An Organizing Process for Magazine Clutter

An Organizing Process for Magazine Clutter


They kind of creep up on you— those stacks of magazines. Issue by issue they trickle in one at a time, maybe two, from all different places. Maybe from the mailbox, the grocery store, and the doctor's office (you know they won't miss it). And before you know it, piles of magazines are overflowing on kitchen counters, the dining room table and bedroom night stands.

For anyone wanting to live a simple and organized life, (and we know that is you, right?) mountains of magazines all around the house is not helping achieve that goal. So what to do? Do you just resign yourself to the fact you'll never have time to read them all so off to recycle they go? But you really want to know the best way to cook fried chicken and the latest craze in slingback sandals!

If your recent past is any indication of your short-term future, copious amounts of free time is not going to magically appear on your calendar, giving you the gift-of-time solution to your backed up– or should I say stacked up– reading dilemma.

Tackling the magazine mess

So here are a few tips to help you tackle your stacks without sacrificing their contents, OR making you take hours to sift through piles of magazines.


Step 1) Gather all your magazines into one place. Scour your whole house. Search through every cabinet, drawer and counter surface. I know it might seem overwhelming once you have them all in one place, but this is a super important step. You need to know what you are dealing with. Don't be scared!

Step 2) Sort! The quickest way to make that huge pile less scary and more manageable is to sort the magazines into categories by title. While you are sorting, immediately weed out any duplicates or issues that you know you have no interest in. This step should happen quick. Don't spend a lot of time. Only look at the covers. No opening the magazines during this step.

Step 3) Depending on how many piles of magazines you have left, think about where you can store your stacks in the short term while you go through the piles. When I did this I found an empty corner of my house and just put the stacks on the floor. The 90 degree angle of the walls made for a nice barrier to keep the stacks from falling or sliding. Once you are ready to tackle a stack, keep these things in mind:

  • Most everything in these magazines (and let's face it, about life) is just one Google search away.

  • Ever notice how magazine's recycle content? Most general interest magazines, even of specific topics, end up filling their pages with the same kinds of information, just with a new headline. So don't worry, gone is not gone forever.

  • Magazine's are 70% advertising! That is so much filler paper that is cluttering up your home!

Step 4) With these bullet points in mind, now being able to speed read through your stacks is a lot more realistic approach. Set time aside in your week or month, pour a big cup of your favorite beverage, get comfy in your JPs and plow through a portion of your stockpile. Skim the cover for interesting teases, check the table of contents for must-read headlines, then just go straight to those pages. Rip them out and move to the next. At the end of a session you will be pleased to see that your stack of 12 inches or so is now a mere two.

These articles can either be set aside for more in-depth reading later, filed, or digitally scanned.

Lastly, don't get caught up in the fears of "what-if" This uncertainty and genuine anxiety about decluttering is the death knell of so many organizational endeavors. The truth is, whatever resides in the pages of these magazines is far less significant than the chaos that it is bringing into your home or office. But if you want to take on this project so you can be truly committed to recycling without worry, the steps listed above provide you with a tested method for success to tackle those magazine messes once and for all.

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