Organizing Magazines and Newspapers

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.

Organizing Magazines and Newspapers

organizing magazines and newspapers

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 Week Home Organization 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).

Step 1: Declutter Your Old Magazines, Newspapers And Catalogs

The first step in this 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:


    • Only keep the latest week of newspapers, older ones should be put into your home recycling center because no one wants to read week old sports scores, and old news.
    • Keep only the most recent issue of each company’s catalog you’re interested in. Older stuff may now have a different price or no longer be available, so recycle those older catalogs instead of holding onto them.
    • If you receive a catalog and don’t plan on purchasing anything from the company for a while, just recycle it immediately, instead of holding on to it. Another one will come along soon enough, plus you can always look online if you need something in the mean time.
  • Better yet, if you don’t want anymore of those catalogs at all in the future follow these instructions for how to stop junk mail to opt out and eliminate these catalogs from even coming through the mail to you anymore.
  • Consider going digital with as many of your newsletter, periodical, magazine, and newspaper subscriptions as you can, so you don’t need to take up any space in your home with them anymore. Using a large screened mobile device, with Internet access, like an iPad or Kindle Fire can make reading on a screen an enjoyable experience, even if, like me, you thought you’d never give up paper!
  • Consider donating your old magazines to charity or other organizations, instead of just trashing or recycling them.

Step 2: Make Time To Read And Enjoy Your Magazines And Newspapers Or Stop Getting Them

If, during the process of decluttering your old magazines and newspapers 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.

Step 3: Create Files For Any Inspirational Pictures Or Ideas You See And Want To Save

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.

over the door magazine storage pocketsOver the door magazine storage
pockets [Click to buy on Amazon]

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 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:

  • Master file folder called “Bathroom remodel”
  • Sub folder called “Bathroom color palette”
  • Sub folder called “Bathroom fixtures”
  • Sub folder called “Bathroom storage solutions”

Then, once you’ve finished the bathroom remodeling project dump the contents of the folders since the project is finished!

Step 4: Corral Your Periodicals Into Logical Locations In Your Home And Rotate Them Often For Freshness

magazine rack or basketMagazine basket or rack to hold just the latest issues
[Click here to purchase on Amazon]

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 of this 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.

Step 5: Consider These Catalog And Magazine Storage Solutions

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.

Snap N Store magazine file boxMagazine file box for bookshelves
[Click here to purchase on Amazon]

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:

  • Magazine organizers, including boxes where you can hold magazines upright and place them on book shelves
  • Baskets to hold your periodicals, which you can place on the floor next to a couch or bed, for example
  • Magazine boxes, which lay flat, and that you can store whole magazine collections in
  • Magazine racks, including wall mounted and over the door varieties
  • Specially designed storage solutions used to hold reading material in specific locations of your home, such as for your bathroom or next to your bed

Tell Me How The Organizing Magazines, Newspapers & Catalogs Challenge Is Going For You

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.

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