Friday, 12 April 2019

How to Let Go of Your Old Journals

 My old journals spanning 24 years.

My first ever journal was a small notebook, started in 1995. In those early days, I felt restricted by that size and leapt to A4 size notebooks. Later, I settled with A5 size ones. You can read more about my reasons for starting here.

So why some 24 years later, have I shred most (not all) of those 30+ journals? It has alot to do with my journey towards a minimalist lifestyle, which started at the beginning of March this year. I've never been one for keeping a lot of clutter but I soon realised that minimalism is a lovely way to actually sniff out all those hidden places where clutter resides.

My journals had been packed away in a box after moving house a few years ago and it now seemed crazy to keep them. So when I opened that box, it was with an intention to let go of paper clutter. I certainly didn't want to read them and I definitely didn't want to leave them as some kind of legacy ... that would've been a burden for anyone inheriting them. 


One of the numerous bags of shredded
journals now headed for recycling.

How did I feel whilst shredding my old journals?

I must admit I did spend a minute or two scanning the opening pages, which transported me right back to the past for a while, but I wanted to stay focused on the task of shredding. Letting go of the past felt like a great move in the right direction, the deal being I was working towards my newfound minimalist lifestyle. This has been an amazing journey and I love where it has taken me. I feel light in mind, body and spirit and have released more positive energy and more clarity than I could've dreamed of. 

Did the journals have any sentimental value?

Surprisingly no, the journals had no sentimental value attributed to them, therefore no relevance in keeping them.

I would've liked to burn those 30+ journals as that may have been more of a symbolic, ceremonious way to let them go, but then I thought that wouldn't of been something easy to do. So I decided on a system of shredding the pages of three journals a day over a period of a few weeks. The final journal was shred on 3rd April.

Did I keep any journals? 

Yes, I did keep a few only because there was still enough empty pages when I'd shred the full ones. I won't use them for journaling but for making notes when the need arises.

Have I completely given up on journaling?


My new Bullet Journal

No, but I keep only a few current ones. The most interesting one is my new Bullet Journal, a rather new development started on 30th March. 

A bullet journal is an analog system created by Ryder Carroll, a designer based in New York. In his words, the Bullet Journal is meant "to help you track the recent past, organise the present, and plan for the future." 

A bullet journal is an amazing system that keeps a record of whatever you want. It's entirely up to you how you design your page spreads. I have been in my element setting up my bullet journal with layouts that include the following:

  • Year at a glance
  • Goals 2019
  • New Month spread (here you can design an image or doodle)
  • Monthly spread (yes, more designs and doodles)
  • Weekly spread
  • Future Log
  • Mind Dump (rather than Brain dump)
  • Quarterly Editorial Planner (for my blog posts)
  • Minimalism Lifestyle Goals
  • Mood & Habit Trackers (very revealing)
  • Meditation Weekly Schedule
  • Books/Articles to Read

My list of page spreads along with everyone's bullet journal spreads are unique. I'd definitely recommend keeping a bullet journal. I have found mine to be very inspiring and the experience has definitely improved my way of organising. 

For all those diehard journal junkies out there, I totally get that you may want to keep your journals that date back some years.

I'd love to hear from you if you've been able to let your journals go. What was the catalyst that sent you, like me, to shred them all?

5 Tips for Letting Go of Old Journals:

  • If your journals have been in a box for a year, then it's time to let them go.
  • Keeping journals 'just in case', is a waste of time (and space). If you suddenly need one of them, will you remember where that particular journal is?
  • Recycle them by shredding them.
  • Don't try to shred them all at once. There's no need to rush this process, after all it took you long enough to create them. But don't give up ... it's best to shred a few each day, but keep going until you've let go of all of them.
  • If letting go of all your journals feels too much, you could scan a few of them and create a photobook of specific pages.

For more on letting go of your journals:

Burning Your Diaries: First Person - The New York Times by Dominique Browning

For more on Bullet Journaling:

How My Bullet Journal Saved My Life - Article by Sarah Maber

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