What solutions can you suggest for magazine freaks? I have about 10-12 magazine subscriptions–which means about 30+ objects or so come to my door each month, demanding attention. Plus I buy other magazines. I sit at a computer all day and so prefer not to switch to digital subscriptions.
Well, the first question you have to ask yourself is why do you have a dozen magazine subscriptions. These can pile up out of inertia because it’s often a lot easier to subscribe to a magazine than to unsubscribe. Whenever I get a renewal letter from a magazine I take the opportunity to consider whether I’ve been reading it and really enjoying it, or whether it’s been piling up unread. Piles of unread magazines can cause feelings of guilt, but you should remember that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Let magazine subscriptions expire if you don’t devour them and no one will think the less of you for it.
Now, I’m not sure that advice applies to Michael because he seems like an avid reader who does consume the magazines he subscribes to. If that’s the case, what I suggest you do is keep them all together in one place, pull out only the one you’re reading, and always put it back before you take out another once. Magazine clutter comes from having them strewn about–on the coffee table, by the bed, in the bathroom. A drawer or a simple desk tray might be all you need to keep all your mags in the same place. If you’d like something sharper, try a nice wall-mounted magazine rack.
Once you’re done with a magazine, throw it out. There’s no reason to keep physical copies for reference. Magazines aren’t searchable and they take up space. If you want to go back to an article, you will no doubt be able to find a digital version online. One thing I like to do to keep an article I think I might go back to is find the online version and then dump it into Yojimbo, a document management program for the Mac (there are tons of applications like this for the Mac and PC, I just like Yojimbo). This way I have the peace of mind of knowing that I didn’t throw it out without any of the heft–and it’ll be easy for me to find it again with tags and searches.
If you can’t find a online version of the article, take a page from the solution that Erin explained last week. She uses the Fujitsu ScanSnap to scan in pages she wants to keep. The device scans in both sides of a page at once and OCR’s it–that is, it makes the text computer-readable so you can search the files. She then puts the articles in DevonTHINK, an app a lot like Yojimbo.
I hope readers will share their magazine tips in the comments below. And don’t forget you can always send us your organization questions and we’ll answer them on the site.