Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stop Saving Magazines!

A few years ago, I wrote a post all about how I get magazine subscriptions for free or really cheap. I love getting lots of magazines because they are the perfect easy reading material--I don't have to get invested in a storyline and stay up all night to find out what happens like I do in a book. Magazines are great for inspiration and ideas.

But they are bad for clutter.

My problem wasn't that I didn't get around to reading them, though sometimes I don't have a chance before I have a small pile. My problem was that I wanted to keep them to try out recipes and crafts and remember other tidbits of good information found in them.

But when more are coming in every month, that isn't helpful at all!

I don't even subscribe to as many magazines as I once did. Right now I get:

Real Simple
Better Homes & Gardens
Family Fun
Opera News
The Ensign
The New Era
The Friend
Taste of Home

Okay. Never mind. That is a lot!

And they are all supposed to live in this basket in my living room:

As you can see, it's full, but not overflowing. You might not even think it looks too bad.

But looks are deceiving, and what you do not know is that I hosted book club a few weeks ago, and so I moved a large stack of magazines into--you guessed it--my office.

And that scary pile is here:

I also have a random pile of magazines in a cabinet in my office:

And the obligatory basket of reading material in the bathroom:

Frankly, I'm sick of reading that BHG issue about spring. There are a couple other magazines in there that I've read 200 times, as well.

I've been really sick the last couple of days, and the idea of doing a big decluttering project yesterday was not appealing to me at all. But I thought of the big magazine pile in the office, and I gathered up all of them and took them to bed with me.

I ripped out any recipe or craft I wanted to try, any great advice about parenting or finances, and anything else that inspired me somehow.

When the girls got home from school they started to help me and we had a lot of fun together. We even made some plans on what recipes and crafts we would try out soon.

In my office (which is becoming more and more decluttered, but is still a work in progress), I found a binder that wasn't being used and some tab dividers with pockets. With the help of my handy dandy label maker that I love so much, I labeled the tabs and sorted through the magazine pages I had torn out.

I had 16 tabs total, so I had to limit my categories (though I can buy more dividers later if I really think I need them). The categories I went with are:

Pumpkin (uh....have you seen my Pumpkin Pinterest Board?)
Valentine's Day
Clutter (I found lots of great articles and kept every this contributing to my problem?)

On the categories that were broader, I made labels to stick right on the pocket divider to remind me of the types of articles in that category. Obviously my miscellaneous folder needed several, but so did my school tab:

I still have a small pile of magazines to finish going through, but it is a relief to have put the majority into the recycling bin. From now on, I vow to rip out articles I like during my first reading of the magazine and file them away immediately so that I can recycle the rest of the magazine.

Other things I will do to reduce magazine clutter? Let a few of those subscriptions lapse, for starters. I am also going to make a separate folder for articles out of Opera News so that I can have it handy at work.

Today's assignment:

  • Find all of your magazine hotspots.
  • Gather the magazines.
  • Tear out articles you want to keep.
  • Make an inspiration binder (you can use an accordion file or something similar, too).
  • Recycle all of the magazines!

Find all of the posts in this 31 Day Challenge here: A Place for Everything: 31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace.

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Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. Are you peeking in the window at my house. LOL! I have an entire storage box of magazines I hope to read someday. I also used to have several subscriptions for blog inspiration, but I have let a lot of them go. I am down to only 3 or 4 now.

  2. Very pretty! I wish we had a color tour like that around here. We do have ski hill, but not that view.

  3. karen@somewhatquirkydesignWed Oct 15, 08:08:00 AM

    Magazines are a problem for me. I can read them over and over and not remember that I have looked at them. I think that means I'm not even focusing on them when I read them. Then I want to keep them forever, because I like them. I have tried the tearing stuff out thing and I just end up with piles of torn out stuff that I never look at again. Even three subscriptions can pile up magazines. This year I threw away at least 400 magazines.That was a big step for me. I also only subscribe to one magazine now. Another big step. Good luck with the last 15 days of your project!

  4. Geri Givens TaylorWed Oct 15, 10:15:00 AM

    As a writer, I too like to have something in my hand to read, there is something satisfying about turning actually pages. Many years ago, I did this very same thing with organizing my favorites and I can go back to photos from the early nineties and still get that warm "I should do this" feeling when I see the images of decorate rooms and intimate gardens. Another thing I have done (in my studio) was to tack images of craft or gardening ideas on my shelves to inspire me. Unfortunately...I've not done a single one of them.
    But I'm not the only one! I tacked a photo of a checkerboard design patio floor made from cement stepping stones and grass for my husband to help me with right there at his eye level in his shop. You guessed it...he still hasn't been inspired and it has been up there for at least ten years.
    Anyway...I haven't looked, but aren't most of these magazines online? Is there a way to copy files to a folder on you computer?
    But I guess that brings us back to you other post of a messy computer...and you should see my computer's is messier that my actual desktop!
    Love your blog!

