How to Organize Magazines


If you’re like most people in today’s society, you get a lot of mail. This mail often comes in the form of ads and junk, but sometimes it will include the occasional magazine. Though magazines aren’t junk by nature, the problem comes when you end up with piles of them cluttering up your house. That’s when your house starts looking like a junk yard, and that’s when you know that it is time to get organized.

Getting Started

This first step to organizing your magazine collection is decided which magazines you really need to keep – not the ones that you think you might want to keep because you may want to look at them at some point. Go through them and ask yourself, is this a magazine I am dying to read or just one that I think I probably should read. The probably should reads are the ones you should toss, along with any that you really don’t want to read of course – unless you are required to read them for a school or work assignment. Don’t succumb to pack rat syndrome. No one is going to come after you for getting rid of the last five issues of Procrastinators Weekly without reading them.

What should you do with these discarded magazines? Get them out of the house as soon as possible, before you have the opportunity to change your mind. Either put them in the recycling bin or donate them to the local library.

Make an Arrangement

Once you’ve got your pile narrowed down to the magazines that you definitely want to keep around, it is time to put them in a better place than on the kitchen table. If you must keep some of your magazines on a table, take some of the prettiest ones, such as Travel and Leisure (but only three or four of them) and fan them out on the coffee table to impress dinner guests.

Organize the Leftovers

Since you’re reading an article on how to organize your magazines, chances are you had a good number of magazines you were saving to begin with, thus you will most likely have at least a dozen of them left over after completing tasks one and two. Now is the time to commence with the filing. Here, again, you should separate your magazines into two piles, but this time sort them according to whether you need to keep the entire magazine or you only need to keep a couple of specific articles or pages.

For the ones where you only need a page or three, go ahead and tear out the pages. (No, this is not a crime, like tearing the tag off a mattress.) Once you’ve gotten the pages you want, throw the rest of the magazine in the recycle bin. (Don’t try to donate these. The readers at the library will probably not be too thrilled when they find the article they were looking for has been torn out of the magazine.)

To save the pages temporarily…

Once you’ve gotten all of your pages torn out, take the originals of your pages, or make a photocopy or two, and put them in hanging file folders, labeled by date or by content, whichever will be more helpful to you. Put these folders inside a filing cabinet with a properly labeled drawer.

Alternately, you can simply toss the articles in a box, but be aware that this is a very temporary solution, since you don’t want to end up with a heaping pile of papers in the box. This solution will work if you’re only saving the articles until you have a chance to read them and then they are headed out.

To save the pages permanently…

If you wish to save your magazine pages permanently, place them in plastic sleeves (the kind with circular holes on the left side) and put them together in a three ring binder. Use dividers to sort the pages into sections or use a different binder for each brand of magazine. Place the binders neatly on a bookshelf or in a cabinet and label the binding so you know the contents at a glance.

Or, if you want to reduce the clutter even more, get a little high tech. Scan the pages into your computer and save them as image files. Sort the files into folders, then go ahead and recycle the magazine pages.

To save the entire magazine…

For situations where you want to keep the entire magazine, consider purchasing magazine holders that you can put on the bookshelf. (These holders are available at most stores that sell house wares.) Then simply sort your magazines, again by date or subject, and place them in the racks with the binding facing outward so that you can easily find the magazine you’re looking for. (This only works if you have the taller side of the magazine holder face the back of the bookcase.) Be sure that the bookshelf is situated in a dry place, not under the water pipe or leaky ceiling panel.

*If you are keeping a lot of magazines for work purposes, consider taking these magazines (and holders for them) to the office. Then they will be out of the house as well as convenient when you need to look at them.

Keep Your Magazines Organized

To keep your magazines neat and tidy on a daily basis, buy a couple of magazine racks. These racks come in several varieties, such as ones that stand up on their own and ones that you can hang on the wall. When choosing which magazine rack to purchase, consider what rooms of the house you will put them in and how much space is available.

Remember, putting your magazines in magazine racks is only a temporary solution. Eventually you will have to file or toss the magazines, or else you will end up with just as big of a mess as what you started with, only in a different location.

Also, if you have subscriptions to magazines that you are constantly throwing out without reading, either call and cancel the subscriptions or change the address so they are delivered to a person who will actually enjoy them – yes this can include your local library. Just be sure to ask an employee first.

Now that you’ve got your magazines all put away and organized, you can actually use your kitchen table to eat breakfast. Bon Appétit.

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