I've never watched the popular cable show about hoarding, but I can understand how people who tune in might feel a sort of horrified fascination. I think it might be akin to our interest in reading celebrity gossip columns in the newspaper or magazines. (I officially know I'm getting old because I've never heard of most of the people being written about.)
After receiving my Kindle Fire for Christmas last year it didn't take long for me to find out how I could receive daily emails informing me about free or low-cost ebooks. Before I knew it, my Kindle library was stuffed with dozens of fascinating books I knew I would love to read.
How many have I actually read? I am too ashamed to reveal that pitifully small number.
The other source of virtual hoarding for me is Pinterest. I think I joined Pinterest last year and initially spent hours trolling through everyone's newest pins every day repinning like crazy. (Here's a major confession. I went onto Pinterest to double check something while writing this, got sucked right in and was pinning and repinning before I knew what hit me.)
Do I ever go and look back to see what's on my boards? No.
Does this suck hours away from my day? Yes.
Are Pinterest and downloaded ebooks inherently evil? No.
Is downloading books I won't live long enough to read and pinning ideas on my boards that I don't even bother looking at a wise use of my time? No.
Why do I feel compelled to become entangled in virtual hoarding? In real life I'm the antithesis of a hoarder. I'm constantly sorting through my possessions and donating or throwing them away. I am entranced by the thought of simplicity and minimalism.
I don't like piles, I don't like mess and I don't like chaos. But I do like books and reading. Storing books on my Kindle allows me to indulge my passion for reading at no expense of money and space.
I also like recipes, humor, decorating and craft ideas and Doctor Who (I really need to write about my Doctor Who fixation sometime soon.) and Pinterest allows me to collect and store all of these "ideas".
I don't have any collections of things in my home (mainly because I hate having to dust), but Pinterest allows me to collect whatever I like for free and without having to find room to store my collections or dust them.
But, realizing the ridiculousness of hoarding virtual books and ideas a few months ago, I stopped reading the daily emails that lured me to download lots and lots of free books I might want to read someday. I just open those emails occasionally. When I see something interesting I stop and ask myself, "Will you really, honestly read this book?" Most of the time I ruefully answer myself, "No, you idiot." And so, I don't download.
What about Pinterest? I just stopped cold turkey. Every month or two I'll pop on and take a look, but at the end of my browsing I see that an hour or more has passed and am shocked that I've used so much time accomplishing nothing. That realization is what keeps me from away from Pinterest.
So, like all things in life, I need to exercise moderation. The things I am attracted to and enjoy aren't usually bad, but should probably be enjoyed in very small doses.