When I started minimizing I was blown away from the amount of papers and notebooks I had collected and held on to over the years. I had dozens of half used notebooks, several large 4 subject notebooks from college, random scraps of papers, and of course some journals that I had been saving for the future.
Although I really don’t like my handwriting, I loved writing. I loved the feeling of a .38mm G2 pen scratching into my notepads. Looking at my pile of notebooks/papers and journals while considering discarding most of them brought up a few feelings inside of me… anxiety, overwhelm, elation, regret. Then I remembered the documentary I had watched and the book I had read and calmly decided that everything must go.
I took pictures of papers that I had held onto but never looked at for years, then put them in the recycle box. I turned through half used notebooks and did the same. I had boxes of childhood memories I was able so snap pictures of and send to friends/family and give them a good laugh, then recycled the physical papers. I felt happy and calm because I was able take pictures of things I wanted to remember even though I was discarding all of the physical copies.
Some of my journals were too large to take pictures of every page, so I actually still have them (for now). I also have the bags of “keepsakes” that go with certain pages. I plan to take the journals to a copy place where then can take the spine off and scan them into electronic copy. Then I will take pictures of the items and insert them into the electronic copy on the correct pages and then get rid of everything!
I though I would feel sad and empty after recycling everything, but I feel amazing! I no longer have drawers and drawers full of “memories” and “important papers” that I’ve had for years and never looked at again. The feeling I got from recycling and ridding was more impactful and lasting (it’s been a few weeks and I still feel light and free) than the feelings I had going through old memories.
My next thought was, “Do I want to keep using physical journals and just scan then discard after I reach the end, or should I just go electronic?” After some searching I decided that electronic would be the better option. I can use the search bar to look for specific memories way easier than it was looking through a physical journal for specific things. Naturally my first thought was to keep everything in a word document, which would have been fine. But then I decided to go online.
I opened a free account on Penzu because of the amazing reviews, and after entering a few entries I decided to upgrade to the one year plan, so that I could add multiple journals and make them a bit more customizable. I am ecstatic with this decision, because not only can I have a bunch of different journals and stay more organized, but I can access them from anywhere. If I am bored traveling or on break at work I can jot down some thoughts. And best of all, I don’t have notebooks and journals taking up space anymore! When I am ready I can download the journals to my computer and save them or share them. I’m probably going to start an Evernote account that I can put every document I have into for easy searching and less paper use in general.
I still have a notebook next to my bed for those late night thoughts and inspirations because I don’t like using my phone in the middle of the night, but that’s about it now!