Your challenge this week is organizing magazines, newspapers and catalogs in your home so they're not overtaking all your flat surfaces, and you can find what you want, when you want it.
This is one of those weeks of the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home Challenge where either this task will be a piece of cake for you, or this will be something that completely overwhelms you.
Typically, there is not much in between on this one. You either love to collect information of all sorts in newspapers and periodicals, and beautiful pictures in magazines and catalogs, or you don't.
If this challenge is easy for you, great! After you take the steps below keep working this week on organizing your files some more, since almost everyone can use a bit more time on that task.
If, on the other hand, you've got lots of magazines, newspapers and catalogs all over your home, let's dig in this week and get organizing!
Are you new here? The Organizing Magazines, Newspapers & Catalogs Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).
The first step in the Organizing Magazines, Newspapers and Catalogs Challenge is to declutter lots of the older issues you've got in locations all around your home.
You've only got so much time to read, and only so much space in your home, so you've got to let go of older periodicals to make room for the new ones.
When decluttering these items here are some things to keep in mind:
If, during the process of decluttering your old magazines and newspapers in the Organizing Magazines Challenge, you start to feel guilty that you haven't actually read a lot of this stuff yet, you've got to confront a bigger problem than just getting rid of excess paper in your home.
You're bigger problem is that you've got too many subscriptions and things to read for your limited time constraints.
To save yourself money, and grief, go ahead and stop your subscriptions to some of these periodicals. This may be hard to do for some of you (and I speak as a former magazine-a-holic) but it can be quite liberating to receive less stuff, so when you do get something in the mail you anticipate reading it, instead of feeling like it is another assignment you've got to read, or else.
(Here's my article on decluttering magazines, including considerations of when you may have too many, for more discussion on this topic.)
Another issue you may encounter when decluttering your newspapers and magazines, during the Organizing Magazines and Newspapers Challenge is that you want to save one or two articles or pictures in a magazine for later reference.
First, seriously consider whether you'll actually ever reference it again. I speak from experience when I say, I haven't looked at even half of the stuff I just "had" to save from magazines ever again. If that's you too, don't make a lot of work for yourself for no reason. Just toss the whole thing without wasting your time filing stuff.
In addition, with awesome digital resources like Pinterest (click the link to follow me!) you really don't need to save much of this stuff anyway, at least not in physical form. Instead, just save it digitally and save yourself quite a bit of space.
However, if you feel you must save a physical copy, tearing out a couple of pages here and there is better than keeping the whole magazine. Just make sure you place the tear outs into your home filing system under a specific project or goal, so you can find the ideas later. Throwing them all into a catch all file just begs you never to look at these things again. Plus catch all files never allow you to find what you want when you're looking for it.
Examples of a good way to file this information, say for an upcoming remodeling project in your home, would be like this:
Then, once you've finished the bathroom remodeling project dump the contents of the folders since the project is finished!
Now that you've winnowed down your collection considerably, it is time to corral all your newspapers, periodicals and catalogs into logical locations in your home, as the fourth step in the Organizing Magazines, Newspapers and Catalogs Challenge.
For example, all of your business related magazines and subscriptions might go in your home office, all your recipe magazines would go with your recipe collection, and your entertainment or fashion magazines would go in the room you prefer to read them in, such as your living room or bedroom.
The key to keeping these collections and subscriptions under control, from now on, is to only keep a certain number of them in your home. Set a limit for yourself, such as keeping the last four issues, or all that can fit into a specific magazine storage solution, for example, and then donating or recycling the rest.
The final step in the Organizing Magazines, Newspapers and Catalogs Challenge is to consider which storage solutions you will use for organization of all these subscriptions and periodicals.
One of the worst ways to go about organizing magazines is to just create stacks of them around your home. These stacks, especially of slick magazine paper, start sliding everywhere and visually make a big mess.
To help you keep your subscriptions under control visually, and also force yourself to keep only a certain amount of them at a time in your home, it is best to use magazine storage solutions. There are, of course, lots of different varieties to choose from, including the following:
Here are examples of some of the best magazine storage solutions available:
I would love to know how this week's Organizing Magazines, Newspapers & Catalogs Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized these items in your home in the comments.
I also love before and after pictures of organizational systems, and would love to see some of yours. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!
We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the Organizing Magazines, Newspapers & Catalogs Challenge this week. However, I want you to know that we're getting close to being done with most of our paper clutter and organization section, with just a couple of areas to go, plus organizing our home office (or office area).
For example, next week we'll work on organizing a couple of other miscellaneous paperwork items, such as organizing Internet passwords, and warranties and appliance and electronics manuals.
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I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!