Friday, March 25, 2011

Conquering Paper Clutter-magazines

Like most people (I think most is fair to say) paper clutter is an issue for me. I have several areas where paper clutter sometimes get the best of me. One of them is magazines. Here is what I've done recently to overcome that issue.

Within the last few years somehow I subscribed to many, many magazines. I say somehow because it happened gradually and unintentionally. Off the top of my head these are the magazines I had coming here each month: Real Simple (my favorite by the way), Parenting, Parents, Rachel Ray, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Money, Oprah, and Consumer Reports. Nine magazines. That's a lot. I no longer spend time reading magazines. If I have time to read, I want to read a book. I did read magazines while sitting at my vanity while I was drying my hair. I say did because I got an iPad last year as a Mother's Day/birthday gift. Now, I like to sit with that at my vanity and read blogs while drying my hair instead of looking at magazines.

So, the first step I took was to not renew any subscriptions. None. Some have already expired and most should expire in the next several months. It's such a relief to know I won't have all that paper to deal with. When I get a magazine I feel the need to look through the entire magazine. That's only part of the problem. The other part is this:

When I look through magazines, if I find something I like, I tear it out. It could be a recipe, a craft, a product, activities with kids, books to read, money advice, marriage advice, or many other topics. From nine magazines, that's a lot of paper. After I tore them out, I didn't know what to do with them. Once, in the past, I organized all of those papers into file folders. That was many years ago.

For a long time I didn't even pull out the page I liked. I just folded it over. At the end of 2010 I told myself that if I hadn't dealt with the magazines before the end of the year I would recycle them. Just before 2010 ended, I went through all the magazines and pulled out the folded pages. I told myself that was enough. They have been sitting in a bag inside a box inside a basket, waiting to be dealt with. Every time I saw the basket I would stress a little.

Yesterday, I decided I was going to begin organizing them. I started with sorting. Then, I thought, forget this and (inspired by Nony @ A Slob Comes Clean and how she threw away 21 pounds of coupons) decided I was going to recycle them without even looking at them. As I was doing that, I saw something that I really liked and decided I couldn't get rid of them without looking at them.

So, I started sorting again. I was thinking about what I was going to do with them once I had them sorted. I already had folders started with some articles that I had never looked at. I thought about putting them in binders. How would I do that? Put them all in page protectors? That would take a lot of time. I thought about the amount of time it would take to do that and compared it to the amount of time I would probably use them. I haven't looked in the folders I created years ago. I figured it would be unlikely that I would look in them now. Usually, if I need something, I look online. It was going to be more trouble than it would be worth.

I stopped sorting.

I put all of that paper in my recycle basket and immediately walked it out to the recycle bin. Relief.

I went into my bathroom and then under my vanity found this:

Nine more magazines. I walked them right out to the recycle bin.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. That's one thing I can cross of my To Do list that has lived there for a long time. I won't miss one thing in that pile. The only word I can think of to describe how I feel about that pile being gone (I've said it before and I'll say it again) RELIEF.

Now, about that coupon pile.

I'm linking up to Org Junkie's 52 Weeks of Organizing.


  1. Wow! I am impressed. I want that feeling of relief. You have inspired me to do the same. Thank you so much!

  2. Isn't that the truth! I always look on line for information I need. I need to go purge about 4 bookcases in my basement that are full of magazines and books I hardly ever look at!

  3. i do the same thing every couple months. I have a stack of magenzies on my desk and i'll probably do the same this week. thanks for the inspiration

  4. I'm a pack rat, but lately I've been much better at just getting rid of stuff we're not using, but I'm not sure if I'm at that point...yet! Congratulations!!

  5. I hardly get any magazines anymore - most of my decorating and other ideas came straight from BLOGS! I love that I don't have the paper clutter anymore. I have two magazines I get and that's it! Way easier! Great job!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  6. I've been slowly getting rid of all my magazines except for the current month ... it was hard at first, but I love that I don't have a ton of magazines sitting around making me feel guilty I didn't read them all!

  7. I stupidly got sucked into subscribing to Martha Stewart since I am now a stay-at-home wife. I am finding absoltely nothing of value in it. At my age, most magazine articles have been recycled so many times over there is nothing new. I would much rather read everyone's posts who are participating in the 52 weeks. Much more inspiring and interesting.

  8. I had boxes upon boxes of magazines. I went through some and cut out sayings/phrases/words that I liked for my art journals. Then I recycled them. I sold half to half price books too.

  9. so i'm not the only one beggingfor help in this area :) i see from an above post that the/cutting out pics & articles to categorize into file folders would be time-consuming; i only subscribe to Style at Home which offers a digital option & pick up the FREE Home Decor; i'd like to try scanning these things(a skill yet to be learned) or "clipping" from the digital versions