I like stuff. I’ve always liked stuff. I attribute this in part to growing up rather poor. Money was tight until my late teens; stuff wasn’t something we had a lot of.
This was also in the pre-boutique-thrift shop days. In the now, thrift and consignment stores are as ubiquitous as liquor outlets, but back when I was young, there was the local Sally Ann (Salvation Army) and that was it. What was available back then also didn’t come close to being Instagram-worthy. The things looked like the overused discards they were most of the time. I was not amused.
I was also not stylish
I wanted new, nice, plentiful, and pretty. What I got was practical and well-wearing, most of the time. Once I started babysitting, however, I started catering to my wants, a bad habit I’m still trying to break. Books, clothes, knickknacks, and makeup, oh my.
My current reality is more of the same. My specific passions shift with the wind, save for books that are always on the list, but I always have a collection or three going. Purses are one of my current passions, despite only being able to wear one at a time (unless I start a new trend). I’ve about reached my limit, however, unless I start to divest before building up again.
I refuse to occupy multiple rooms to cater to my quirks. One closet per person (except for outerwear which can live in the hall closet).
Luckily, one can collect digital. What else are Pinterest and Instagram?
The line between collecting and hoarding is blurry when one’s dealing with energy, bits, and bytes. One doesn’t have the same level of visual consequence.
And while I’ve been working to reduce my material baggage (while carrying on shopping), I’ve yet to seriously tackle my digital collections, which is a shame.
The biggest consumer of my digital memory is memes. It used to be photos, but I take far fewer of those now that my kids are in their twenties. An adored, inspirational, or insightful meme is more my current jam. I download them to hard drive folders that are rarely if ever opened again.
For all their humour and joy, memes are also very much a one-and-done phenomenon. We read, ponder, and forget. Saving them is just me pretending that I’ll remember every one of those thousands upon thousands of soundbites. Or even look at them again. I won’t. Once the download is moved from the desktop to the file, it might as well be on Mars.
A mass deletion is an option, but it hurts my heart. I don’t want to send my much-loved and long-forgotten gems to the abyss without giving them a chance to reside in someone else’s hard drive for a time. I wish I’d saved them with some kind of logic or order. That ship, however, has sailed, though I do apply names.
I don’t curate my digital life with the same passion and vigour I apply to the real world. Probably because the digital collections only take up metaphoric space. When tens of thousands of a thing can be saved to a stick that fits in a coin purse with six other sticks, holding onto gigabytes of useless data doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
If feels, however, untidy. My organization-loving brain is aware of the chaos lurking on drive C. My digital collections also fail to warm my heart the way my stuffed animals and Funko figurines do. And as we all know, if it doesn’t spark joy anymore…
Perhaps these recent additions can warm someone else’s heart for a while. They got sent to the recycle bin after this. Ten down, 13,284,295 to go.
Header quote – from “Men in Black,” and it’s one of the best summations about people I’ve read/heard.