Your question: “I love reading scrapbook magazines and idea books. But they are taking over my scrap space. About 8 months ago I threw out a bunch. But I’m still overwhelmed. What should I do???”

basket for magazines and catalogsMy answer: I love reading … uh, rather collecting … magazines, too! My list of favorites includes Simple Scrapbooks, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Domino, Cooking Light, Better Homes and Gardens … and the list goes on from there. If I’m not careful, magazines can definitely start to take over. Regardless of the type of magazines you collect, the important thing is to have a filter, some criteria that guides you in deciding which magazines or individual articles to keep, and which ones to pass along to someone else.

To create a filter, you need to understand why you’re keeping a magazine or an article. What will you use the information for? If you enjoy browsing through magazines — just because you find it relaxing to look at the pictures — you may want to keep a years worth of your favorites on hand.

If your reason for keeping a magazine or specific articles is more purposeful, the filter has more to do with the relevance of the information you’re keeping and how it applies to your current life and projects. Here are some examples:

Scrapbook magazines

  • Which projects are you currently working on or planning to start? Keep magazines, idea books or specific articles that apply to or provide inspiration for these specific projects.
  • What inspires you? Is it great photographs, unique layouts, brave color combinations? Create an inspiration file or notebook full of images that inspire you … then pull it out whenever you get stuck.
  • Speaking of getting stuck, where do you get stuck when you scrapbook? Is layout a struggle for you? Is coordinating colors? Coming up with a catchy title? A possible filter in this case would be to keep only those articles or ideas that help you solve a problem you routinely encounter when you scrapbook.

Cooking magazines

  • Keep recipes you’re likely to make! When I browse through cooking magazines I tend to over keep, pulling out recipes for things I’d love to EAT but would never have the time or notion to make. If you cook with five ingredients, collect five ingredient recipes and forgo the five-course, in the kitchen all day recipe options — no matter how delicious they look! (Treat yourself to a dinner out instead!)

Home décor magazines

  • What decorating or home renovations are you working on or planning to start in the near future? Keep articles and pictures that you’re likely to use on those projects. Remember, design trends change quickly … so if you’re not planning to redo your master suite for the next five years, keeping mounds of pictures of inspiring master suites doesn’t make it through your filter.

General filter

  • To create a general filter, ask yourself this: “Would you look through your stacks of magazines to get your hands on this info again – or – would you look up the information on the internet?” If you head straight to Google every time you have a dilemma to solve or are in need of inspiration, you don’t likely need to have a reference library at home, too. Bottom line … keep what you’ll use! Ditch the rest.
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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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