Wednesday, 25 February 2015

What to do with old diaries?

I'm currently decluttering. I'm coming to the end of a February decluttering challenge (more on that to come!) and I'm also following a year long organisational programme - Declutter 365. I've always thought that I was quite good at getting rid of things, but I'm amazed with some of the things I've been keeping that I'd forgotten all about.

One thing that I unearthed recently was a big box of my old diaries. I did know that they were there, but the box had been pushed to the back of the wardrobe and I'd not seen it for a while. This is just a few of them...

Collection of old diaries

I started keeping a diary around 1990, in my final year at primary school, and carried on pretty much until I went to University in 1998. There is a 2002 diary in the box, but I gave up around March that year. I always used A5 hardback diaries, beginning with two days to a page and working up to each day being an entire A5 page. I usually filled the page, and I stuck in various tickets, free stickers from magazines, and ephemera as well.

The diaries themselves are mainly pretty boring to be honest. They contain detailed descriptions of what I got up to in each lesson at school that day, along with plenty of teenage angst which makes me cringe when I read it back. It's like reading something written by a different person, and I can't believe that I got myself so worked up over such little things.

My instant reaction was to bin them, as I find them very difficult to read back. But when I asked for opinions on Instagram, almost everyone said I should keep them! I would hate for anyone else to read them though, so a note to family and friends - when I'm gone, burn them!

Although I stopped keeping such detailed diaries, I still kept a holiday journal with long accounts of our travels. But on my birthday last year I began keeping a diary again. I have a Five-Year Memory Book where I write just a few sentences each night about what I've been up to that day. In years to come I can bore Ram before bed with details of what we were up to on that day in previous years. I also have my Smash Book, which I've started to use as a way to keep a few notes about memorable days and holidays, as well as a place to stick in tickets and other daily life ephemera. This is a really quick double page spread that I did the other day for our recent holiday to Disneyland Paris:

Disneyland Paris smash book page

Do you have an embarrassing box of old diaries? I'd love to know what other people do with them! I can't help feeling that I'd feel much happier if I just binned the whole lot, but I don't want to regret it!

8 comments:

  1. I've kept most of mine I binned one from when I was 16 my mental health wasn't great I hate what I wrote in there so tore it up when I was better very cathartic! X

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    1. I think I might find it cathartic to rip up some of mine!

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  2. Think you're right to hold on to your old diaries, though know what you mean about not really wanting to read through them - that's exactly how I'd feel... if I ever found mine!
    LIke the idea of a Memory Book though, and lovely holiday collage.

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    1. I've stuck them back in the box at the top of the wardrobe, I tried to read though them but just couldn't bear it!

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  3. When my mum died, we had to go through her house, and I found my old leavers books from school - highly amusing, and I had obviously missed some of the comments before. And some diaries, although most had been chucked years ago. Think I wrote mine from 1991-95, so mid secondary school. And they were really boring to read, just who I fancied etc.

    Kate Davis, blogging at DarkTea, blogged about some of her old diaries. I think if I had nicer handwriting I'd do more journalling, but I'm not sure anyone else would be interested in reading my diaries, so I was fine to let those go. The school leavers books, I wasn't sure - I kind of wished I'd kept them, if only to prove to my OH how many boys fancied me!

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    1. I found a great book from school where all my friends had written stuff and I'd found a photo of each friend to stick next to what they had written, I'm definitely keeping that. I've delayed making a decision on the diaries for the time being, but I think they will end up going at some point. They just don't have any sentimental value for me!

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  4. I've been meaning to comment on this for months, and didn't realise that Emma had already mentioned me. This is definitely a topic that I'm very interested in. It is 25 years since I started writing the first diary I kept and I shared some of the amusing statements I'd written on my blog on the same date. I seem to have had a break or I just can't find the next diary so haven't done one for a while.

    Like you I'm not sure what to do with them, but I'm reluctant to get rid of them. I did some research and came up with a list of suggestions, although some of them are destructive. I'd love to turn them all electronic and tag different entries so I can search them by person, event or location - but realistic I don't do that for my photographs so can't see it happening for my diaries
    http://www.darktea.co.uk/blog/suggestions-old-diaries-journals

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing your post which I enjoyed reading after Emma's comment above! I always thought even when I was writing my diaries that I'd type them all up somewhere but now that I read them back they are really boring so I'm not sure that I could stand to do it!

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