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How to Get Rid of Sentimental Stuff

The 1 Item I Can't Seem to KonMari but Need To

I love everything about Marie Kondo's KonMari Method of tidying up. I have followed every instruction to a T, given away 90 percent of my possessions, and developed better organizational habits than ever before. And yet, there's one thing I can't seem to give up yet: my journals. There's a section in the book — the last section — that deals with this. "Sentimentals" are the most difficult thing to purge, which is why Marie Kondo waits until readers have mastered her method before tackling them. Unlike books, furniture, or clothing, you can't replace things like hand-written cards, printed-out photos, or, in my case, journals that I've kept since I was 6 years old. How can I give them up?

My journals have documented my friendships, my heartbreaks, my journey from Texas to California, my dreams coming true, the hardships I've overcome, and how my voice has matured and changed over the years. They are my life sketched out, and I feel deeply attached to them. I have about six plastic containers full of journals. They are eyeing me, begging to be KonMaried. I've been avoiding them (for over a year now)! There have been times where I've felt compelled to trash them all. I'll pull them down from the top of my closet to start the ceremony, and then, unable to bear the thought of losing those words forever to a trash dump, I'll quickly put them back up again.

Marie Kondo's latest book, The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story, touched on the subject of journals. To paraphrase, she says that most people think journals hold memories, but the truth is, most journals are just a vessel of processing difficult emotions and releasing pent-up frustrations on paper. Memories stay with us in our heads, not journals. Keeping journals with all that negativity can make a person and house feel heavy. She recommends only keeping one journal from the happiest year of your life — that's it — then releasing the rest.

Mulling over this, I have come to realize that possessing my journals hasn't really "sparked joy" or made me feel like I'm living in the present with space for the future. I need to tackle them, too, without so much attachment. I don't know when I'll have time to read through six boxes of journals to find the one that sparks joy, but then again, I have no idea how I managed to KonMari all of my belongings. I guess I'll just take a journal on, a little bit each day. Then I can honestly say I have tackled everything and none of my past is holding me back from enjoying my present.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Paul Kabata
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