It begins so innocently, even admirably: A love of reading, a thirst for knowledge, a desire to share information.
It hooks you young: First a couple of storybooks read by a relative, then a library card of your own. Soon you’re not satisfied with just borrowing books; you want to keep them and read them whenever you want.
And the hunger, the driven feeling to acquire reading begins. Soon, without suspecting it, you’re suffering from the new malady: Page Plague Paralysis; American Hoarder Story.
It used to be so much easier to spot in someone: They’d have books and periodicals all over the house. My own library covered an entire wall. But—-and here’s the key to information hoarding—-many are unread!
Now, however, with the creation of the computer and personal devices such as tablets and e-readers, the effect is much more insidious. You pile up file after file of PDFs, e-newsletters, RSS feeds, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, all with greatest intention: Someday you’ll want to read them.
You poor misguided creature.
I too was once a sufferer and still harbor remnants of my recovery as it progresses. If my Kindle suddenly acquired the weight of the volumes I’ve downloaded, it would weigh more than the combined contestants of The Biggest Loser. (Hey, Jeff Bezos! How about letting us create more than one library of our Kindle books? I’ve got more Jack Reacher novels in your cloud than emails in my inbox!)
Here are some tips for recovering from Page Plague Syndrome:
1. Assemble all of the novels you’ve read and all of the non-fiction books you haven’t opened in a year or more.
- (a)Place them in containers
- (b)Donate them to the library or other nonprofit organization
- (c)Take a tax deduction for donated goods
2. With magazines, recycle everything older than 6 months. Then try for 3 months
3. Put all your PDF files into one huge, byte-consuming file on your computer
- (a)Organize by date entered
- (b)Everything you haven’t read that’s older than 6 months and which you absolutely don’t need for research—-be bold, be masochistic—-and hit the (gasp) delete button
- (c)OK, if you have’t the got the spine for that, transfer them to an auxiliary drive.
4. Finally, ask yourself: Do I really need all of the files I’ve saved in Evernote? How many have I “clipped” and forgotten?
Yes, my friends, you can recover from information hoarding.
- Think of the space on your bookshelves that can now be adorned with pictures of your family!
- Luxuriate in the free disk space you now have on your computer and/or tablet!
- Realize that you can now can buy or download all sorts of….