Why I always throw away my journals

The concept that stood out most to me in this video is when she said that the thing that we hold onto the most is often the very thing we need to let go of. I've stumbled on this practice myself in my own personal organizing. The most recent "big" thing I've let go of were my journals. I threw them all away. Yup. And it's something I do regularly. 

I remember when I wrote a guest post on Miss Minimalist, I shared about how I throw away my journals. I got a lot of comments from people who were really intrigued by the idea. They started to contemplate what kind of de-cluttering action they could take with their own pile (or boxes!) of journals. The idea forced them to get honest with themselves and even admit that their old journal collection was starting to cause them anxiety. Just the thought of someone else reading what they wrote in privacy was unpleasant.

It's a personal decision in the end. For me, journals are a TOOL to help me grow and think things through. They represent a version of myself that I've outgrown. I don't want to identify with an old version of myself. I want to focus on the NEW. I don't want to "look back" over past experiences. I want to make NEW and BETTER experiences. Throwing away my journals is like an affirmation to myself - an affirmation that practically shouts, "IT'S TIME TO GET OUT THERE AND WRITE A NEW STORY."

I see so many people who talk so much about their past as if it's this wonderful, glorious thing and the best time they can ever expect to have. I don't want to fall into that thinking. In my world, THE BEST IS YET TO COME. My past has nothing on my future.

So it's kind of an interesting process - I write in a journal for my personal development and I throw them away for my personal development.

There's a romanticized idea of leaving your journals for "generations to come," but I don't want to be limited by that idea either. I don't want my journals to be my legacy. I want the stuff I create in THE WORLD and on THIS BLOG to be my legacy. If I have something worth sharing and teaching, it goes HERE on this blog in order to give value to the world NOW, not after I die.

So in the end, I think you just have to choose. You have to weigh the pros with the cons according to what your value system is I guess. Maybe if you really think your journal entries are worth passing on, then put it in an ebook and self-publish it, or start sharing them in a blog...what are you waiting for?


  1. I like when you challenge my thinking. I consider my journals so sacred but after 30 years of journaling you can imagine the amount of space they take up! Every time I see the pile of them collecting dust on shelves & in boxes, their "sacredness" diminishes. 98% of what is in them is stuff I don't want anyone else to read so its time to purge...

  2. That's a powerful comment and reflects my sentiments too.

    I do professional organizing for other people and I'm fond of pointing out that if something is really treasured, it would hold a place of significance and actively give value to people. That's not to say that there isn't SOME kind of value in an item, but I try to ask myself, "What value is this giving to ME in my life right now and moving forward?"

    Let me know how the purge goes! It's scary, but it feels great after!

  3. What I've noticed is when people (and myself) take that leap and let go of something - even if it has value - then something of even greater value and significance comes into their lives. Happens every time!


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