I am a hoarder.

Yep. That’s me.  A digital hoarder.  Good article in this week’s Wall Street Journal called Drowning In Email, Photos, Files?  Hoarding Goes Digital.  Here’s 2 excerpts on what defines a hoarder and what to do about it:

“There are no official criteria for ‘digital hoarding’ but there are some tell-tale signs:

  • You’ve exceeded your 7 gigabytes of free space in Gmail and have to buy more.
  • Deleting anything makes you anxious—even things you can’t remember why you saved.
  • You spend more time searching for a file than it would take to download it again.
  • You have dozens of icons on your desktop and don’t know what they’re for.
  • You can’t remember all your email or social-media accounts or how to access them.
  • You have flash drives scattered in drawers, pockets and purses and no idea what’s on them.
  • Of your thousands of digital photos, the vast majority are duds.
  • You have entire seasons of bad TV shows you have no intention of watching.

    Professional organizers who specialize in technology issues offer these tips for conquering digital hoarding:

  • Practice ‘zero email.’ Discipline yourself to clean out your inbox completely every day, answering, filing or deleting each item.
  • Declare ’email bankruptcy.’ Delete every unread email in your inbox and alert your 10 best friends and colleagues that if they have sent something crucial, they should send it again.
  • Unsubscribe to every newsletter and mailing list you don’t need or want immediately.
  • Set your spam filter to block any regular emails you don’t want to receive.
  • Don’t check your inbox continuously, and disable the ‘dinger’ alerts. Set specified times to read and answer email each day.
  • Don’t copy and save documents; save Internet addresses where you can find them later, if necessary.
  • Remember, people typically use only about 20% of what they save.

Related Posts:  Emails and Files: Searching. Searching. Searching. Never Finding. Frustrated? (davidkanigan.com)

Sources: Image Credit


  1. Great post, David. I follow the above advice and delete all out of my inbox daily (or file in a very organized file structure). I’ve found it helps the sanity and clutter curves!


  2. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    On the other hand, sometimes we delete-happy really regret what we’ve deleted.
    And we spend too much money re-buying what we keep tossing because we don’t save anything,


  3. I definitely have a problem. I’ve kept every story I’ve written for a newspaper, not only online, but on paper.


  4. I never got caught up in keeping things, but I do have over 70,000 photographs. I would have more except for the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005.


  5. Glad to know that I definitely am NOT a digital hoarder!!


  6. martingysler says:

    With information overload and storage media that continue to grow, we’ve everything to become a digital hoarder… thank you for your advices 😉


  7. Don’t we all have a tendency towards hoarding?
    Especially when it’s SO easy, and it takes a while for it to be noticed on the computer, unlike the physical world of our homes, where clutter trips you up much faster than the computer world.
    Thankfully, deleting is far less exhausting than the physical labour involved in cleaning the home:)
    Not mention faster!


  8. David, you and your readers might appreciate my ebook on ‘personal news aggregation’. I take people through Gmail, Google Reader and Gist and teach how to use them to manage all the content we need to maintain our expertise, whatever that might be. It’s online at http://e1evation.com/pna/ — click the register link, create a username and provide an email address and you’ll be on your way. It’s full of ‘practical, tactical’ advice for people who are overwhelmed by email and the other news they need to manage…


  9. Saw this article too and was scared to read……truth always hurts!


  10. photographybyjoylene says:

    I regularly have to clean out my “bookmarks”. Sometimes I wonder why in the world I saved half of it 🙂


  11. I think it’s absolutely horrible and intrusive that all of these “scientific studies” on various topics, including this one, have FIGURED ME OUT. “1984” and Big Brother are real in my World. Most people go through life thinking that they, and only they, know themselves, and that their complexes, intimate thoughts and behaviors are only known to them. But, then, here comes science…in this case, digital hoarders….YES, ME. What will be next???? Masturbation??? OMG, they figured me out on that one, too……..ugh!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: