Declutter and Organise your Magazines
Updated: Feb 13
A few years ago, I wouldn't have thought that I would still be writing a post about decluttering and organising physical magazines. Everything was all about going digital, but it seems that many of us still love our magazines - me included!
As much as I enjoy going online to find articles and recipes, nothing compares to the feel-good feeling of sitting down with a cup of tea and flicking through the pages my favourite magazine for a little bit of escapism and inspiration.
I am trying to live a simpler life with less 'stuff', but for me, there's just something that a screen can't replace. I haven't been able to let go of my favourite magazines altogether, but I still want to be conscious of how much 'stuff' I have lying around my home and of what I am buying.
Magazines are a lovely way to relax and a great source of ideas and information, but they can easily create both physical and mental clutter.
So, here are my tips for keeping the magazine clutter under control and organising the important information that you want to keep.
DECLUTTER + SIMPLIFY
Most importantly - simplify what you have. The magazines that have already been read, and the ones that you will get round to reading - just as soon as you find that magical spare time!
Reading materials such as magazines, newspapers and catalogues add to, and attract, other types of paper clutter. They can also add to your mental clutter and your to-do list. Finding the time to read them in the first place, and then feeling like you need to action the ideas and information contained within them. That recipe that you need to make, that thing you need to buy or the tip that you need to do... it all contributes to information overload.
I used to have piles of magazines and swore that I would get round to catching up and reading them all. Coming to the realisation that the stress of the piles that I needed 'to-do' was greater than any tip or idea contained within those pages gave me the permission to donate them to the local doctor's surgery. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
If you feel guilty about letting go of magazines because of the money spent on them, or they might contain some life-changing information - a simplified home and headspace are going to be far more valuable. And don't worry - that information will come around again!
So clear those surfaces and your head.
If you have piles of magazines, newspapers and catalogues all over your home - gather them all together and get ready to sort.
Take each in turn and ask yourself why you are keeping each one. Is it because you haven't had time to read it properly yet? Or, was there something in there that you wanted to refer back to?
If you have a large backlog of magazines, set aside some regular time over the next few weeks and work your way through them.
Sometimes drawing a line in the sand and letting all of those old magazines go, feels so much better than spending hours going through them all. What were you hoping to find in there anyway?
If you were saving a magazine for a particular article or image;
Save it digitally
Take a photo of it on your phone. Snap a picture of that dress you want to buy, a book recommendation that you'd like to read, a recipe that you'd like to make or an inspirational quote.
You can then organise into folders on your phone or computer, use a notebook app such as OneNote or EverNote or upload to Pinterest. If a page inspires a post for Every Little Thing, I will snap a photo and save it digitally to my Pinterest board or digital notebook under the topic category.
Add any short-term actions to your calendar, planner or to-do list - along with a note to say where you have saved the information or photo for reference if needed.
If you are looking to keep the number of hard copy magazines or newspapers down in your home - check to see if your favourites are available online as a digital version. I must admit that I haven't been able to replace my favourites with a screen yet, but it's worth thinking about.
Or, if you really feel you need to keep the page - tear it out and recycle the rest of the magazine
Instead of keeping the whole magazine because there are one or two articles in there that you want to keep, then consider tearing out the articles in question and creating a small file of those things that you want to refer back to.
Make sure that you actually intend to use the information. Otherwise, you are just creating more clutter that you will have to deal with again later.
Before Pinterest and other social media came along, I relied on reading and tearing out magazines pages for reference. A magazine reading session would result in some major tear outs. So many ideas that I wanted to save and do later, only to come back to them months later and wondered why I ever wasted my time pulling it out and keeping it when in reality I clearly wasn't ever going to do that project or make that recipe 🤦🏼♀️.
Every idea can sound amazing or life-changing at first, but just a few seconds thinking about whether or not you will really use it can make the difference between hundreds, and only a few pages here and there to keep. Tear outs can cause just as much, if not more clutter, than the magazine itself if you're not careful.
If you read a magazine over time and/or don't want to pull out articles there and then, use Post-it notes on the pages that you want to refer back to and a note next to the items that inspire you. You can then easily reference them at a later date and rip them out if still needed once you've finished reading the magazine.
Donate any complete magazines that could still be enjoyed by someone else. Local hospitals, doctors surgeries and retirements homes are always grateful for new reading material. Make sure that you recycle any magazines that can't be passed on.
Magazines are a wealth of inspiration and information presented in a fun and visual way, but if you don't have a plan to organise it all, there's really no point in keeping them around.
Create an ideas and inspiration binder/s for your tear outs. Set up based on your specific goals, projects or interests so that you can easily find and use the information.
If there is a recipe I want to save from a magazine - I'll store it in my recipes binder on the 'to try' section, I'll then slot it into my meal planning and compile my shopping list of ingredients. It's kept in the kitchen for easy reference.
You could also have binders for Home Inspiration, Health and Wellbeing, Event Planning, Travel and Holidays, Crafts and Activities and Inspirational quotes and pictures.
My favourite binders for this are the white 4-ringed ones with front and spine pockets so that you can easily label. Some of my clients like to use presentation/display books (the ones with the clear pockets built-in), but I prefer the flexibility of punched pockets so that I can easily remove and re-order the pages if necessary - especially for my recipes/food binder as they are also wipe clean.
if you don't have that many articles to keep, or don't think you would be able to maintain binders, an A4 documents box also works well.
Make sure that you regularly clear out items in your binders or box that are no longer needed or outdated. They need to be kept neat - and inspirational.
If you come across really inspiring words or images - stick them to a vision board to look at daily.
Keeping and storing complete magazines
I only keep my absolute favourite magazines. The ones that I know I will read or refer to over and over. Some magazines nowadays actually look and feel like a book (and cost nearly the same!).
New magazines that I haven't yet read live in a small basket in the living room. This is my place to sit and relax in the evenings and where I'm most likely to pick up a magazine to read. The ones that I have read but want to keep complete are store in upright magazine holders in my office - organised by title.
Making sure that they have a home and keeping them contained means that you are less likely to end up with piles of magazine clutter.
Set your rules for how many magazines you are going to keep and the best place for them to live.
HABITS, ROUTINES AND RITUALS
Be intentional about what you are buying
You don't need to stop buying magazines altogether, just make sure that you are actually adding value to your life. If you have piles of unread magazines, having a buying break until you've caught up on any backlog. Cancel subscriptions to any magazines that you no longer read regularly. Save yourself the time and money and reduce the clutter. You might not even miss them at all!
If you do have the time and enjoy reading magazines, but want to save money and space, get together with your friends, choose a magazine each to buy each month and then pass around, so you get to read them all but only have to buy one. Subscribing to your favourites could also save you up to 50% of the cover price.
Be intentional about what you are keeping
Decide on your rules for keeping magazines under control from now on. One in - one out, keeping the last years worth or until the space or containers they live in becomes full.
Get into the habit of decluttering and organising your magazines, newspapers and catalogues regularly - it will save you time and stress later on.
Schedule in some 'Me-Time'
Even if it's just 15 minutes a week to enjoy those magazines that you haven't got around to reading!
How do you keep track of ideas from magazines?