Friday, March 18, 2011

Cleaning up the (Paper) Clutter

We're two weeks into Simple Mom's Project Simplify series, and when I first found out about the series I was so excited!

Then BAM!  The very first challenge was the Master Bedroom Closet.  Well, seeing as how I just finished organizing my closet, I kinda skipped out on that one.

Then came this week's challenge: Paper Clutter.  And I thought, "Well, Tsh, you already inspired me to clean up my paper clutter."  Since January I have added a basket right by the door to recycle paper, I created a Mommy Notebook to hold important (and less important) paper clutter, and I showed you how I organize my child's growing artwork portfolio.

Just when I was thinkin' I would have to skip another week of the party, I got to the section about something near and dear to my heart: magazines.  Oh yes, I might have a slight issue with magazines.  Without further ado, here's the dilly:

The "light reading" basket in the powder room.

My end-table, which now sports only a few most recent mags.

The corner of my office, aka "Magazine Purgatory" turned blessedly empty corner.

Wow, I let it get bad.  Fortunately I have a system. And now, with further ado, I'll show you what it is.

Step One: Let your magazines pile up until they threaten to topple over and block all exits.  Just kidding.  Kinda. I have been getting more magazines thanks to all the points programs I use (thank you, My Coke Rewards).  I love them, but I may need to draw the line somewhere soon.

Step Two: Set aside some time to tear those things apart.  This is key: set a time limit!  Last week I went through an entire diaper box full of Real Simple in 10 minutes, because that's all the time I gave myself.  If I don't limit myself I sit and read the magazines, which quite clearly I don't have time for.  Here's everything you'll need:

Just tear, staple when necessary, and create one big stack.  Actually, I usually create two stacks: recipes and everything else.  It is easiest to do only minimal amount of sorting at this stage. Your couch is only so big.

Step Three: Take your stack someplace roomy like your kitchen counter and sort it into categories.  You might want to wait and create your categories after you see what you were drawn to and what you collected.  Mine are:

Then you are ready to file your articles by category into an accordion folder.  I got this one at Target a few years ago and it is still treatin' me right:

Another option?  Years ago, I tore every page out of every issue of House Beautiful and put them in binders like these:

Because everyone needs every page of House Beautiful from 1993 and 1997...right?

Step Four:  Further categorize your recipes and file them in your "Recipes" accordion-file:

I'm so full you can't even see my dividers, can you?  They're there, I promise!!!
Told ya so!

Step Five: Bask in the glow of your semi-annual magazine purge!  Good job lady!

Anyhoo, those piles I showed you?  I got rid of those in a couple of hours.  A couple of hours while watching TV that I otherwise would have just been watching TV.  So, hey, wasting my brain offset by being productive...yay me.  To me, that time is worth it to be able to reference all these great ideas. could just carry your piles of magazines directly out to your recycling bin.  Then you get to bask in your clutter-free glow without giving up any of your time.  Hmmm...that just might be simplicity nirvana right there.

Maybe someday.


P.S. You know I'm lovin' the Linky at Simple Mom!


  1. Shell, you inspire me (as I sit here at my cluttered desk)!! Thanks for the tips!

  2. Love the system, I purged my magazine collection years ago and haven't looked back-but I love how you have all your faves organized like this! Thanks for being on my blog today! :)

  3. Great job on moving those magazines out! I'm down to just a couple of subscriptions. When a new mag comes in, it goes to my end table where I sit for tv. Next time I'm watching tv, I thumb through it and rip (no scissors need) out each article I want to read or save. When I get up to go to the bathroom or kitchen, the remainder of the magazine is carried with me to the recycling bin. Although I do have some idea binders, most of the articles end up recycled after being read! :)

  4. great idea to sort into a recipe pile and "other". I'm always trying to find a recipe I saw in one of my MANY magazines I try to keep up with!

  5. Way to go! You did great -- love your magazine accordion file.


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