Space-Time Tradeoff

It is a pretty common strategy in programming circles to make programs run faster by making them use more space (for example, by caching some results from long computations so they don’t need to be done too often). But there is also another kind of space-time tradeoff: something not very elegant is taking a little too much space, but cleaning it up would take too much time and there are more important things to do. It occurred to me that I do this space-time tradeoff in my life outside of programming as well.

I have gathered piles and piles of once-important papers, magazines, books and so forth that I don’t think I will ever read. Likewise, I own a pile of clothes I will probably never wear again. I am sure I have lots of other things I basically never use, but I still have them stored somewhere, taking up unnecessary space. But if I wanted to get rid of all this stuff, I would need to spend quite a bit of time going through each potentially unneeded thing, deciding if I was ever going to use it, and if not, what should I do with it. So I reason that it is better to not worry about the unnecessary junk, as long as I have a place to put down a few important-for-now-at-least things…

Or it could just be that I am trying to rationalize being a pack-rat.

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