Declutter Magazines: 15 Minute Mission

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Today's decluttering mission is to declutter magazines.


Organizing Magazines, Newspapers & Catalogs Challenge
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Organizing Magazines, Newspapers & Catalogs Challenge here on the site.

If you don't have many magazines this decluttering task might not take you very long. On the other hand, if you've got a lot 15 minutes may not be enough for all of them, but even that short amount of time will make a dent.

Remember that if you have lots of magazine subscriptions, but
consistently don't read them then these magazines are really just clutter and you should cancel your subscriptions so you're not wasting money or cluttering up your home.

Below, I've shared my thoughts on how you can determine what is a reasonable amount of magazines to keep, versus how many is too many.

I know that parting with any paper, but especially magazines, for some people is very tough.

Top 7 places to donate magazines
So, for bonus points I'd love for you to tell me what your criteria is for keeping a magazine past the time you receive the next issue.

Or do you follow the one in, one out rule for magazines, which is what I try to follow personally?

In addition, sometimes I know it is difficult to part with something you paid good money for. But often you can feel better about it if you know they are going somewhere they will be appreciated.

So I've listed the top 7 places to donate magazines.

Finally, this decluttering mission can be used for any type of magazines, but if you have cooking magazines you can also check out the how to declutter cookbooks article here on the site to give you more ideas for how to get rid of those type of magazines.

Remember too, if you do this challenge and want to share your pictures of what you've decluttered you can do so at the link, and I'll add the best ones to the site.

Top photo courtesy of Liz Latham of Hoosier Homemade

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What A Relief To Have Them Gone!

Several readers have done this mission and sent in their results. The photo above is from a reader, Cindy, who said, "I was busy today and yesterday because I had vacation cleaning out a cabinet in my pantry. I had stored a lot of paperwork and magazines in it.

I got the magazines out and off to recycling today. I shredded a lot of paper but have a lot more to go.

It is official I am a HOARDER and cannot be trusted with magazines. What a relief to have them gone!"

I'm so proud of you Cindy! I am so glad you've experienced relief from getting rid of this clutter, and you know what, that was an amazing amount of paper clutter you got rid of in a short period of time!

Sandra donated her old magazines to a teacher who could use them in her classroom {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


Sandra sent in the photo above, and she said, "I was able to find a teacher who is picking up these 2 bags of magazines. Over 100 magazines between my entire family. I am feeling good right now."

Fay decluttered all these magazines as part of the #Declutter365 missions {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


Fay sent in the photo above, saying, "Thanks to a local request for old magazines I have decluttered health and fitness mags, family mags and started on the cooking mags. Nice to know they have a home to go to rather than the recycling bin."

Gather up your magazines from all around your home and once you see how many you've really got it will motivate you declutter them! {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


Finally, the pictures in the collage above were sent in by a reader, Karen, who kept coming across more magazines as she decluttered her home. She said of the top picture, "I'm cleaning in my living room this am. Thanks to this Declutter 365 group I went through magazines in the rack. This represents a very small portion of my magazine clutter, but here it is. Pile on left is to keep (for now !) Others are headed for recycling later today!"

Then, about a month later she sent in yet another photo, the one on the bottom. She said, "Ok everyone, I have taken the first steps to decluttering magazines. I finished reading my current 'Country' magazine and gave it to a friend. Here is my first pile of magazines (several were still wrapped in plastic) I'm giving away! Still hanging on to a LOT of 'Country', but not for long ! (Maybe ) lol!"

You've got to start somewhere Karen, so good job! I hope this has helped inspire you to declutter your piles. You can read my thoughts below about how many magazines are "too many."

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How Many Magazines Is Too Many?

Every time we do the Organizing Magazines, Newspapers & Catalogs Challenge on the site I get some version of this question -- how many magazines is too many?

It may seem maddening, but I'm not one for giving hard and fast rules because I think everyone needs to make determinations like this for themselves.

Signs You May Have Too Many Magazines

How to declutter magazines, including signs you've got too many, and lots of photos from readers who've already taken on this mission to inspire you {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
However, you may have too many magazines if you have a big stack of them on your coffee table, like the reader above did, and haven't even bothered to read them lately.

Magazines are something that is supposed to give us enjoyment, allow us to relax a bit and maybe learn something while also be entertained. If you look at your stacks of magazines and you don't feel those feelings, the anticipation of diving in, you may have too many.

I know I felt that way personally when all of a sudden my weekly rag celeb magazine felt like another task to check off my list of things to read rather then something I enjoyed and looked forward to.

