For those of us who subscribe to at least one wonderful magazine, we know that if we’re not careful, these bound pages of excellence can take over our homes. They can actually form coalitions by gathering in piles that appear as if they’ll never disperse.

If the hubster and I have paid good money for a subscription, or if one magazine has sumptuous photos or if another periodical has phenomenal tips for organizational and logistical bliss, it’s hard to line the recycling bin with these trusted glossy friends.

But that’s all about to change. So, how to get rid of the piles? Any or all of the following tips are a good place to start.

Magazine racks, totes, baskets, and standing files are excellent storage vehicles. You are cordially invited to store magazines in these holders – and to be disciplined about it. Your goal should be to keep no more than six issues of each magazine at a time. Emphasis on the word “goal” – as in the end result you hope to achieve but have not yet fully demonstrated. Full disclosure: I have yet to achieve this goal, but I fully expect that together, we can achieve this ideal over time.

The rest of your magazines should be recycled, or you may wish to incorporate one or all of the following ideas:

Create a separate binder for each of your magazine subscriptions so you can store your favorite articles for easy reference. How to do this? For your first subscription, label a binder with the name of the publication. Then insert dividers labeled to reflect the topics of your favorite articles in this subscription (i.e. if you want to save every article your magazine has about meal planning, create a divider labeled “Meal Planning.” If you’re intrigued by the housekeeping articles in this magazine, one of your dividers should reflect this topic area). Place empty 8.5″ x 11″ plastic sleeves within each divided section of your binder so you can carefully store your articles. Then repeat this process by creating additional binders for your other magazine subscriptions.

How to put your binder to good use? After removing the save-worthy articles from any given issue, place them in the binder in plastic sleeves and then recycle the remainder of that magazine issue or share it with a school or day care facility for use in art projects.

Conduct periodic audits of each of your magazine binders. This sounds really intense but it’s actually super simple. Whenever you feel so inclined, take 5-10 minutes to peruse the contents of each binder. Articles that are no longer applicable or of interest should be recycled or shared with loved ones who would find them useful. All other articles remain in the binders until they’re removed during future audits. The point of saving articles is to read and actually use them. When in doubt, recycle or share.

Share the wealth. You may wish to share your periodicals with friends and family whose interests mesh well with your glossy pages of excellence. When sharing magazines, pass them along fully intact and forgo the binder extravaganza highlighted above.

After sharing the wealth, you may still have a few fully intact periodicals hanging around. Consider sharing these items with local businesses that offer reading materials to customers and visitors. Your periodicals could be a welcome treat (and a cost-savings) for these organizations. A few places that might welcome your periodicals include homeless shelters, auto repair shops, gyms and fitness centers, and beauty salons and spas.

Tip: Remove your name, mailing address, and any other self-identifying information from your magazines before sharing them with others.

Not sure where to begin? As with all projects, breaking things into manageable pieces is always brilliant. First, think about just one of your magazine subscriptions. Decide whether you’ll save any articles from any of the issues, or if it’s high time that you parted with these glossy wonders. If the binder idea doesn’t excite you, share or recycle all of the issues you have for this subscription. Pronto. If you feel a logistical urge to create a binder of articles, go for it! Peruse one issue from this magazine subscription each day and add articles to the appropriate binder until you have no more issues from this subscription. Then follow suit with the next magazine subscription. Before long, magazine coalitions will not rule the roost.

Going forward, make it your goal to eliminate magazine mayhem before it begins. When the newest issue of a magazine arrives in your decluttered mailbox, savor it as you normally would…but with a twist! After reading a few articles, you’ll know whether you want to go the binder, sharing, or recycling route for this particular issue.

If you want to go the binder route, make note of the articles that you want to save as you’re reading the magazine. When you’re finished with that issue, take 90 seconds to put the save-worthy articles in plastic sleeves in the appropriate binder. Of course, if you steer clear of the binder extravaganza, feel free to share the fully intact magazine or to recycle it. Pronto. No need to start a new pile.

These ideas will take some motivation and planning – but won’t we both be glad when we’re finally done? Let’s do this together. Ready, set, go!

* Photo by Jonathan Eggers

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