It is again almost the end of the year and the time to take decisions about my bullet journal. There will be a series of decision to make, but the first question that came up is a crucial one: What should I do with my old bullet journals?
I started bullet journaling in 2016. In that year I had a simple notebook, but already from January 2017 I moved to a Filofax clipbox, that I adore ever since. This means that I have the luxury of just removing all of the pages at the end of the year and start filling it up again with new pages. I have been keeping the past years, by making a simple book-binding of the loose pages and then storing them in a box. But this doesn’t seem to be the most efficient way after four different years.
Are old bullet journals useful?
This is the first question to answer, in order to find a solution.
Most bullet journalers will answer yes. The bujo has been our companion for quite some time, it includes personal notes, collections that are still interesting today, maybe notes for a project or a recipe. You can’t just throw that up, right? But for sure not everything that is in a bullet journal is interesting, so as to keep it for the years to come, no? And how easy is it to find the information the moment you are looking for the notes on the project or the recipe?
I should note at this point that I am not a very sentimental person about a lot of things. Besides my bullet journal, I am following a minimalist way in my life too. I tend to keep only a few things (that honestly end up in a lot if you have to move). For example, I read a lot of books, but the majority I give away through Bookcrossing. So starting to collect several bullet journals on a shelf doesn’t comply with my way of living.
What is important and what not?
If you decide that you don’t want to keep bullet journals for the sake of keeping them, this is the next question that occurs.
Well, most monthly and weeklies (or dailies if you have – I don’t) are not exactly the most interesting pages in your bullet journal, don’t you agree? In 2017 my husband and I went on a long trip in the southern hemisphere and I kept some kind of journal of what we were doing every day, in a monthly format. These monthlies are messy, but even two years later, I consider them quite interesting. Or if you have had a baby or some other occasion that you have been noting in your bullet journal, you might find that interesting to keep for the years to come. Nevertheless, most of my weeklies are full of house chores, business or doctor appointments and other boring things.
I have a similar problem with my collections. As a junior journaler in the beginning, I was keeping a lot of collections and tracking several things. But as the time was passing, I was abandoning them. By now I keep only two collections: my yearly overview (for more information check my post “How to track your year in a glance!“) and some trackings about the books I read during the year and the reading challenges I follow. I also use my bullet journal for notes about the projects (knitting, crocheting or paper ones) that I do during the year and my gardening. Most of these I would like to keep and not throw away. I can imagine that you have also some collections that you would like to keep.
So what should happen to the important things and what to the not important ones?
And this is the difficult question, which I think can have several answers.
Personally, I decided to separate the wheat from the chaff. I have always liked notebooks and stuff and I had a couple of empty nice looking notebooks that I couldn’t get rid of. So I decided to transfer the important things from my bullet journal to another notebook.
I have been using my bujo to make notes while I knit or crochet. I have created a nice template so as to keep track of my projects, but it soon ends up messy while I work, with notes of the modifications I do to the pattern I use (and I do a lot) here and there. These notes are handy when I do them and important for later if I want to reproduce anything, but it would help if they were a bit cleaner. As a result from quite early, I started keeping a separate notebook about my handwork. So I just move my knitting or crocheting notes to this notebook.
During 2019 I started doing gardening. Surprise, surprise most of my notes are in my bullet journal in templates for gardening that I have created. But these were also working notes and the tables in the end of the year looked quite full with information and plantings of the same vegetables that were overlapping. And since this was also information that might come handy again next year, at least so as to decide which seeds worked and which not, I ended up creating a notebook dedicated to gardening too.
So the only things that are left are my personal collections, which include, my annual roadmap, my book and reading trackings and any notes that I have kept from books. These are the pages that have sentimental value for me, so I decided to choose one of the most special notebooks that I have been keeping and dedicate it to my own personal collection of memories and notes.
The majority of the rest of the pages in bullet journal will probably not be important enough to retrieve in five years (or even less if it is about when i did the washing and when I cleaned the house).
This whole procedureof deciding and copying everything took me a bit of time, but the result was fulfilling. I know feel better with myself and satisfied that the information will be easy to find next time I need it.
Even for me, that I consider myself not so sentimental with things, it was not easy to decide to throw something that reminds me still of several things. I have copied the information that I consider today important, but I won’t throw all of the old versions of my bullet journal in one go. I have set the rule to myself that in the end of each year I will be evaluating if I keep the bujo of four years ago (as a whole or as part). As I result I will be storing only three full versions of a bullet journal. And if something needs more time to be evaluated objectively, the rule can be bent a bit.
So, I ended up with a running bullet journal, three dedicated notebooks (hurrah! some of the notebooks I have been keeping because I like them found their purpose) and three versions of past-year-bujos. Not bad I think. What do you think? What are you doing with the old versions of your bullet journals? Are you keeping them all?