July 26, 2020 6 min read


Journals hold your deepest darkest secrets, memories, moments in time that you may otherwise forget. They are also great ways to teach children not to make the same mistakes that you have made in the past, or they can be used to show who you are as a person. But, they also take up precious space and collect dust.

Should You Keep Your Old Journals or Not? There is a myriad of reasons why you should keep your old journals. They are filled with precious memories of your past. At the same time, if you aren't planning on writing anymore, then you should consider not keeping those old journals.

Journals hold bits and pieces of our memories, personas, emotions, and inner thoughts. Hopefully, this article will give you a few good things to think about as you are pondering whether to keep or throw away your timeline filled notebooks.

Why Keep Old Journals?

Even if you haven't picked up the pen or pencil in a long while, that doesn't mean that you're ready to throw away your old journals. Here are seven simple reasons for why you should be keeping your old journals and not throwing them away.

Reason 1- Memorabilia

Potentially years later, you may want to remember a fun moment in your life from when you were younger or remember when you had your first kiss or when to your first concert. Things are things that you may not have captured in pictures and will eventually fade over time with age, but you will have them written down on paper or saved to a hard drive electronically.

Reason 2- Legacy

Lots of people in the world want to be known for doing something in the world after they die. They want to leave behind a piece of them so that people will know who they are and the different things that they may or may not have done to help in the world. They want their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to be able to read about their parents/grandparents' lives growing up—a different way of telling a story than looking at a few old pictures.

Reason 3- Easy Autobiography Material

More or less, your entire autobiography is there in the stack of journals that you keep in your desk drawer. You need to fill in the other empty places, do a bit of editing and ta-da! You have your very own autobiography done and waiting to be published.

Reason 4- If not Autobiography, Then Maybe a Good Novel

Plenty of writers/authors have done this. That's where you get an excellent book that people will use boxes of tissues while reading or share with friends over long hard laughs. These are the types of stories that become hit trends and eventually turn into popular trendy movies.

Reason 5- Picking Up The Pen

Many people have found that, every once in a while, they want to go back to journaling. Yourself included, luckily, you decided to keep your old journals and were able to pick up the pen again from where you last left off a week, month, or year ago from your last journal entry.

Reason 6- Important Dates

You may have written down essential dates in some of your journal entries. For example, you may have written the day of your child's birth, your wedding day, 50th birthday, a best friend's baby shower, or your brother's death and funeral. These are dates and other memories that you don't want to forget as memory fades with age. By having them in your journal, you can go back and remember the past.

Reason 7- Thoughtful Notes

Sometimes people don't write pages upon pages of journal entries. There are times where you may only write a phrase that you heard from a TV show, a talk show, or something a friend may have said that you wanted to remember. If you are feeling down, you may and wish to have an uplifting moment to yourself, or something to laugh at you may go back to one of your old journals and read your previous journal entries.

Why Throw Away Old Journals?

Just like any other sentimental thing that you own, you find it hard to let go of when it comes to cleaning our basement, room, or the overflowing storage closet. Here are five simple reasons why you should throw away your old journals.

Reason 1- Three Words: Clutter, Clutter, and More Clutter

All of the journals you have used or collected over the years, probably ended up on a shelf, stacked on your desk, in your desk drawer, in a box down in the basement, or piled up in the corner of your room collecting dust. In other words, these journals filled with memories, emotions, and random ramblings that have been forgotten and are taking up space.

Reason 2- Personal Privacy Invasion

If you have your journals lying around, someone else may decide to satisfy his or her curiosity and crack open a pandora's box of exciting and unwanted secrets. This issue is a significant reason why many people have thrown away their journals because trust is broken over privacy being invaded and hurt feelings.

Reason 3- No Autobiography?

There is no need to keep your old journals if you aren't planning on writing your autobiography any time soon. If they were a hobby when you were younger but didn't plan on continuing then, there is no need to keep them around any longer.

Reason 4- No Real Reason

If you can't figure out a reason as to why you are keeping your old journals, you are better off throwing them away. Ask yourself, "Do I need to keep this journal?" if the answer is yes, then ask yourself, "what am I going to do with this journal?". Don't take too long to ponder over these questions. If you can't find an answer, then you should throw the journal away, or else you will find yourself making excuses to keep the journals.

Reason 5- Damaged or Lost

Due to a simple water spill, the hours of emotional work will be lost in watered out ink upon the pages or pages that may be wearing out in the old journals that you are still hanging onto. Another reason to get rid of your journals is that they may get lost if you are moving into another house or cleaning up your room. There may be a volume or two lost in the house that you end up finding years later.

What to Do With Finished Journals?

If you don't want to continue to keep a stack of journals and notebooks lying around, you can always try keeping an electronic journal that you can back up onto a hard drive. That way, if the paper versions get water damage or the ink gets smudged, or the pages wear out and tear, you have a backed-up hard drive filled with your precious memories.

But the main question remains: To keep or not to keep that is the question. If you do decide to keep those old journals, don't leave them lying around waiting for them to collect dust or get ruined by potential damage.

Instead, you can get them laminated or carefully remove pages and put them away for safekeeping in a scrapbook. By doing so, you will be able to keep your favorite journaled pages for many years to come. That way, you can show them to family, friends, children, and grandchildren.

If you don't want to keep your journals and their secrets, anyone up for a bonfire? Why not bring along some marshmallows and friends for a journal burning party? You can each read a page or two out of your journal and then burn the said page as you share about your life in the comfort of family and good friends. If you don't want to burn the journals, you can also shred the pages and then throw away the empty book.

A different option is that you can give your partially filled journal to your child or children so that they can start their journaling journey. You can also gather friends together and put a journal or two into a time capsule or two and buy it in a park, in your backyard, or a hidden location out in the woods somewhere.


Either way, you have the choice to keep or throw away your journals. Whatever you choose, remember that you can always grab a pen or pencil and a new journal to reignite the flames and start a new journaling journey.


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