Friday, January 25, 2008

Organizing: 101

I've been working on getting organized this month of January and I've made some progress. My office nook is straightened and decluttered now and that junk drawer in the kitchen got completely cleaned out. But, I'll admit it...I need some tips and ideas on getting better organized with my magazines. I currently subscribe to 3 different magazines: Traditional Home (my very fave!), Better Homes & Gardens (simply because they offer such darn good deals, I can't pass them up...just try not renewing sometime & see what kind of deal they will make you), and more recently Country Home (again, got a $5 per year offer & couldn't pass it up), so needless to say, I have way too many magazines sitting around. Like most of you, I so enjoy sitting down with a magazine and a cuppa something hot and delicious and getting lost in the beautiful pictures, dreaming of changes to my own decor. What ideas will I get? What can I incorporate from an inspiring article in my own home? As you can see with the above issues, I have found some diningroom chandlier inspirations that caught my eye. I'm happy to say, that little project is behind me already.
I've even tried the 3-ring binder idea, tearing out beautiful magazine articles with pictures and inserting them in binders with labels, so that I can go back and find these pictures later. You never know when you might need one of these ideas or pictures! The problem is, I don't seem to stay up with organizing them all nice and neat in the binders. This binder is several years old and I'm sure I could go back and throw much of it away now.
So, my magazines end up like this. All stacked up for months in the magazine holder in our bedroom by the easy chair. I will browse them, stick them back in the pile, pick one of them out later to look at again. You can never look at the pictures too many times, can you?
And then, they will finally make their way to my office nook where I stack them month to month. A whole year or 2 of Traditional Home. I can't seem to get rid of these, since they are my favorite. But how many years can you really comfortably keep and not have it be ridiculous. I mean, do I really think I'll go back 2 years and look at all of these again. Probably not, but still I can't let them go. So.....what do you do? I need real ideas and tips on what all of you do to keep the magazines under control and not let them take over the house? Do you do the tear-out method and keep favorite articles filed neatly away? Put them in binders or folders for later use? Or do you gladly give them away, knowing that another beautiful magazine will arrive in the mail and it will soon take it's place beside your easy chair? These are Southern Living and Better Homes & Gardens. I can sooner let these go than my Traditional Home, so I think it's time to find them a home. I know lots of places take magazine donations, so I really need to think about getting rid of some of these. I know I've heard some girls say that they are scanning their favorite magazine articles and keeping them on discs. That's an idea too, but again, that takes time.
And that brings me to my recipes. Oh. my. word! Would you look at all these recipes! You can see my organizational skills for this part of my life is not any better than the magazines. I tend to pick up, tear out, copy recipes all the time and they land all in a heap in one of my kitchen drawers. I sometimes have to go through all of them to find the one I'm looking for. And no, I haven't even made all these recipes, but I just might need it one day! I will know just the one, it's spattered and folded and I usually remember just what it looks like, I just have to find it. So, as you can see, I really need some ideas for the recipes too. How do you handle those? I do have a cute little recipe box, but it will not hold all of these and besides I'd have to reduce them all down to 3x5 index card size to fit in that box & I don't think I want to tackle that. I've thought about getting another binder with dividers for catagories: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Meats, etc. and then putting these in clear plastic holders. Has anyone tried that? Seems like it would work pretty well.

And you all thought I had it totally together, didn't you?! Well, this will show you how much I don't in some areas! Don't you feel better now? I'd much rather be redoing a lampshade or painting something than organizing. I'd love to hear from all of you on how you handle organizing around your house...especially with magazines & recipes!

Thank you ALL again for coming by to visit me! I love to hear from you and I'm so glad you enjoyed the new lampshade project.

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The Wife said...

Well, I can't help you with the magazines 'cause I'm in the same boat. My husband does the cooking but he keeps recipies that are on 8x11 paper in a 3 ring binder - no categories - just in there. Some he keeps in plastic sleeves if it is getting worn or frail - plus the plastic wipes up if it gets dirty. He also uses one of the little 5x7 (I think) freebie photo albums for all the little recipes or scraps. Again, the pages wipe clean. It's not really "organized" but at least we know that everything is in those books.

Anonymous said...

I too have an abundance of magazines that I just can't seem to part with. I paid for them and I "love" them. I just use the magazine holders and store them by issue. I bring them out for the current month and look thru them again. But I have noticed that some are alittle "dated" and probably should be recycled somehow. The recipes, well, my DH cooks and doesn't even need a recipe book so not much help. But I would go with the binder idea on that one.

Lallee said...

Rhoda, I'll have to come back and see what suggestions you get. I have cut down on what magazines I take. I have older magazine issues that I don't want to part with and they are stored in the office closet in those file boxes--not sure of the right name. I do keep a decorating folder in the file cabinet for favorite pictures. I purged it recently when I realized several of the pages were outdated styles that I wouldn't use. I have to confess I'm too lazy to take the time to do something more neatly. To help let go of my current magazines I take them to one of my favorite charity thrift stores where they sell well. For good storage, I'm afraid I need to be reading the suggestions you get rather than offering one ;-)

Rosie's Whimsy said...

I am a magazine-aholic, too......but they give me hours of enjoyment so I am not sure I want to give up the habit. I do make an effort to purge back issues and put my favorite pages in scrap books every winter. I seem to never get completely caught up but I enjoy the process and and love knowing they are waiting for me when I have a chance to just sit and dream :-)

the feathered nest said...

