Trust me. People really like their magazines and newspapers. Perhaps keeping them around makes people feel like they are getting their money's worth. But in reality, they take up a lot of physical space, are usually only read through once (even against best intentions) and never get properly archived or recycled.
This is the first of a few different posts on purging our content. I'm not even going to get into email or online stuff. Even though that can really be overwhelming too. I'm just talking to those of you who have lots and lots of magazines and newspapers coming into your home on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis.
Good news, we can do this together! I have lots of ideas on how these things can be handled. Try these tips to keep your magazines and newspapers from taking over your home.
1 >> Give yourself a date. I used to be a person who thought I would go back and reference. Even though I had a system in place, it wasn't working and I was rarely going back and referencing anything. Keep those magazines around for a month, or even a couple of months, but then give yourself a date by which they have to go. Try holding onto those newspapers for only one week. In fact, write it on the calendar or put it in your phone: recycle magazines and newspapers today.
2 >> Reuse. If the thought of recycling perfectly good magazines and newspapers is hard for you, consider finding a better source. Could you use them in another way? We save newspapers for fire starter when we grill out. Do you have a friend moving? Those newspapers would be a great thing to place between breakables. As for the magazines, they can be used for art projects. Can you give them to your kids and challenge them to make a cool collage? Or check if your local after school program or art teacher accepts magazines for art projects. I am sure you could come up with a lot of good uses for newspaper. But just in case you needed some more ideas here is a link of a few I thought were pretty good.
3 >> Archiving on Pinterest. If there are just a few things you want to keep in the magazine to reference, but don't want to keep the whole magazine, you have a few options. You could tear out the specific pages you are interested in and create a filing system for them. (My old system that didn't work for me). Or you can take a photo of it and post it on a Pinterest board. (My new system that totally works for me). When I see something I like in a magazine, catalog or anywhere, I take a photo of it with my phone and add it to my Pinterest boards. Then I can choose to read through the magazine a few more times, but feel good about knowing I can access the content anywhere without having to store anything physical in my home. I can share or send photos and ideas to friends and I can have private boards if I don't want anyone seeing what I am storing. I also think that Pinterest isn't going any place soon, so I feel comfortable putting all of my "stuff" on there. Also, it is free and can have many, many boards to file things and get as detailed or creative as I like.
4 >> Limiting your space. Some people need to access longer articles, or do want to look through the physical magazines over the time span of a year. Here is my solution. Use two magazine racks to store 6 months each of one of your favorite magazines. Let's say you are allowed to physically store one year at a time. Then when the new year starts, make room for new magazines coming. Start taking photos of anything you want to store on Pinterest. And / or if there is something so precious that you can't recycle it, plan on keeping it in long term storage so it doesn't take up much of your needed everyday space. Obviously, everyone is going to be comfortable for keeping different magazines for different periods of time. This is just one method to try to see if it feels right for you. After trying this method, be open to changing it or modifying it as needed. Maybe you need to keep two years, or maybe you find you can start recycling things much sooner than a year. Whatever you do, start thinking about your magazines and how much money you are spending on them and how much room they are taking up in your life. Not to mention how many trees are being cut down to produce them. But really let's just tackle a few things at a time here.
5 >> Keep a journal. I think some people keep newspapers and sometimes magazine articles to note special times in their life or to be able to look back at a specific event. If this is you, consider starting a journal where you can write down some dates and even your thoughts around that time. This will be more helpful to review in the future and add to it as time goes on.
6 >> Online options. With all of the news outlets and information flying around, I am a big fan of skimming headlines and then only reading further if the information seems relevant. I subscribe to a few news feeds that are sent to my email every day. Almost every new source has them. One I really like is called The Skimm. Because it is short and they do a good job of covering a lot of different topics while explaining details you may not have been tracking. While reading online is not the same experience, your fingers won't turn black from holding the newspaper in your hands.
Stay close, as next week I'll be talking about sorting books, music and movies.