How to Organize Magazines

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How To Organize Magazines

I love magazines, but they can get out of control so easily! Here is how I organize my magazines so I can get the most out of them without them taking over my life!

How To Organize And Use Magazines:

Limit how many magazines you subscribe to. Not only will it save you money but also time and clutter. I know what it is like to love reading magazines but you have to be honest. If you don’t have time to read them or can’t find them when you want them, what good are they?

One thing I learned as a young mom was to use my library. On those days when I just had to “get away from it all” I would go to the library and sit in the peace and quiet reading magazines. If there was an article I needed I would copy it and, on rare occasions when there were several things I liked in it, I would buy the magazine at the stands. (I did this just once.)


It is hard for me to pay full price for a magazine because every place I live the public library sells or gives away their extras. I can often go to my library and get this month’s Woman’s Day or Better Homes and Gardens for a dime. Even if they are a few months older it doesn’t matter. Many people don’t get around to reading their subscription magazines until they are a month or two old anyway.

For the magazines I do have, here’s how I deal with them:

  1. I try to read them right away, preferably within the week I receive them. Take them with you while waiting to pick up the kids from school or waiting at the doctors office. Keep a magazine in the car to read while waiting for a train or between appointments.
  2. I tear out the article I want to keep, which I put into a file folder that is kept on my desk.
  3. When the folder is full, I have a small file box divided into categories. At night, when I’m watching TV or sitting with the kids doing homework I file everything away. I do this every time the folder gets full. If I don’t, I become overwhelmed. Control yourself. If the folder is full you can’t add more articles. You have to throw them away! So file the things away regularly.

Though I limit my magazine articles to one file box, I realize some of you may need more room. You can use a filing cabinet or a small filing box for each category. Then the filing boxes can be placed on some shelving.

Be sure to label them clearly.

The list of categories you choose to divide your articles into when organizing them depends on your own interests and tastes. Here are some of the categories I divide my magazines into:


I then sub-divide those categories again when I get a lot of magazine articles to organize.

For example:





Once again, adjust it to your own needs.

Last but most important is to throw the magazine out, give it to someone else to read or give to the thrift store. If you have a friend or relative that enjoys the same types of magazines you do, share the subscriptions.

One person can subscribe to one magazine and the other person to another magazine. Then swap with each other. If there is something you want to keep from your friend’s magazine, ask if they want it and, if they do, just make a copy of the one article.

Magazines are taking over our homes. If you don’t have time to read them, stop buying them. I don’t care what a good deal they were. Why pay even a small amount of money for something to sit in a corner collecting dust?



P.S.  If you are afraid you are going to miss something important in a magazine, think again. I found a ladies magazine from 1917 in my home and compared it to a new magazine in 1975. The articles and things they talked about were the same, even the ideas. A year ago I pulled out that same 1917 magazine and it was still true for today. It included articles on how to cook well balanced healthy meals (oatmeal was good for you), how to get the cleanest clothes, gardening tips and most of the tips were the same tips as we find in today’s magazines.



  1. Elly says

    Hi Tawra! I’ve got your book, have emailed you but you may not really ‘know me’. Still, I have a brand new blog here and when I get computer-saavy, may I link here? Just check me out to feel comfortable before responding. I want to link to frugal/christian sites. Thanks. If you could, you can leave a message on my page. Thank you.

  2. Mom2fur says

    I used to be a magazine freak, especially when it came to scrapbooking magazines. (My other weakness is cooking magazines.)Then I stopped to think just how much I was getting out of each issue. When I realized it was sometimes only one or two articles, it was time to end my subscriptions. Now I only get a few magazines–and I read the others at the library.
    A new one I’m just getting is “All You.” Cover price is just $1.97, but the coupons in it add up to a lot more. Since I definitely will use the coupons–it’s like getting the magazine free. And I’ll take all the free I can get, LOL!

  3. says

    I have a lot of magazines, but I don’t subscribe to them. About 90% or more have been purchased at thrift stores. Good information, great recipes and useful tips don’t go out of date, and I feel that paying a quarter for a couple of magazines is a worthwhile investment.

