February 14, 2020
After The Digimon Incident of 2019, I decided to reread the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy to hone my sense of joy. Even though I had some KonMari regret, it does not mean that tidying is bad. It just means I had more to learn!
With new information in hand, I decided to work on de-cluttering something I had skipped the first time: digital clutter.
I originally skipped it because it was daunting and less satisfying than seeing piles of physical items to be discarded. I had years of photos to go through- all the way from high school to my post college life. I had 3000 photos from just my time studying abroad. Ack!
I began with college because it seemed easy enough; I had four neat little folders labeled “Freshmen Year” and “Senior Year”. But each folder had 500 photos each.
I realized very quickly that having 500 photos from each year of my life does not bring me joy. It brings me anxiety. It is impossible to enjoy the memories in my photos if I have to sift through 7000 of them (that is not a joke. I take a lot of photos).
The sheer amount of photos I had caused me to quit trying to declutter them before. I would say “it doesn’t take up any physical space so I don’t have to deal with it”. But even if I didn’t have to deal with it on a daily basis, in the back of my mind that they were weighing me down. I wanted to be able to find things easily and reminisce with my friends, because that would bring me joy.
In doing this exercise, I realized that for the majority of my photos, it was a waste of my time to take them. Now don’t get offended- we all like our photograph memories! But I was definitely taking waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many photos. And I now realize I can scale it back, and everything will be okay. Future Deidre will even thank me for all the useless photos I am no longer burdening her with.
Like, why did I take so many pictures of random trees?? Random landscapes?? Close ups of pretty flowers? Those things were better left to be enjoyed in the moment, because they don’t have sentimental value and the camera does not do them justice. I could make an entire scrapbook titled “Trees Deidre thought looked cool” and it would be SO. BORING.
In conclusion, if I am going to interrupt my enjoyment of the present moment to memorialize it via photograph, my photos will not be blurry selfies. They will not be of trees or flowers. I am limiting myself to 1 group shot, and MAYBE 1 selfie, and 1 well-staged photo of the event. ONE TO TWO PHOTOS PER EVENT ONLY.
Having 7000 photos meant none of them were special- it only meant they were a SELF-IMPOSED BURDEN. AAH!! I’m using all caps because I feel so strongly about this after sifting through photos for TWENTY HOURS! THAT WAS ALMOST A WHOLE DAY OF MY LIFE!
The photos I kept are even more valuable to me now because I get to enjoy them more often 🙂 and it won’t even take a whole day to look at all of them!