For me, I realized one, I was in a busy season of my life and didn't have time to read it, so I felt guilt as I looked at the accumulating pile, knowing I paid money for those, and should read them, but goodness, I didn't feel I had time. So for me I let go of the guilt and didn't renew the subscription, and really I haven't regretted it!

Remember These Days A Lot Of This Information Is Online

Plus, with the explosion of the Internet you can read a LOT of the stuff magazines discuss online, and save it digitally using Pinterest to boot! (By the way, follow me on Pinterest, I love it over there!).

I found with some of my magazine subscriptions I didn't find new ideas, because I'd already seen it before, online. Again, this meant I wasn't as excited when the magazine came in the mail. Again, I knew that meant for me two things. First, don't renew that subscription again, it was a waste of money. And second, just donate those magazines and move on without the guilt. Magazines aren't like homework -- we don't have to read them if we don't want to!

So basically, what I'm saying is, if you aren't actually reading all those magazines you're accumulating -- you may have a clutter problem.

Do You Really Need To Save All Those Back Issues?

In addition, with the fact that you can find so many ideas online these days, you should seriously consider the "why" of you saving back issues of magazines, before you actually work hard on organizing and storing them. It may instead be time to let those back issues go.

Or perhaps not! No one can decide for you what is and is not clutter. Only you can. But that stack up there, in the picture above, you'd have to work pretty hard to convince me that isn't too many magazines. That's my thoughts on the matter anyway. What are yours?

Are You Ready To Declutter Your Home?

declutter 365
I hope seeing these pictures has inspired you to declutter your magazines, and perhaps even cancel a subscription or two if you don't actually enjoy that particular periodical anymore.

When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.

I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.

Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Get Rid Of Entertainment & Medial Clutter Hall Of Fame

Getting Rid Of Paper Clutter Hall Of Fame

Go From Declutter Magazines: 15 Minute Mission To Home Page

Comments for How Many Magazines Is Too Many?

Click here to add your own comments

get rid of them as I go
by: Amanda

I throw them out or give them away when I'm done.

binders full of articles
by: Melissa

I keep a binder of articles I want to read again, ideas to use, etc. It's not too full at the moment though! I have three magazines to go through at the moment... I only get one subscription.

how I save articles
by: Caitlin

I try to save articles in Evernote.

I stopped subscriptions
by: Kimberly

I stopped getting subscriptions to magazines a long time ago. If I find one I want to buy I buy from the store, keep the article I want and recycle the rest. No more clutter from magazines for me.

I don't want to toss my Good Housekeeping!
by: Ings

I want a shelf just for my magazines. Good Housekeeping... just so many great tips and ideas that I don't want to toss! A binder is a nice idea though!

Limit how much space they take up
by: Anonymous

Space dictates what I keep. I have a shelf where I keep the household magazines (my husband can't bear to part with some of his motoring mags). When the binder for the publication is full something has to go. Either it's the oldest issue or the lasts years worth. A lot depends on how often they arrive and how thick each one is.

An Eye Opener
by: Gloria

Several months ago my husband was critically ill and we almost lost him. He pulled through, thanks to Almighty God, who led the wonderful doctor's hands. Returning home I started looking around the house, wondering about all of the unnecessary 'stuff' we had, and what would happen to either of us, should one of us not be able to help the other. I began a decluttering plan, and then came upon your site. By then I gave away the excesses we had. It did make me feel good to get a bit in order, and know that someone else would enjoy my barely used clothes, shoes, blankets, etc. I then went through bunches of quilting books and magazines. Sitting down on the floor, going through each page, I mostly realized that I had fallen in love with projects I had not even thought of for over a year. I gave myself just 2 of the magazine holders, I could keep no more than what would fit in them. I kept dwindling down the stash, until I had my absolute favorite mags. or just the pages that I wanted to keep.

All subscriptions have been canceled! Regarding the books, those are much harder to pull away from. Some have already been taken to the library. I intend to sell a few on EBay. I started with a full, tall bookcase of books, I am, so far down to half. My goal is to drop it down to 2 shelves, and not buy books or mags., just because... No more impulsive shopping.

how I keep magazines from piling up
by: Suzanne

When I read a magazine I tear out pages I want to remember- recipes, websites I want to look at, etc. These go in a folder and then I can throw away the magazine. When I have a few extra minutes I go through my folder and take care of the things I wanted to do, like look up and pin recipes. It really keeps the magazines from piling up!