    I too pull the useful articles and recycle the rest except for those few magazines that are useful from cover to cover. I keep my articles in binders so that they are easier to reference.

  4. Debbye says

    I have a similar method, but I scan articles and save them on my computer. I have folders for many of the same categories that you have. The only time I actually save the paper is when I know I will be using it in a very short time.

  5. says

    Most magazines have online magazine sites.
    They are shown sometimes on the cover or the spine of the magazines you buy.
    The one I like is Canadian Living because of the recipes and all the recipes are now on the site so I don’t need all the ads and fluff that comes in the printed version. It is on site as well but I can skip it easier.
    I have noticed that some magazines are on face book sites so if you have a favourite magazine and not much space for clutter check out on-line.

  6. Bea says

    I use to get so many magazines about 15 years ago, or so, but many magazines have gone downhill big time. I’m tired of magazines discribing sex and showing pictures of scantly clad or almost nude women. And these are women’s magazines for women!!! What a joke. I honestly think older magazines had more class and morals. I look for them at thrift stores and yard sales. I have a huge book that contains articles from “Ladies Home Journal” since they started, with women in long pretty dresses etc., that has articles that have so much more depth and insight on just about every subject. These articles are over 100 years old and much better written than todays junk. I don’t waste my money. My library gives away magazines every month. Usually they are several months old. I take the craft ones or the ones on antiques or English Gardens etc. NO nearly nude women. So they are nice and FREE.

  7. Tanya says

    I love magazines and have ever since I was little. I have stacks of them at home. Some I gave to a co-worker, others I found out I could donate to a local laundromat, so a big pile of them are going there.

    I have one favorite magazine that is so beautiful I keep every issue; others I read, tear out articles and pass on. I just need to do it more often! Thanks for the reminder.

  8. A says

    I trade out old magazines on the give-away shelf at our library. Take some, read and return them. My only two subscriptions stay home on file because they are true treasures, jam-packed with great info.

  9. Heidi says

    Wow, that is a really great system you came up with.

    At the beginning of the year I committed to not renew any of my magazine subscriptions. I had a few that I got great deals on online i.e. Family Fun 1 year for $3.79. It is just one more thing for me to have to take care of – tidy the side table, organize them, mark articles and then remember they are marked so that I can go back to them later…

    I started to feel as though all the magazines really were was paid advertising, meaning that *I* was paying so that they could advertise to me! The articles were designed to inspire me to cook something fancy (or cheap and processed $$), make something that I would have to buy supplies for (but that will be easy thanks to their handy buying guide on the back page), change the way my home looked because it wasn’t good enough (just look at the pretty decor), buy new clothes because I’m out of fashion. Ugh, I give up.

    I know that some folks really enjoy them ,but I’m much happier and more content now that I have left them all behind.

  10. Heidi says

    I want to add that I much prefer to follow and support blogs, such as this one, instead. The subscription is free, *anything* you want to know can be found somewhere online, Adblock is great, and the information is coming from real people so it’s applicable.

  11. rose says

    there is this magazine called tea time that walmart sells .. it shows different teas, tea cups, pots, china .. different kinds of recipes to serve with the tea’s .. its a really pretty magazine ..

  12. Nadine in Nevada says

    Like Debbye I scan what I want out of each magazine. That way I can give the intact hand-me-down to someone else who can benefit from it.

    As I’m reading I keep a pen handy. When I find something I want to keep I put a check mark next to and fold the page. Magazines I have read are put in a pile on my desk. Once a month I scan/file the pages.

    I keep a list of books I want to read in my NOOK under a wishlist.

  13. Melinda says

    I trade magazines with friends and then donate them to a friend that has a summer house where I live. When she is done, I take them to the local school recyclin bin. I enjoy your blog.

