Wednesday, June 27, 2012

De-cluttering journals

When a loved one dies, their journals are a priceless artifact that allows their memory to live on.  However, there are different difficulties that can crop up in deciding who gets to keep the journals. 

If there is only one journal and more than one person who is interested in having it, the best method would be to hire someone to type up the journal so that others can have copies. 

If the departed was a prolific journal-writer, the solution can be as simple as dividing the journal volumes up among those interested, however, a new problem also arises: no one person has a copy of the whole story.  There are several solutions for this:
·      Someone could read through all the journals and create a condensed life narrative incorporating the most important events in the life of the deceased so that everyone can get a bird’s eye view.  (Huge project!) 
·      Another solution would be to create a blog that is accessible only to the family, to type of the journals, and upload them onto the blog so that everyone in the family can read them. (Also a huge project!)
·      Another solution might be for each party that has a journal to type up a condensed version of the important events in the journal they have and then compile those summaries together with the others to share with each person. 
·      Another solution might be to ask everyone to pass their journal on to the next person who has a journal so that eventually everyone can read the whole story.  Perhaps a schedule can be made of when to pass the journal on.

I went looking online to see what other people thought about de-cluttering journals and it turns out there is a wide segment of the population that has journalled faithfully through their life and would be “absolutely mortified” if anyone else read what they wrote from their teens and twenties.  (Yes, “absolutely mortified” is the phrase that is universally used.)  Evidently this wide segment of the population has used their journals mostly as a place to vent their anger and frustration and as a place to record the lurid details of their love lives.

So, if you are one of these people, you may wonder how to deal with your journals.  
1. Try looking at your journal as if from the perspective of your great-great-grandson or great-great-granddaughter who knows nothing of you personally except what they’ve been told by their parents or grandparents.  Try looking at it from the perspective of someone who views your present as the distant past and who wonders what it was like to live in “that age.” 
2. For the sake of this distant person, try to select the best things from your journal that you can isolate from the dross and pass on.
3. Read through your journals with a highlighter and outline all the sections that you feel are worth keeping.  If you have more good than bad, tear out the bad or scribble over it with a heavy black marker and tape paper over it.  If you have very little that is good, tear out the good sections to keep and burn the rest of the journal. 
4. Consider producing an “edited” version of your journal.  Feel free to cross things out and write in the margins telling how you look back on this and realize how you wish you had acted or reacted differently and why.  Share what lessons you learned from the experience.  Your experience is not wasted if it helps someone else keep from making the same mistakes you did.

Do you need extra help with organizing and de-cluttering? Hire me! Go to for more information about my services! Did this article help you? Be sure to share it with your friends!

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