Mission #1: Magazines

I love to read. And I really love to read magazines. When I was growing up, my grandmother sold magazine subscriptions. For every birthday and Chanukah, we would get to pick out a magazine subscription as our gift. My sister and I treated this like we were picking out a car - we had to do the research. We went to the library to read back issues of every magazine out there, narrowed down our choices, and finally called Grandma with this year's carefully selected choice. Our choices evolved over the years, but there were always plenty of magazines coming into our house to enjoy.

As an adult, I've continued the habit of reading magazines. I have subscriptions to 4 or 5 that I look forward to getting each month, as well as several extras that I picked up for free. This wouldn't be a problem if I were a normal person who read the magazine the week it came in, tore out the occasional recipe or idea, and recycled the rest. But I am not that person. The magazines stack up, and stack up quickly. I try to at least keep them neat and tidy...a cute basket by my side of the bed for the ones I am reading at night, a basket in the living room, holders on the bookshelf in our office, and two (yes, two) shelves in our kitchen. And, of course, there are the random issues that end up stacked on the coffee tables, kitchen table, backpacks, laptop bags, etc. I admit it - I have a problem.

Sadly, I don't think it's a problem that is going to go away any time soon. I'm not going to give up my magazine habit (though I have cut back my number of subscriptions over the past few years), and it will take some time for me to realize that I don't need to save every issue. One of the joys of magazines is that you can read them once and recycled them. There will, of course, be another article about how you can drop 10 pounds in 30 days next month - no need to hold onto this one. But even if I can't solve the problem, I can at least tame it.

This first mission is simple - find, sort, and organize my magazines into a useable and realistic system. That means just a few magazines to be saved and a ton to be recycled.

Like every "expert" tells you, you need a plan. And my plan for this mission is relatively simple:
1. Find all magazines in the house. ALL magazines. Look in the backpack I took to Mexico, the stack by my bed, the scattered issues on my desk - ALL of them.
2. Sort the magazines. I will sort by title, but you can use whatever sorting method you like. I am sorting them by title because there are some that I can recycle without giving them a second glance (alumni magazines, sorority magazines, etc), some that I would like to look through again (cooking magazines), and some that I want to save for inspiration (scrapbooking magazines).
3. Go through the magazines and get rid of the vast majority of them. I keep 2 years of scrapbooking magazines in pretty holders on my bookcase for inspiration and ideas (and yes, I do actually look at these, so I feel ok in keeping them). But I am giving all other magazines a 3 month "shelf-life". June, July, and August are in - everything before that is out.
4. Put away the few I am keeping - bring the rest to the library to donate or the recycling drop off place.
5. Pat self on back for completing a mission. Pretend that I never had 3 year old People magazines sitting on a shelf in my house.


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