My “Thing”: Keeping a Bunch of Old Magazines

by Kevin on September 12, 2008

I’ve had several magazine subscriptions over the past four or so years. Money Magazine and Kiplinger’s for personal finance. Inc. for small business and entrepreneurship. Bimmer magazine for my BMW fix. I also was a member of the BMW Car Club of America (BMWCCA) and received their awesome magazine, Roundel.

You would think I might read the magazines, enjoy the articles, and throw the magazine away. You would be sorely mistaken.

It seems my ‘thing’ is to take these magazines and put them in a box. The box goes in a stack with other boxes also full of magazines.

Why keep old magazines?

I’m sure my wife would love a logical explanation as to why I do this. I keep the personal finance magazines with the thought that someone might ask me a question on a specfic topic, and I would remember it was in one of my magazines recently. I could think go digging through the boxes, flipping through the pages, in hopes of finding that golden nugget of information.

I kept the car magazines because of the nice photography on the covers. I planned to one day have a “man room” and I would decorate the walls with these awesome magazine covers. Or perhaps I could put them up in the garage.

The Lure of “Stuff”

I had plans for those magazines in those boxes, but I’ve rarely used or looked at them. Last year I went through and purged a lot of the personal finance magazines because they were no longer relevant. I need to do it again, but I don’t want to lose valuable information. I need a system to deal with this stuff.

The car magazines, admittedly, I have held onto. I don’t know if I’ll ever put them up like I originally planned to. They don’t take up too much space for now.

This is a classic tale of how stuff works its way into our lives. Perhaps you’ve got boxes of computer equipment that is old, but you can’t force yourself to get rid of it. Or an old digital camera, laptop, or clothes that don’t fit.

It’s the lure of stuff. It seems to seep through the window sills and under the doors until we are surrounded with it. I think we do a pretty good job of keeping it at bay, but I’m always interested in new tips.

So dear readers, tell me, how do you fight “stuff”?

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Christina @ Northern Cheapskate September 12, 2008 at 9:21 am

My husband is a paper horder. He will save magazines, newspapers, brochures, you name it! He likes to have it “just in case.”

One thing I told him that has helped cut down on our clutter, is to remember that this information will always be available online somewhere or at the public library. Let others keep the information for you and only keep the reeeeeallly important stuff.

That mindset has helped us tame the paper tiger. 🙂

As for accumulating other stuff (which I’m guilty of doing)… having a small house helps! You can’t keep what you can’t store!

Miss Thrifty September 12, 2008 at 9:38 am

Bung those mags on eBay! I’ve sold all kinds of outdated and off-the-wall titles there – it’s amazing what people will buy.

JB September 12, 2008 at 10:15 am

@Miss Thrifty – are you serious? People buy old magazines?

M September 12, 2008 at 12:10 pm

You might consider scanning the articles you feel worthwhile about and labeling them accordingly. Electronic storage takes up much less space than boxes of magazines. You could in theory sell them on eBay if others were interested or donate them to a friend who might like to read them or recycle them, as appropriate.

Matt @ Steadfast Finances September 12, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I run a “as paperless as possible” system. If I find a link or story I like, I copy to it in Google Notes and put a few tags on it so I can find it quickly if ever needed again. Firefox also has a few plugins like Zotero or Foxmarks that can store your favorite stories on a server. Beats shuffling through those old boxes b/c there is very little chance I could find it once that box gets filled up.

If I have a paper copy of something that is vitally important, I scan it and store it on a memory stick.

CAYG September 12, 2008 at 1:16 pm

CAYG – Clean As You Go…just a nifty acronym my mom taught me.
Can these financial magazines be accessed online? My suggestion is make your computer keep them for you.
If you really need/want a hard copy, then take the magazine apart and save the important articles in a filing system that will be handy for you.
I like Matt’s suggestions: google notes and scanning. I do a lot of scanning for work, and it’s a great way to go paperless. These days most personal printers come with the scanning option, so that shouldn’t be too hard to incorporate at home.
I too am curious about selling magazines online. Wow!

Trish September 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Once a year (this time of year for me, actually), I go through everything in the house. If it hasn’t been used in the past year, it is gone. End of story. I hate clutter to begin with, but I was starting to accumulate stuff. Badly. Last year was a major overhaul and took almost an entire month to go through everything so completely. I still had boxes that I hadn’t even unpacked from the last move. However, three SUV loads to Goodwill later, I was free. And it felt great.
The first time you try this, have a friend help. You’ll need someone who is not emotionally attached to it to help you let go. I’ll say this, I don’t miss anything I’ve gotten rid of.

Brian September 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm

I am the same way. I have magazines going 5 years back. I also keep old bills i know i will never look at again. Its a problem best solved by loved one nagging you to throw away

Kevin September 14, 2008 at 9:22 pm

@Christina: Good point. I probably just need to get rid of the finance magazines. The car magazines — especially the car club one — wouldn’t be readily available online or in a library.

@M: Scanning seems like a lot of work 🙂 I might try the eBay route, but gosh, I can’t imagine anyone buying old issues of Money Magazine.

@Trish and CAYG: Yea, sounds like I just need to pick a day and regularly clean things out.

@Brian: Glad I’m not alone!

M September 15, 2008 at 7:33 am

Scanning will force you to think about whether or not you really need to keep a given article/issue. Some people might buy old magazines (I have sold a year’s worth of old Cosmopolitan magazines on eBay – the person who bought them had done an internship with Cosmo and wanted copies of the articles she helped produce and hadn’t thought of getting them at the time) and other magazines may have more resale value than others. You could also donate them to a local library or simply recycle them if you are finished with them, or pass them on to other recently financially more aware people… could be a future contest prize, who knows.

Someone might be more willing to buy the car magazines since they are more specialized if you can bear to part with them. Otherwise, again, scan the articles you are most interested in or the whole magazine if you like, then enjoy the newly decluttered space or display the magazines on a bookcase so you may be more likely to peruse them, etc.

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