The Digital Dimension of Data Hoarding

Athena
3 min readSep 23, 2023

Digital hoarding, a modern subset of data hoarding, poses its own set of challenges and considerations. In the digital realm, the ability to store files can appear almost limitless, especially with cloud storage options, external hard drives, and ever-increasing computer storage capacities.

When dealing with the digital school directory from 11 years ago, what can be lost if it’s deleted? The names of classmates, their email addresses, physical addresses and phone numbers? What are the odds that data is still the same? I’m sure the names are mostly the same, but email, phone, and address. Just our own is a good example of the data that has changed. We’ve relocated since then, but my email is still valid and the phone number is a number that we’ve kept though it has been passed on to my son. I would suspect that my son doesn’t remember any of the children that are on the list of classmates despite spending hours with them. So to keep or not?

The Illusion of Infinite Space

Digital storage options often give the illusion of infinite space. However, accumulating files indiscriminately can lead to “digital clutter,” which can make file retrieval and organization cumbersome. Research from a 2019 study published in the ‘Computers in Human Behavior’ journal shows that digital hoarding can lead to increased stress due to disorganization and the feeling of being overwhelmed ([source](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563219301621)).

Digital Hoarding Risks

1. **Security Risks**: Holding onto old files can expose you to security threats, especially if those files contain sensitive or personal information.

2. **Data Degradation**: Over time, digital files may become corrupted or unreadable due to software updates or technological advancements.

3. **Reduced Productivity**: Sifting through a large volume of files can waste valuable time and reduce overall productivity.

Practical Solutions for Digital Data Hoarding

Cloud Services

Many cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox offer secure, easily accessible options for storing data. Some even offer features for automated categorization and quick…

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Athena

Mom of three boys. Computer programmer living in the country with my husband focusing on my hobbies and youngest son. https://ko-fi.com/athenaandrew