General Question

norah's avatar

Should I throw away all my old journals?

Asked by norah (241points) June 28th, 2010

It’s been 20 years of journal writing and I’ve been lugging them around… I never look back at them. Can I finally just junk them?

I have tons of letter too. I may keep some of them, because many are lovely love letters, but still….

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24 Answers

Ltryptophan's avatar

no, and if you decide to why not pay to have someone digitize them. If you get rid of all that information someone close to you might never have the opportunity to get to know what kind of life you’ve led. Maybe there is some important writing in there that all of us would be interested in as well!

SmashTheState's avatar

Many years ago I made the decision to get rid of all the “keepsakes” I’d been dragging with me from apartment to apartment. I got rid of my old school yearbooks, my comic book collection, my my photo albums, and all the rest. The important stuff I carry in my head, and if I should forget it, then I’ll never miss it, will I? I was tired of being owned by my possessions. I regularly strip myself down to only what I can carry in a backpack (plus my computer) to keep my life simple. I say, burn the fuckers.

SuperMouse's avatar

It is of course totally up to you, but I would vote to keep them. I too have been journaling for some 20 years and I hold onto my journals for a couple of reasons. First, I like to look through them from time to time. Second, I have this goofy vision of my children looking through them after I have gone and getting to know me a bit better. I really wish I had something like that from my own parents in order to get a glimpse into their lives.

As for the letters, I kept a lot of mine for a long, long time, but I finally tossed them. I had hundreds of birthday cards and other assorted cards I had received over the years. I got rid of them after cleaning out my grandparent’s storage unit and finding over 60 years worth in there. In the end I know they didn’t ever go through them and my sister and I just tossed them in the trash.

asmonet's avatar

No, never.

I would love to look through a parents or grandparents journal. And years and years later it’s a fabulous record of the time period. Who knows, you could end up in a museum. :)

WestRiverrat's avatar

You could find a museum or historical society that may want them. If you decide to get rid of them, look into donating them to one. They may be a burden to you now, but one day they may be cherished treasures of your great grandchildren.

casheroo's avatar

No way! You’ll enjoy reading them when you’re older.

reijinni's avatar

No, besides they might need that stuff to write your biography.

Blackberry's avatar

No way, you would be wasting all of that effort, just keep them and read them 10 years later to reminisce.

janbb's avatar

You can do whatever you want with them; they’re your journals. Just be sure you won’t regret it; perhaps putting them away for a year or two and seeing if you miss them would be a good precursor to junking them?

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, I surely would not.

Last week, 27 years after my father’s death, his old journals came to me. They are an inestimable treasure.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I tend to destroy my journals every so often. I wouldn’t want people reading what I’ve written in them so I destroy them. If it was something I wouldn’t have minded other people reading, I may have kept them.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Your grandchildren would really enjoy them. They would be something precious from the past. Unless there is something you don’t want others to know about, I’d say keep them. You can always throw them away later. But once gone there is no turning back.

stemnyjones's avatar

I won’t throw mine away. They are filled with the reasons why I should never go back to drugs.

norah's avatar

I guess I should clarify, that, God forbid anybody ever reads these things. They are mildly interesting to me, but I haven’t looked at them in 5 years and don’t have much desire. It’s just hard to chuck a historical record, regardless… I would only hope though, that if something happened to me, someone would have the good sense to throw them away. They are not what I want as my legacy.

jazmina88's avatar

no…mine have song lyrics in them

Seaofclouds's avatar

@norah In that case, I would destroy them myself so that I didn’t have to rely on someone else doing it.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Seal them in a time capsule to be opened 100 years after your death.

Jeruba's avatar

How old are you, @norah? And do you have children?

Here’s a point: if you don’t throw them away now, you can always do it later. If you do, it’s irreversible. You’re here asking opinions, so this means you’re not sure. The answer is within the question, and it says: wait.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Norah, I agree with the inestimable @Jeruba. If you are not absolutely certain you want to destroy these documents, then wait. They may be a treasure someday for someone you love or will someday love.

janbb's avatar

I have to disagree with the general trend here. There are a few notebooks I kept at a time in my life which I would not survivors to read. I think I chucked them but I’m not sure and it troubles me. I don’t think there’s anything sacrosanct about the written word and if you think it’s time for them to go, it may be time.

CMaz's avatar

Send them my way.

Sounds like the a movie in the making. With the end being, the Fluther spaceship and all its people crashing into the sun.

silverfly's avatar

Trash em’. I think journals are meant to be kept personal… a way of telling your thoughts to the universe and to yourself. You’ve already written in them. The thoughts are exposed and the deed is done. They have no more use. You could read them in the future, but the mere fact that you’re interested in throwing them away justifies the act. Go for it! It could be more liberating than any amount of years you could keep them.

ericnueman's avatar

Whatever you no longer use.Get rid of and start a whole new set of Journals!

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