Digital Hoarding

Digital hoarding is something of a rising trend in modern society. As storage on mobile devices increases, so too does the number of apps, photos and videos that people are holding on to.

Nur Izzaty Shaifullizan has almost 20,000 photos and videos on her smartphone. She has two external hard disks, one which has already reached its 1TB capacity. Another has almost hit the 500GB mark.

On top of that, she subscribes to a 50GB Cloud storage service at $1.30 a month. This is an extraordinarily large amount of data of one person to keep. For example, if she used her 1TB drive to store just photos, then she could save roughly 2 million on there to fill up the drive.

This behaviour is part of the growing trend of digital hoarding. According to experts it is fast becoming the new norm among tech users. They will have the tendency to download or store an excessive number of digital files.

What is it?

“Digital hoarding is defined as the over-accumulation of digital files to the extent that it can become problematic and lead to disorganisation and distress,” says Nick Neave in an email interview.

“Our research has shown that people who score high on questionnaires on physical hoarding also tend to score highly for digital hoarding so it is possible that the two are very similar,” he shares.

However, photos and videos are not the only digital items that can be commonly hoarded. There are many kinds of digital goods – documents, games, music and even Facebook friends. All of these can be attributed to the trend.

Jo Ann Oravec says current psychological research in this area shows that the reasons that individuals become hoarders range from “uncertainty avoidance” to OCD and more.

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digital hoarding smartphone

Smartphone, tablet with blank screens on black background with app icons, copy space. 3d illustration

Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at for help.

To read more stories like this one, why not take a look at some of our other blog articles here.

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