America has a huge love affair with the magazine industry. And I get it, they’re all glossy and pretty and promise all these fresh new ideas. There are thousands of magazines created every month for everything from knitting to golf and every other hobby or interest imaginable. Most people have at least 5 to 7 magazine subscriptions every month. But in this digital age, it’s just setting you up for magazine clutter everywhere and it’s terribly wasteful for the environment.
Makes me crazy because it’s such a waste. Probably millions of pages of print, MILLIONS. Most of it ends up being read once (or not at all) and then ends up in the trash – or strewn all over the house. 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.
How to Deal with Magazine Clutter
The problem with magazines is that most of them have such a short life-span. 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. 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 pay them 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’s magazine, plus my husband and son get Sports Illustrated and Popular Electronics plus untold amounts of catalogs, mail, and papers from school. It’s just crazy-making with all the clutter generated from all this paper. Plus, they cost money, and I’d rather spend mine on other stuff – like shoes! #prettyshoes #needmoreshoes
So, after all these years, I’ve decided to just say NO. This year, I am cancelling all my magazine subscriptions. 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, I don’t think so. My People magazine is the only one I used to read somewhat 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 magazine, 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. And I can always buy a single copy now and then without the pressure of having a whole subscription to worry about. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive, but one or two a year is going to be less expensive than a year-long subscription.
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 always good deal for them, but totally a bad deal for you, and for most people, it’s small dollars so they don’t notice the credit card charge until it’s too late, so they get our money and we get magazines we won’t really want, but are too busy to cancel.
But I’m sticking to my guns. No more magazines for me! Husband and son – well, that one is kind of a work in progress, but I will have 64 FEWER magazines lying around my home next year (52 weekly issues of People plus 12 monthly issues of Oprah).
PS: Everything I said here applies to newspapers too. I gave up my newspaper subscription about 5 years ago. 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 I haven’t missed them one bit. Although I do sneak a peek at the magazines in the Dr’s office or the nail salon! But I love not having all the clutter from them. I just have just one little Scouting magazine that I get now and I actually have time to read that one.
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.
I don’t subscribe anymore either. I spend enough time in waiting rooms to read what I want to, and I also have a wonderful library if I really get the itch. Plenty of catalogs still seem to show up in my mailbox as well, so if I desperately need something to leaf through, I can!
Exactly! It reminds me of my father-in-law. He would spend about 5 hours per day watching the news – the same stories over and over again day after day. I always thought that was a terrible way to waste your life. I’d much rather spend my time doing something more productive and positive.
Omg Magazine clutter is like a never ending cycle. I have stacks in my office that I need to purge but I can’t stand the digital versions. I did let my newspaper subscription go so that’s progress. I could do so much better.
So if you have just 4 monthly magazines that average 75 pages each, you are agreeing to read 3,600 PAGES worth of info over the next year. That’s a big investment of time and energy. Just think how much you could get done without all those distractions. Does that put it into perspective?
I’m so with you on this. I just purged piles of magazines that were just collecting dust on the fireplace tile. Gone. And I’m not renewing any of them. Hopefully none are on auto renew though because most of them I got free using rewards points (silly idea, why did I even do that, who has time to read these magazines anyway?).
Good for you. With every blog in the world right at your fingertips, who needs all these piles of useless paper?