Craft and Visual Media
by: Anonymous

My magazine situation is derived from needing inspiration.

I currently have stopped receiving and buying women's magazines, and momentarily stopped going to Hobby Lobby where they have a 40% discount. I previously reduced the particular magazines I used to get, from all Scrapbooking and Crochet to only a select few, and now none. If I see one, I'll probably get it so I'm not going in there right now.

My problem is that I want to find a relatively quick and easy way to electronically categorize the projects from the magazines I have (as well as future magazines) and much prefer to have electronic issues that do not disappear if I decide not to renew that year.

It isn't just a simple 'read and throw away' but it is causing me major problems. The binder idea just isn't working because it is on overload. Right now I'd be happy to have them all in storage boxes but they're taking over my floor.

Magazine decluttering
by: Barbara

I take several magazines and sometimes do get behind, especially when I travel. I stack them on the end of a counter in the kitchen nearest the living room. I read some parts when I am eating. I always take one to the living room with me when I chose to watch TV. Rather than getting upset by the endless stream of commercials, I mute the sound and read until the commercials are over. I skim articles I'm not really interested in and tear out anything worth keeping. Then I recycle the rest. The only magazine I keep is National Geographic. I use back articles of it for advance travel ideas. I would like to find a place to donate the back issues of National Geographic.

It's not homework!
by: Paulin

My Dad passes on magazines for me to do the puzzles. I love to do them but the pile is getting higher. Your comment about not having to read them has struck a chord. It is becoming a bit like homework so I am about to put them in the recycling bin. Now that the better weather has arrived I should be outside and not reading magazines. Success!

bring on the next challenge!
by: Dessert Diva

This was my first week on the challenge, and I love it so much I've convinced 3 other friends and two complete strangers to join too. I started off giving my husband his pile of mags to go through, then I started going through my own. I ripped out any of the recipes I wanted out of them, the reason why I'd kept them, and put them in my recipe binder. Now I have 2 full shopping bags of magazines by the front door ready to donate, and more importantly, out of my house! :)

Thank you,
Looking forward to the next challenge!

save just articles, not the whole magazine
by: Tudy Ellis

If I find something I like I put the article in a three ring binder to save it.

Cooking Magazines
by: Clare

Cooking magazines have such amazing recipes - I cut out approx. 5 appealing recipes from each magazine and put them in a file - but it seems I don't ever make time to cook them! Any suggestions?

Re cooking magazines
by: Taylor

Clare, I totally understand what you mean! I would suggest looking at the Recipe Organization Challenge for tips on organizing recipes, and the Meal Planning Challenge to help you work out a consistent way to try some of those new recipes, or the strength to let them go without guilt!

In addition, I've recently written an article about how to declutter cookbooks and cooking magazines.

followed your advice
by: Vicky

Thanks for your advice. I am slowly clearing and organising but I recently followed your advice. I cancelled subscriptions and went through years of magazines removing articles. I'm now hoping to sell at a car trunk event which are popular in the UK. I have kept some for now. I just have to file it all away.

Good Advice!
by: Dianne Rogers

I'm a saver of the Women's World magazine. I love this one and am addicted to it at every grocery store. Thanks for the advice that "new/updated" stuff will come out in the next issues (although I have a gluten-free recipe one I'm keeping). I will donate these magazines to the local senior center.

Garage Sales Love Magazines
by: Debbie N.

I had too many magazines that I wasn't getting around to reading. I was having a garage sale so I gathered them up and priced them at 25 cents each. They flew out the door. People were thanking me for selling them. A woman told me that is the only way she buys magazines. I didn't make a ton of $. But they are out of my house, and I made people happy.

Magazine Disposal & Idea File
by: Anonymous

When I go through a magazine I turn down the pages of what I might want to keep. When I get too many I simply return to the turned down pages, decide whether to keep the whole magazine, tear out the article/recipe, or toss it. On second glance I usually just toss it. I have folders: To Read, Decorating Tips, Recipes, etc. and file them as I tear them out. Then as I read them, I toss them.

Not Renewing Subscriptions
by: Barbara

I had a ton of quilting magazines but my main interest now is Crazy Quilting. I find plenty of that on line so I decided not to renew quilting subscriptions when they expire. Members of my quilters guild have been bringing magazines we have finished using to meetings and exchanging them for a quarter. Money goes to buy new books for our library. (Sometimes the magazines get sold more than once.) My husband doesn't read as much as he used to so we are not renewing some of his subscriptions.

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