Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Letting Go of My Digital Clutter



I'm an information addict. Give me a topic I'm interested in — organizing, of course, but also cats and travel destinations and education and so much more — and I have a tendency to hoard information. And a lot of that information is on the computer, so I tend to bookmark all the really good articles I read, or sites I find.

To a certain degree, that's harmless — and sometimes useful. Bookmarks (or favorites, if you're using Internet Explorer) don't take up much computer space. But I recently realized how maintaining this kind of collection can easily go overboard.

After the shootings at Newtown, I got a bit obsessed with learning about the issues associated with gun purchases and ownership. I wanted to understand the range of positions on gun-related issues — OK, excluding some of the most extreme views, but still including a wide range of viewpoints. So I found well-reasoned articles from people with widely differing perspectives, and read them, and learned a lot.

As I read, of course, I bookmarked. And then I tried to organize those bookmarks, because the collection was getting pretty big. And then I stopped.

What was I going to do with all of those bookmarks? I had considered writing a post on Google+ or someplace, but that would take a huge amount of time. And what would I accomplish? Probably very little — and I could get dragged into endless, futile debates.

I realized I'd accomplished what I originally wanted; I had learned what I wanted to learn. So with a click of the mouse, I deleted all those bookmarks pointing to really good articles — but articles I would never need again. And I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

In the digital world, as well as the physical world, it helps to only file away what you might reasonably use.

3 comments:

Cynthia Friedlob said...

I need to do the same thing! I have too many interesting bookmarks of no use beyond what they've already done: informing or entertaining me. Most of them probably could be found again anyway with a Google search.

Vizion Heiry said...

I salute you. Still trying to let go of articles I will never read.

Lissanne / SORTED! said...

Hi Jeri! I bookmark loads of stuff and rarely look at them. Periodically I throw most bookmarks out!

But for visual references, I find pinterest is my go to gal for storing interesting products etc, it works better for me - with the added bonus of linking back to the website I found the image at. Particularly good for things like that new Hoover I may never end up buying (but where did I see it? and I can't remember the brand but I know it's red and triangular).