How can journalling help you store less clutter?

This is an interesting one and is really only something you can do going forward to guarantee it to work, however you can certainly go back and try and fill in the gaps.

No matter what, the majority of the conversations I have with people and where they struggle most is with the things they have memories attached to. They can’t let go because they are scared that the memory will fade and will be lost forever. By keeping said item they are forever reminded of that moment in time. However, I am sure you have also found this, the memory isn’t perfect. It is a bit blurry round the edges. The exact date may be forgotten, the exact location or who you were with or what the weather was doing etc and so as time goes on it is more the feeling that you keep onto rather than the specific memory and that is what is so hard to let go of. That feeling.

When we think of journaling, many of us think of writing out our feelings, gratitude lists, habit trackers and our goals and dreams but don’t forget about using them for reflection at the end of each day. This is where I would like to focus.

What if, from whatever date we have the boxes and boxes of keepsakes from, we had kept a journal. An entry every day of the date, how we felt and any important memories you wanted to keep hold of. Or not even every day, just the important ones, the ones we didn’t want to forget? What if, we could have a little book full of memories, one where we have left gaps for photos to be added and a small memento that can fit in the book.

Those memories wouldn’t be forgotten as everything you wanted to remember about that moment would be there, in black and white for you forever. The memory wouldn’t be blurry and even once you are no longer here, others can re-live those moments for you too.

It doesn’t even need to be on paper, it could be stored digitally, a private blog that key people have access to so that no matter what it isn’t lost.

Photo by Lisa on

Let’s think back to those items again. You know, those boxes in the loft that you last looked at when you were trying to find the birth certificate or when you were moving house? How much space are they taking up in your home? How much are you holding onto around your home? How much will your loved ones have to decide whether it was worth keeping or not when you are no longer here (I know that is something none of us like to think of but a reality we all have to face).

Imagine instead those boxes being across a few books, books you could even have out on display to be looked over, stories you can share with others with the pictures or items right there next to your words? Would that take up less space? Would that mean less turmoil every time you think of decluttering? Would that mean your memories are re-lived more often?

Of course, if you are reading this now and thinking it is a great idea but a bit late for you, it is something you can start. Or why not try piecing together some of those memories and backfilling what you can. Take pictures of those items and decide what you may now feel like you can let go of. They may be blurry memories, but they aren’t suddenly going to get clearer.

Photo by Lisa on

For me, my next project like this is with the pandemic. Currently I have a box full of things I have collected from the first lockdown, home-schooling, the prime minister’s letters, first covid tests etc. It is a time that we all know is going to end up in the history books and so is something I would love to pass down to my children to perhaps show their children once it does become a piece of history (please let it be over by then!) I am not going to keep the whole box though. When I have a spare evening, I will go through it, purge what doesn’t spark that feeling anymore or what shows a significant part of the lockdown journey or is too big to physically keep and put it together in a little scrapbook with my thoughts, feelings, and the memories along with the photos I have printed. I know that book will hold far more value to my family in the future than a whole box of what to them will seem like junk as they won’t know what a random mask in a box meant or my son’s picture of a rainbow that I have kept from our window with the symbol likely long forgotten. The picture of me on my laptop, my daughter lying on my back and my son trying to show me something won’t have any significance to them, but the words alongside will help make sense of that time. It is better for me to write it now whilst the significance of those items makes sense and the very raw feelings for us all are still there than trying to re-count in even 10 years’ time just what those memories really were.

So, I guess, what I am trying to say is that journaling, as well as being incredible for the mind, incredible for treasuring memories, is also a fabulous little life hack when saving space too and when we take all the emotion out of decluttering that is what it is. So actually, journaling is absolutely great for decluttering and one that many won’t have even thought of until now.

2 thoughts on “How can journalling help you store less clutter?

  1. Interesting. I’ve never really seen journalling as a decluttering practice, but maybe now I do. I myself have journaled daily for years, and I’m glad I did, even though sometimes I didn’t feel like it. Anyway, thanks for this post!


    1. It certainly won’t be for everyone but definitely something to explore and see if it can work for you. It is good to start thinking outside the box though and finding new solutions to the most common declutter objections.


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