When you watch Hoarders, you likely spend a good deal of the show comparing how dissimilar you are to the people guilty of the titular offense, if only to reassure yourself that you’ll never let it get that bad. For me, watching the impulsive rationalization of hoarders strikes a lot of empathetic chords. Trust me when I say that I’ve got a genetic bent and behavioral conditioning towards keeping everything. Left to myself, I don’t know how different I’d be. Thanks to my wife’s effect, my house is mostly minimalist and almost always in order.
But digitally, my hoarding is allowed to roam wild and without significant penalty. I have a strict budget that limits the amount of money I can waste on games, movies, books, music, and such. Cloud storage lets me further abstract the acquisition from the physical realm. So most of my PC game collection is on Steam’s servers, not my hard drive or in boxes on shelves (although, I do have nightmares of my kids holding an intervention and standing over my shoulder while I explain why I bought Toki Tori 4 times).
Like physical hoarders, it’s still a black hole for money in terms of value. If you aren’t using it now, your money would be better spent elsewhere. True to hoarding form, you might catch my subconscience being comforted by the cloud media as an “investment” while my left brain finds that laughable; no matter how good a deal I get on the media, the value will still drop over time. Even if absolute value holds up, the value relative to my personal use for any given item plummets due to the sheer volume of things to consume. And even if I could consume everything, these are still mostly amusements, not usually something that makes me better personally (I suppose Kindle or Audible non-fiction books or some meaningful documentaries are the exceptions).
The drawbacks to having an ever-growing collection of things are glaring. But at least for me, having all of my digital media, new and old, a few clicks away from being enjoyed is enough to scratch the hoarding itch. My wife couldn’t be happier.