Someone wrote yesterday in the comments section:
"I'm looking forward to the day when you help someone deal with 35 years of their old diaries. I've kept mine because personally I would have been so thrilled if one of my ancestors had kept a written record, as I have, and it had come down to me. Maybe there is someone in the future who will feel as I do. And of course the old books, containing letters and photos, can be fun to dip into because I've forgotten so many details about my own past. But also -- they are quite boring sometimes and even embarrassing ("how could I have been such a ninny?") and I think maybe it would be good to have a bonfire with them, especially since my home is small and lacks storage space."
Most everyone I work with initially defends their need to keep the diaries. A lot of emotions went into the personal writings and that's the first thing people feel when they come across them. I've had the same experience myself. Then I saw that I was defending my original experience of the writing, and not the books that were currently in front of me. It was the writing that I cared for and not what was written. That made it easier for me to let them go. I like how you said after taking a closer look that your diaries are "quite boring". Yesterday I was helping a client clutter bust her old diaries. She was feeling kind of stuck. Then she took the time to see what she had written and said, "I'm saying the same thing over and over again."
I think you honored the diaries by considering their value to you. This made you open up to the idea of letting them go in a bonfire, which would give you the gift of more space in your home.
Another of my blog readers read the original comment and wrote this comment:
"Brooks helped me clutter bust 35 years of old diaries about 2 weeks ago. I was keeping them for the same reason you were...we're so noble! But I kept seeing them there in the basement room that I couldn't go into because of the moldy smell (later I found out it was the journals themselves). There must have been a part of me that wanted to let go of them, since I hid them away and let them get ruined. What a relief to ditch them! I no longer worry about my son reading about embarrassing things in my personal life. With Brooks's help, I chose one non-moldy representative journal from each 5-year period, and put them up in my office. Then I ditched the rest. That room is now becoming a workroom for my son and my dad -- a true carrying of experience into the future!"