Controlling Magazine Clutter

My basket of magazines

Anyone out there have a love/hate relationship with magazines?

When I was younger, I couldn’t wait for my magazines to arrive. Every month when a magazine would appear in the mail, I would immediately stop and read it cover to cover. Then life sort of got in the way and it wasn’t always possible to stop and read them when they arrived.

Soon, I was settling for an occasional Sunday afternoon when I had time to devour several at a time. Over the years, life got busier and the magazines started to pile up waiting patiently for me to find time to read them. I began to categorize them by magazine, by date, etc. Wonderful magazines filed neatly, but sometimes never read.

Who can toss an unread magazine? Not me. But magazines aren’t as easy to store as books. They have glossy covers so they slip and slide. They also multiply as quickly as rabbits.

Since downsizing to a small condo several years ago, we have no extra space for such things as magazines. I now keep all of my magazines in a basket next to my comfy recliner where I like to read. When the basket is filled to the brim, I empty it out so I can fill it up again.  

If you love magazines like I do but hate the mess they create around the house, maybe the options listed below will help you to use, reuse or recycle your favorite subscriptions.

Simplify – It seems there is a magazine for everything these days. Given the number of publications released, a new batch is usually added to your magazine rack monthly.

  • Examine your subscriptions. If you aren’t reading them, don’t renew.
  • Getting a ton of mail order catalogs? If you never have time to look at them, call and ask to be taken off the mailing list .
  • Instead of renewing a subscription for yourself, order one for someone else who will read it. For example, when my mother was very ill and couldn’t leave the house, she loved reading the magazines I ordered for her. They were perfect reading material as she could read them in short intervals on her good days.  
  • Get into the habit of pulling outdated catalogs and replacing them with new ones as they arrive. Then you will only have a few publications to store.
  • Some folks are now thinking “green” and reading magazines online. I still prefer reading the traditional version. But it is an option to consider!

Donate – Since I find it almost impossible to throw away a magazine. (I blame it on my upbringing – my parents always looked for another way to use everything.) Here are a few places I have donated my magazines over the years.

  • Pass on to a friend. For years, I took magazines with me when I got my hair cut. It was an easy way to eliminate the magazines and help a friend save money while she was building her business.    
  • Preschools and Daycare Centers often need magazines for kids’ art projects.
  • Senior citizen centers, nursing homes or hospices.
  • Libraries often archive or sell in their annual book sales. Sometimes libraries have designated spots where you can leave magazines for others to take.
  • English as a Second Language Classes.  
    • When Tom and I lived in Miami, I had a zoo volunteer who taught English as a Second Language and loved using magazines as a teaching tool in her class.
  • Shelters. People who don’t have a permanent address are unable to access the local library, so a shelter bookshelf is often their only resource for books and magazines.

Organize – A friend told me she has eliminated her stacks of magazines by better organization. When a magazine arrives, she flips through the issue and tears out the articles she wants to read later and places them into a folder. If it is something she wants to keep, she scans the article into her computer for safe keeping. She then recycles the rest of the magazine.

If you don’t have a scanner you might punch holes in the article or place similar articles into a sheet protector and store them in a three-ring binder so you can reference them later.

Recycle – Don’t have time to donate, please recycle. Most neighborhoods now recycle, but you might find it easier to take a whole box of magazines and place in the dumpster-sized container at your church, local shopping center or recycling center.

Create a Recycling Area for your magazines in your garage. Use a sturdy box or plastic bin and once it’s full, take it to the recycling center and empty. Bring the box or bin home to use again.

Word of Caution – Don’t just show up at a pre-school, daycare, nursing home or your area non-profit with your books or magazines. Please call to check to see if they need or want the items you would like to donate.

Ending on a Positive Note: If you love magazines but hate the mess they create, find a method of using, reusing or recycling that works for you. Remember to keep it simple and be consistent. Happy reading!

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Got a tip or suggestion to share? Please leave me a comment below.

Agnes Spurlock

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2 thoughts on “Controlling Magazine Clutter

  1. Great post. Even as a former organizer, magazines are my downfall. I’m like you, I hate throwing them away. The best I can do for now is tearing out articles and recycling the rest of the magazine. But I seldom go back to my overflowing folder. Now that I’ve read your post, I’m trying to think of options that may work to organize what I’m still keeping.

    • I have more time to read my magazines since I retired and storing them next to my recliner is great. My photo reminded me it is time to clean out the basket. I am going to visit my brother tomorrow and plan on taking some magazines to my sister-in-law. Thanks for your comment. Happy organizing!

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