  14. says

    I also love magazines, but want to pay as little as possible for them or nothing at all. For several years I would take mine to the hospital waiting rooms. Now I am in a “round robin” group were we pass along magazines to different families. When I’m through with them there are two families on my road that I drop them off to. One is disable and the other woman lives alone & doesn’t drive. They appreciate them so much!!! They in turn give them away to someone else or recycle them. I get so many different magazines…I just love it. I dont know all the people that are involved, but I know at least 10 households pass them around.

  15. Maggie says

    I used to subscribe to about 15 magazines. I never had enough time to read them all and they just kept piling up. As the subscriptions expire, I do not renew them. I subscribed to Good Housekeeping since 1964 (my mom had a subscription) and I really liked the magazine but as Jill says, how many ways can you make meatloaf. :) So I did not renew it this year, however, my daughter loves it so I sent her a subscription for her birthday and will continue it as a gift. I have been taking the old mags and tearing out articles I want to read and tossing the rest. What I have found is that almost every other page is an ad and mostly on the right hand side of the page (where one looks first when you open the magazine). So much of the magazine has been thrown away, that I am sure I am wasting my money. As one other commenter said, I don’t need to always see new, new, new. My life is doing okay and I don’t need to buy to keep up-to-the-minute. Anyway, I do like the categories you listed for keeping track of articles. I find that putting a few in my purse when traveling or waiting somewhere is great. I can throw them away when they are read and keep cleaning out. I do send my new magazines to my daughter but the old ones are ripped up and tossed.

  16. Cocoa says

    I have a TON, okay, a few tons, of knitting magazines and the like as well as patterns, many of them very vintage. I used to subscribe to way too many of them. I stopped subscribing and I think it may be around 5 magazines in the past two or three years that I have actually bought. I do put them in wooden magazine files that I buy from Ikea when I find them in the as-is section for a few dollars. I found a feature on which has a library inventorying program, and it is FREE! I have logged most of my inventory and when I came up with over 750 entries (some stored on the computer), I did not need to think twice when I visited the bookstore for a “therapeutic glance” at the huge selection of knitting and craft magazines they stock.

  17. says

    I take my old magazines to the local Vocational cosmetology school and put them in the “waiting room”, also the hospital waiting room in the ER, also my doctor’s office. If I have a big stack, I put them on Freecycle. Teachers like them for projects.

  18. Mary M says

    I have Romantic Homes, Victoria, Bon Appetit and Cuisine – now out of print. My Mother and I can sit and browse these things for hours. She has dementia and the colorful pictures help her stay focused. When we are finished with the ones we don’t keep, I take them to nursing homes – they can’t get out and they love to look at them too. My aunt is in a nursing home and she likes Guideposts and all the books from ministries. I scan what I want to keep: recipes and gardening.

  19. Mary Jane says

    Years ago, a new friend of mine suffered the loss of a child. In her time of grief, I was fortunate enough to have had a subscription to a good Christian women’s magazine, that covered all the things women like to read about, but had no advertising. It is the only subscription I had ever bought, and it came out 6 times per year. I had saved my past issues as they were treasures to me. I took all of my back issues to this lady who had just lost her child. Months later, she told me how good that had been for her. An avid sewer, she found enough projects to keep her busy, realistic delicious recipes to try, and the comfort of Christian values within the pages of the magazine. The magazines had helped to soothe her grieving process. I do not have any magazines subscriptions now, but often receive some else’s hand me downs, and am grateful for them. Pass on your old magazines, and get blessed. We were pleased to find that our local senior’s homes were good places to take old farming magazines, and popular mechanics types of subscriptions. Older men love to read about their interests, too.

  20. Cynthia H says

    Don’t forget, many magazines (and newspapers!) now have websites. In some cases you have to pay a smaller subscription, but e-files take less room than paper sheets. Or consider scanning a magazine article into a .pdf file.

  21. Kaythegardener says

    Have your readers also considered taking their excess magazines to elementary & pre-schools for the teachers to use in craft projects– eg, alphabet books, seasonal/holiday placemats, paper craft beads & decorations, etc??

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