Going on a Magazine Fast to Eliminate Clutter

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America has a huge love affair with magazines.  There are thousands of magazines created every month for everything from knitting to golf and every other hobby or interest imaginable.  I think most people have at least 5 to 7 magazine subscriptions every month.  It’s such a waste. Probably millions of pages of print and most of it ends up being read once (or not at all) and ends up in the trash. That’s kind of ridiculous when you think about it.  

Magazines can be a great way to catch up on the latest recipes, celebrity gossip, and popular weight loss tips, but they can also be a time suck, a big waste of money, and a huge source of clutter.  

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The problem with magazines is that they are time-sensitive.  You don’t want to read about patterns for Christmas stockings in April or Halloween costume ideas in December, so there is a certain time pressure to read these vs. a book or some other type of print.  And let’s face it, we’re all busy, busy, busy, so who has time to sit around reading all these magazines that keep coming in every month?  

So, instead they just lay around our house in little piles making us feel guilty for not reading all the terrific secrets contained in them.  And amazingly, we are paying good money for this heaping helping of guilt.  Hmmmm.  

I’m lumping myself right into this category.  I have my share of magazine subscriptions floating around my house – People (it’s weekly, not monthly – ugh), Oprah, my Stampin’ Up! magazines, plus untold amounts of catalogs, mail, and papers from school. It’s just crazy making!  

So, after all these years, I’ve decided to just say NO.  This year, I am letting all my magazine expire.  Yep, ALL of them.  It’s such a freeing feeling.  No more piles of magazines sitting around pressuring me to read them.  

Will I miss all the info in them?  Surprisingly, not that much.  My People magazine is the only one I used to read faithfully and then at some point, I just got off track with them.  I’d forget which ones I’d read, and I’d be looking at ones weeks out of date and feeling bad about not reading them.  Right now I have a stack of about 8 of them unread.  

I liked the Oprah ones, but honestly, it felt like WORK to read them.  There were pages and pages of ads, and some of the articles were so serious, I felt like I should be taking notes while reading them.  The Stampin’ Up! magazines were great, but there were always 8 or 10 projects that I felt I should be doing and I usually wouldn’t get around to it.  

It’s surprisingly hard to cancel a magazine subscription. These people do NOT want to lose a subscriber.  I have had Emails, letters, and “last issue” notifications all over the place.  I think this is why they put a lot of subscriptions on auto renew, which I’ve talked about before.  It’s a good deal for them, but a bad deal for you, and for most people, it isn’t enough money to want to make a big stink about, so they end up with our money and you end up with unwanted magazines.  But I’m sticking to my guns.  No more magazines for me!   

PS:  Everything I said here applies to newspapers too.  I gave up my newspaper subscription about 5 years ago, except for the Sunday paper and I recently gave that up too.  I LOVE it.  No piles of newspapers lying around the house, no depressing news to read every day.  It’s terrific.  And have I missed anything important?  Not a thing that I can think of.  Anything really important I end up seeing on the internet, hearing on the radio, or someone tells me about it.  

Update:  This post was actually from last year.  I have now survived my first year of the magazine fast and it is SO much nicer to not have all of them around.  I did end up with 3 magazines that are still showing up, but none of them are paid subscriptions.  
I have a Scouting magazine that comes in a leader’s version for my husband and I, and a Scout version for our son.  Since I don’t have all those other magazines lying around, I actually have time to READ that one and I get some good ideas for our Scout Troop.  Then I have two others that keep showing up just because I’m too lazy to go figure out how to make them stop – one from AAA and a prepaid multi-year subscription of my son’s from ESPN.  And I have received about 287 pleas from Oprah Magazine to resubscribe, but I am holding strong so far…  
Now if I could just get rid of all those darn catalogs!  Believe me, I’ve tried, but they are even peskier than the magazines to get rid of.  It’s a work in progress.
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