How to get rid of old journals? (diaries)

postumMay 18, 2009

Hi everyone,

I haven't been to this forum for a while! I recently read "Clutter Busting: Letting go of what's holding you back" and found it very inspirational. It made me decide to get rid of all of my old journals and diaries, which are really just a catalog of bad relationships, angst, self-pity, etc. I want to let it all go!

My problem is I don't know how to get rid of them. Some are in bound volumes, some in spiral notebooks. I would love to burn them (I like the symbolism) but there are strict laws in my town about burning. I sure don't feel comfortable throwing them in the trash. (I really want them destroyed. Also, our local landfill has an "artist in residence" program where artists make things out of trash.) Anyhow, I want them gone.

I'm afraid if I start going through them and ripping out pages I'll be tempted to read and not have the courage to go on.

If I piled them up, they would probably make a stack about 12 feet high. Yikes.

Any ideas??



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Look around town for a company that shreds documents. I found a place nearby that you can drive up, give them a box of documents, and they'll shred them in their big commercial shredder so nobody has to tear out any pages. You can even watch them get shredded if you want to be sure no one looks through them. They charged by the pound - I think about 15 cents per pound.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:49PM
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What's monumental is that you've finally decided to let them go. I completely understand wanting to destroy due to privacy issues.

If you can't find a shredding Co. as suggested you have a friend or family who doesn't live in town who would agree to let you go to their place and burn?

If no to the above, I would say suck it up and just rip and shred on your own. Don't hang on to your fears and temptations as an excuse to not get rid of them.

You are in control of the situation. Just as you found it inside you to get rid of them, you also have it inside of you to not be afraid & not stop to read.

Put on a favorite movie that motivates you for your current and future life. Pull up a your and shred...and don't look back. You don't have to do it all in 1 day or sitting, unless that's what you feel you need to do.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 7:50PM
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I rerally like the idea of burning them. Couldn't you buy a small camp stove or hibatchi and use that? It's not like burning a pile of leaves.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:59PM
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Oh, I think I would fix a drink, make a campfire, and spend an evening feeding the fire. The symbolism is powerful, and it seems worthy of making an event of letting go of a time of your life that held you back. We are able to burn wood in a chiminea in our garden, and also have a firepit. Could you do something like that? If not, maybe you have a park that has grills for charcoal fires?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 6:07PM
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yeah go on a camping vacation and take them along for firestarters..

but no..really..take a razor blade and cut along the bindings..then put them through the shredder..or put them in the bottom of a garbage bag with WET DIRTY garbage in it will soak into the pages so no one would want to read them.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 10:20AM
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When I throw out old credit cards or bank books or anything with personal or financial information, I cut it up and mix it in my cat litter box. So far, no one has had the nerve to go thru cat pooh looking for my identity information.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 1:29PM
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Fire + red wine.

Find a way to make it happen.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:22PM
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Thank you everyone for all your support! I love all of your ideas!

I was a little worried that you'd think I was paranoid for just not trashing them. I am trying to find a local shredding company - no luck yet - they all seem to only deal with businesses.

I've also been looking at shredders (the idea of putting a movie in and doing it makes it seem less painful) but the less expensive shredders (under $200 - and that's way more than I want to pay) all have a 10 minute on/40 minute off cycle (or similar.) I'd be there for years!

I live in the coastal hills of California, right next to a state park, so burning them in my (unused for 3 years) fire pit is out of the question during this drought.

People do have bonfires on the beach, and I am considering that. I'd like to keep it as personal as possible, and having a bonfire I'd need DH along as a minimum. Hauling all those boxes across the beach doesn't sound like much fun - but dancing around the bonfire does :-) It gets kind of crazy on the beach at the solstice.

Another thought is to start tearing them up and putting them in the worm compost - those little guys go through paper fairly quickly.

Thanks again - I'll keep you updated!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 6:35PM
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Get the shredder! It will make a lot of difference in your life even after the journals are gone. I shredded my journals, and it didn't take as long as I expected. Our shreds go into the compost... I think you're on the right track with the worms.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 4:35PM
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I don't have any better ideas, but I think it is wonderful you are doing this. I hope you find some way that brings you peace.

And even if you get the less expensive shredder, you can probably do one a day until they are gone...?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 5:17PM
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I recommend a low end shredder. I have a $10 shredder from Walmart. Shreds appox 6 sheets of paper plus staples. It may not sound like a lot, but you can just "keep them coming". I think it will go a lot faster than you think.

I'm sure your 12 feet stack of notebooks looks like a lot to the eyeballs, but I think once you get going...even with a few sheets at a time, it's not going to be as monumental as what you think. I recall I shredded an entire notebook once, and it only took about 10 mins to get it all done.

I also think you'll find a low end shredder will shred faster than you can rip out of a notebook.

Don't make this more of a project than it is. You've had them this long...just start somewhere and it will get done.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 7:29PM
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And I recommend that you skip the wine if you use the shredder--keep your fingers!
Seriously, I recently shredded a lot of old paystubs and found that I had also built it up to be a big chore, and then it went really fast and I said, why did I wait so long? I don't remember our shredder brand, but it is not high-end and it even doesn't feed quite right any longer--there is a "knack" required--but once you are on a roll with it, it works great.

So you likely have a lot of the same "psycho" barriers and just talking it out and getting past those and getting up the nerve is all you need.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 10:55AM
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I was going to suggest what jannie did. if you get the shredder make a date with yourself a movie night or something and do 2 or 3 a week.

next time you want to do a journal do it on the computer then you can just delete it!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:01AM
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honestly, unless you list full names and addresses, how likely is anyone to trace these back to you?

I say trash them and wash your hands of them. Shredding will be WAY too much work.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 9:00PM
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