning out the office for good. Today, e.g., I collected two books on valuation and macroeconomics, as well as took stock of the fund's prize cabinet.
The picture below shows me posing with a few of the hedge fund awards. Right now, I definitely want to keep those. They represent the pinnacle of my career - and I find them quite beautiful as well. They can definitely hold their own in a book case.
Time to look forward instead of backward?
But, where do you draw the line for what to keep? Your notebooks from school? Your drawings from kindergarten, like this one? (I hadn't yet figured out how to draw a person realistically - I thought I had to start with the skeleton but didn't know how to hide it when I proceeded with the skin and clothes)
I'm glad I've kept that one, but I'm also pleased I've thrown away many more, that I now don't miss at all.
Throw things away everyday
I think you should try to get rid of something everyday. Everytime you think of going shopping, do the opposite and rummage through your things until you find something to give or throw away. Alternatively, a tip I read about the other day, put what you haven't used for a year in boxes and mark them by date. After three years, throw them away without opening - unless you actually remember and want to keep what is in the boxes.
That leads to today's list of Reasons To Declutter Aggressively:
- You don't miss what you don't remember
- Your focus should be on the present (or possibly the future), not the past
- You save money on storage, both digital and physical
- You waste less energy thinking about or worrying over dead objects
- It's easier to keep the house clean
- A decluttered house frees up your mind
- And most important of all, focus on your experiences instead of the documentation