Wondering why so many people are taking up junk journaling? Here are five reasons why.
If you’ve been at all following the latest craft trends, then you’ll surely have heard of junk journals. They’ve been popping up on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and arts and crafts websites for some time now, and they’ve built a loyal following who have fully embraced this intimate version of journaling, which is already a pretty intimate activity anyway.
If you don’t know what junk journaling is, we’ll put it in the simplest terms: it’s basically a journal, or book, that you make yourself using recycled and upcycled materials and ephemera. The journal itself can become a record of anything you like: your written thoughts and feelings, your artwork, your memories, your mementos. Most likely, it’ll be a combination of all these things.
The Benefits of Junk Journaling
Wondering what all the hype is about? As you might expect from a trend that has reached all corners of the globe, there are plenty of reasons why people pick up junk journaling supplies and begin the process of making their own junk journals. We’ll run just five of the most common benefits that people get from the activity, but you’ll likely find many more once you get started!
1. It Has Long-Term Benefits
You’re investing in your future when you create a junk journal. For one thing, you’ll be creating something that you’ll be able to look back on for many years to come. In that sense, the effort you put in now will bring long-term rewards. Who doesn’t wish they’d started a journal twenty years ago? If you start today, then years down the line, you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labors.
And there’s another way that junk journaling positively influences your future, too. It aids the well-being of your mental health. In an age when there’s a lot that can send your mind into chaos, junk journaling offers a welcome, calming reprieve. There’s something deeply therapeutic about picking the colors you’ll use, working with various materials, and simply expressing your thoughts and feelings down on paper.
It’s an activity that very much brings you into the present and which makes you feel good after you’ve finished. And the impact of that should be understated. By pushing your mental health in the direction, you’ll be guiding the flow of your life in a positive direction. And who knows where that will take you?
2. It’s a Fun, Beneficial Hobby
Junk journaling can help to calm a chaotic mind, but also, it’s just fun. And who doesn’t want to have a bit more fun in their lives? You’ll be knee-deep in ideas and supplies and always keeping your eye out for new things to include in your junk journal.
We think that’s inherently fun; it’s something that you can do for no other reason than the pure pleasure of doing it, but also, it’ll give you pleasure in the future, too. There are some hobbies that exist purely in the here and now; the magic lies in the process. With junk journaling, you’re getting the magic of here and now plus the ability to look back on your creations in the future.
Who knows what you’ll do with your junk journal in the future? Will it become a souvenir of your youth, an item that you hand down to your children, or simply a lovely memento of your year-long sojourn into the world of arts and crafts?
3. It’s a Creative Exercise
All humans are creative. They just need a method to release their inner creativity. For some people, it’s writing. For others, it’s drawing by hand or creating collages.
When you go through the junk journaling process, you’ll have the chance to do all of those things. It can be an outlet for your writing, your doodles, and your use of color. In some cases, all those things will be released on the same page.
You’ll feel the creative benefits from the first second you start. You’ll be putting together objects in your own unique way; there is, after all, no established path that you must follow. All the decisions will be yours, and that will require some creative thinking.
The creative elements of your project will not just live and die within the process, either. You can think of creativity as a bucket that you fill up. When you engage in a creative process, you’re filling that bucket up and strengthening your ability to think in a creative way. That’s something that you can then apply to many other areas of your life; in fact, there really aren’t that many areas of life in which a creative mind will not be useful in some way.
4. It’s a Memory Log
Memories are famously unreliable. We forget much more than we remember. And actually, the memories that we do have usually aren’t a reliable record of the events that took place. So it can be handy to have something that we can use to jog our memory. Something like, well, a junk journal!
A well-maintained junk journal can become a record of a person’s life. In it, you can find your old ticket stubs, memories from your travels, your thoughts and feelings, souvenirs, polaroid photographs, beautiful leaves that you’ve found, and more. Many of those things may otherwise have become consigned to the trash if you didn’t have a place for them.
This is a large part of why many people find so much value in keeping a junk journal. Your life will go on and on into new phases and ways of being, and the old version of yourself can become a distant memory. But when you have a junk journal by your side, you’ll find that you can always take a trip back in time and revisit the versions of yourself that your mind may have forgotten.
5. It Clears Your Mind, Clears Your Space
They say that your mind reflects your surroundings. If you’re living in a space that resembles something of a chaotic, disorganized mess, then it’ll be much more likely that your mind is like that, too.
Starting a junk journal allows you to organize all those little memories into a cohesive, not to mention beautiful, structure. And that’s something that can be calming and enjoyable. Rather than having a vague sense that your cherished memories -- and your thoughts -- are scattered here, there, and everywhere, you’ll know that they’re all bound up in one neat little package.
That’s the mental health benefit. But there are also some pretty obvious practical benefits to junk journaling, too. For instance, it can help to make your home more orderly. You might have boxes upon boxes of memories, not all of which you’ll want to keep forever and ever. Starting a junk journal is a smart way to sift through the good items from the bad and clear your space.
How to Create Your Junk Journal
So now that we’ve got you all excited about junk journals, we have to tell you how to create a junk journal of your own.
The good thing about junk journals is that you can make them as simple or as complicated as you like. The sky’s the limit, or the ground is the floor -- it’s all fine!
If you don’t quite have the arts and crafts chops to bind your own journal (don’t worry, not many of us do, but you can also learn journal binding how to if you’d like), then feel free to start with an existing journal. You’ll just need to put your own spin on things to make it yours, and then you’ll be free to junk journal away.
Next comes the fun and exciting part. Collecting your supplies! There is literally not one single that’s completely off-limits when it comes to your junk journal. If you see an interesting material, funny picture, disused train ticket, or literally anything else that you want to put in your junk journal, then go for it. No one’s going to tell you that you can’t.
You can give your junk journal a theme if you like, but you don’t need to. Many people find that it’s a lot of fun to just throw in anything and everything that they like. Having said that, people who do put a little bit of thought into the planning and design of their junk journal will be handsomely rewarded by a crafts project that exists within a specific creative framework, which can strengthen the creative benefits of the project.
Part of the magic of junk journals is that you don’t need all that many supplies to get started; a few basics will allow you to get started. Once you’re underway, then you can always step up and make things a little more complex. The main thing, as we really mean this, is to simply have fun with it. It’s not a project that you need to overthink; it’s best to just dive in and see what happens. You’ll make a few wrong turns here and there, but you’ll get there in the end -- and you’ll have loved the journey, too.