Digital ‘possessions’ and a clutter-free life
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s clutter. A cluttered house makes me anxious. As 'stuff’ builds up over time, that feeling keeps building. Eventually, I get what I call 'the rage’ and I just have to get rid of as much as possible. There are times when I feel like I want to hire a skip and throw half the possessions in my house out.
But there’s one thing I have a strange, constant, stagnant relationship with – media.
CDs, vinyl, DVDs, books, magazines… I pretty much exclusively buy and consume their digital alternatives these days. And I’m half-tempted to get rid of most of my old physical collection. Bar the occasional rarity or particularly treasured title, I increasingly wonder why I have a connection to these things.
As my life moves forward, those same CD and book spines I’ve had since I was a teenager follow me through life. They fill up the shelves wherever I live, never touched because I just listen to streamed versions or digital rips. It’s like I’m dragging the clutter of older versions of myself through life just out of habit.
It’s not just music and video. All the old, once-important documents I’ve kept for years unnecessarily – I should just digitise them and destroy them. Or probably just destroy most of them.
I believe in reinventing yourself every few years and not looking back. Relying on digital media may be risky (especially streaming services, where the catalogue on offer is completely outside your control and changes over time) but collecting media is a form of hoarding that I’m increasingly wary of.
Strangely, digital clutter is a completely different thing. My tweets from 2007 have little bearing on who I am today but I don’t want to delete them because they don’t take up any physical space.
A digital life can mean much calmer homes, free of the detritus of our pasts. And that sounds good to me.