'I have 25,000 photos on my phone, but I won't delete any. Not even the blurry ones.'

Remember the days when smartphone technology was new and… kind of a bit shit? Where you’d go to do something like take a photo only for an alert to pop up telling you your storage is full? Thank Christ technology has saved us, with larger inbuilt storage as well as cloud technology making it so you seemingly never run out of space.

Unfortunately this has created a new problem though. You know those moments where you really want to find a cute pic you took of your kid/pet/self approximately three years ago, and in order to do so, you need to scroll through thousands – or even tens of thousands – of photos in order to find it? Yeah, that’s a problem.

I keep seeing advertisements for apps that target this specific issue by deleting multiples of photos, and the kind of crappy and blurry ones. Because you don’t need 26 shots of your kid doing the same thing, all taken within a 30 second window. Or do you?

Kelly James phone photos
"My middle child. You can’t tell, but I can," says Kelly James. Source: Supplied.

With everyone banging on about Marie Kondo-ing their lives, clearing away their emotional clutter along with the Tupperware lids that don’t fit anything, I’ve considered doing the same with the nearly 25,000 photos on my iPhone. It’s like a clogged inbox, causing me needless stress, but the thought of deleting photos gave me an anxiety like no other.

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You see, right now I don’t need the multiple photos of my kids doing the same action, making the same face, or wearing the same outfit. But I started to think, “what if I delete these photos, and something awful happens to one of them?” As someone who suffers the double whammy of anxiety and OCD, catastrophising and intrusive thoughts are a pretty regular occurrence, as well as the idea that by doing an action (in this case, deleting the photos), I’d be tempting fate to take one of my kids away.

Kelly James phone photos
"My youngest and I on New Years Eve. This is one of the better ones I took that night." Source: Supplied.

While I look at an album full of pretty terrible, blurry, and frankly not very photogenic pictures now and think I have no possible use for them, I also know very well that if something were to happen to one of my kids, I would want every single blurry, unfocused, and awful photographic memory I could get my hands on, and it still wouldn’t be enough.

I could certainly move them onto another form of storage, but I don’t think it would make me feel any better. Despite the clutter and the difficulty when I want to find a particular picture, it feels safe to have nearly 10 years’ worth of photos in the palm of my hand, whenever I need them.

I guess I can clear out the miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen Kondo style, but my digital clutter is here to stay.