  5. I stopped all my magazines because I wasn't keeping up with them and I just got too overwhelmed. It was time. Now I get all my inspiration from Pinterest and blogs. It's not the same, but it's less overwhelming :)

  6. Heather GreenwoodWed Oct 15, 12:33:00 PM

    seriously BEAUTIFUL!!!

  7. Hi! I hope that you are feeling better after your trip to Express Care. I loved seeing your fall pictures -- it looks like you live in a really beautiful area. Please wish your daughter an incredible birthday from all of your virtual friends on the internet super highway!

  8. I had thought of looking up the articles online and then pinning them to my Pinterest boards, but decided against because of the time it would take me to do that. I realized it was much faster to tear out the pages and stick them in my folder than it would be to locate the article online and pin it. If I find I never look in my inspiration folder I may rethink that, but I really think I will.

    And I've seen that checkerboard patio and think it's so cool! My husband didn't go for it, though. He made our entire patio out of pavers and no grass. I hope that your husband gets inspired to do it for you someday! :)

  9. It's true. Here I thought I had downsized my subscriptions majorly, but I really haven't. Unfortunately, Opera News is the one I rarely get around to reading, and as much as I like it, I think I'll let the subscription lapse for sure. Plus a few others.

    I am hoping that I'll look at my binder. If I don't, I'm going to have to just read magazines and hope I remember things (unlikely) and go on with my life! Because they are a problem for me, too.

  10. Yes. I'm peeking in your window. :) I think this is something many of us do, though--especially bloggers. I use them a lot for inspiration!

  11. You should come up and visit me!

  12. We are very blessed where we live. Though I always say that the gorgeous falls are our consolation prize for the eternal winters. :)

  13. I do something similar. I have the binder and the dividers with labels. Only I'm a tad more OCD. I place each thing in a sheet protector to go behind it's respective divider. Sometimes there may be two things per sheet protector (think recipes) or sometimes there may be several pages per sheet protector (think articles), but this way they stay in the binder, nice and neat, and the rest of the magazine can go either to the recycle bin, or, in only a page or two is missing, my dr office waiting room! And that's one less clutter magnet for me!

  14. My plan is to add sheet protectors when I need to. I was trying to do this decluttering project without spending extra money, so I used what I had in the house. My daughter finished off all my sheet protectors for a school project last month. It is wonderful to be able to just get rid of the magazine ASAP. I'm trying to do it while I'm reading so it's just DONE.

  15. Jean | DelightfulRepast.comThu Dec 25, 10:26:00 AM

    Lara, it's so funny that I came across your Pin while I am in the midst of a major purging of magazines. Like you, I get a lot of subscriptions either free or at a very low price and have a lot of subscriptions. Also, being a freelance writer for many years, I collected a lot of magazines because when you're writing for a magazine you have to know what that magazine has already published over the past year. When I started my purge I probably had more than a thousand magazines. They were squared away pretty neatly in bookcases in my office; nevertheless, I felt they were clutter that was dragging me down. I am letting all my subscriptions lapse, for the time being, and am happily recycling!

  16. moajune (on pinterest)Mon Jan 05, 07:05:00 AM

    This article is really inspiring, maybe also very helpful for me, because I tend to save magazines for the same reasons... We don't have any subscriptions for magazines, but we get several from our neighbour on a regular basis.. and I'd like to saverecipes or so, but can't really rip them out,m because we circle the mags inside the house from neighbour to neighbour .. and so I plan to get the depending pages copied. This is one of the reasons why I have too many magazines lying around :P

  17. and of course, - I don't really get around to copy what's supposed to be copied. Bet you guessed it already ;)

  18. I do this! I love magazines. I have binders for organizing and decorating, running and fitness, marriage, family, budget and finances, recipes and nutrition. I also make collage cards and vision boards and put inspiration on my bulletin board. I organize my magazines by season and/or holiday and I put them in pretty baskets on a bookcase and rotate to the living room, bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. Right now I have Winter months and close to the middle of March I will put out my spring issues, then summer, fall, and December gets its own turn because of Christmas. I rarely get subscriptions unless it is a gift but there is a thrift store in town that sells them for ten cents and often current issues like Oprah, Living, Sunset, Better Homes and Gardens and sometimes some fashion magazines, etc. I just picked up four bags of magazines from a parent at our school and shared with a friend.When I am done with an issue if it is pretty beat up, I will recycle it or donate if it still has some life in it.

  19. I, too, am overwhelmed with my piles of magazines. I also grab a handful at a time to go thru and tear out pages. THEN, I have piles of torn-out pages! Arrgghh. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Evernote, and I've started to take pictures using a scan app on my phone. It automatically turns it into a pdf, and then I send it to Evernote to be stored. I do that a lot with recipes, and inspiration photos for future reference. Haven't cleared all the piles yet, though. :)