Well you know that I organize my magazine clippings in file folders in a bin. I donate my excess mags to my library. I do have a small bookcase where I keep all the ones that have too many good ideas to tear out or the ones I just can't donate like my ME's.

For the recipes I use a binder with those clear protectors that you can just put the tear outs in. That way you don't have to spend time gluing and also it's easier to get rid of a recipe. I have it organzied by category - dinner, desserts etc. Recipe cards have never worked for me!

Good luck - all that organizing is a big job!


Judy said...

Well Rhoda seems like you and I are in the same boat when it comes to hoarding magazines and of course, I can't pass up new ones in the stores! I have tons of magazines stored in plastic bins that fit under beds, on bookshelves, in pretty tin containers, under the ottoman in the den, you get the idea. I also started a photo album where I kept photos I tore out...I still love looking through that album even though it is about 7 years old. There are loose pages in there as well. From time to time I bundle a few of them up and sell them in my little shop. If anyone comes up with any ideas, I'd sure be open to hearing them!

Peggy said...

I know the feeling of keeping a magazine you just can't part with. I feel that way about Le Vie Claire with paper so tactile and photography you could frame. I also keep every issue of Souther Lady even though I live in western PA. The rest I recycle at my library or give to friends.
I used to tear out ideas from mags but found I edited and changed my taste over the years. I think it's great to keep just the ideas that really appeal to you and let the rest just stay in your mind for inspiration.
Those little scraps of paper with recipes on just drove me crazy so a few years ago I sat down at the computer for a few days and typed them all out and put them in a photo album with plastic sleeves. This helped me.

Rug's Bug said...

I love magazines too! I feel bad about cutting them or tearing them up. So I scan everything! Recipes, pictures. On my computer I have different file folders with categories. Such as: Recipes to Try, Decorating, Gardening, etc. Then I give the magazines away to someone who would enjoy them.
Then when I want to revisit ideas I just set my computer to slideshow and watch.
Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Haha Rhoda! This is so timely because I have been working on the magazines myself. I have several magazine baskets/holders in different rooms of the house. I've been going through and throwing some of my oldest ones out. I've gone through them first and am tearing out pages (usually pictures) and filing them. I seem to do better with the files than the binders.

I'm bad, BAD with magazines. I'm a magazine junkie!


Maureen said...

OH gosh Rho..yes, yes and yes to all of the above when it comes to magazines. Some tear-outs in binders, some precious mags saved- I can't part with some so have stacks here and there. As for organizing and scanning, etc. they say it's always good to start current with a project, so maybe start a new method now and work in some of your older "pre-organizing" stuff later if you can. Same for photos. Same too for recipes. I have been working on putting a family recipe book togehter for the longest time now- taking photos, etc. It's taking forever! In fact, if I wasn't so behind in blogland I would have added recipes to some blogs recently that were asking for them. Daisy Cottage...etc.

Mom on the Run said...

I just did this before Christmas and I got rid of hundreds of magazines--I just recycled them because otherwise I knew that I'd never get them out of my house. I have files with tear outs, and I sort them by decorating ideas, travel, holiday decorations, etc. I have saved a pile of entire copies, mostly the Christmas issues and I have those stored in a cabinet where I have extra room. I have every Victoria Magazine from the beginning and those are stored in the bottom of a closet. Just can't get rid of those! I just purged all my recipes and outdated decorating pictures before Christmas when I went on my cleaning frenzy. I like those pretty magazine holders and I keep most recent ones in those, and also found some pretty notebooks to keep all the tear sheets in (when I get a round to it!)

Probably not much help, but you're not alone in your magazine stash!

Jen said...

Right after I quit my job I finally got caught up on my favorite magazines..but couldnt bare to throw them away. I have done 2 mom and I and one of my friends all subscribe to different magazines and we exchange alot and cut out what we like....second.....I put them in binders...I have a cooking binder....a home article on kids, sex, and homelife works....and the binders stay in my closet...I go and get them sometimes looking through them for different idea....

Naturegirl said...

Rhoda you are a woman after my own heart! I have my piles of magazines that look like yours and I keep moving from pile to pile and cannot seem to part with them! I've also done the rip articles pics out and saved but I NEVER seem to look at them in the ~save binder!~ i have even bought leather otttams cubes with flip tops to hide the older can't lift those ottamans they're so heavy..I anxiously wait for some brilliant idea as you do! magazine overload..

Anonymous said...

Sorry...I am no help :( I too tend to hang on to them; I even leave little notes inside reminding me of what I liked.

So any suggestions would be helpful !!

Rhoda that lovely picture with your could pass as her Mum !!! :)

Have a great week-end !!!
Kathy :)

ThriftShopRomantic said...

I totally understand about the issues with paper.

I don't know if this will help or not, but I have a little wicker moveable file folder box which I'd gotten at Tarjjjay, and about twice a year, I go through the magazines, pulling out any inspiration pics I might want, and filing them away. Then I either donate the magazine (if it's all still intact) to a thrift, or recycle it.

Best of luck with your projects, Rhoda!

Sunny Kristi said...

I am working on magazines also. I got MS Living and Real Simple for several years, several years ago. I made a small dent in the pile I have kept. (I am cutting out projects and recipes that catch my eye). Now they are neatly stacked on a dining room side chair waiting for me to get back to them. Lets not mention my current subscriptions to BHG! They will be much harder to part with.

As for recipes, I've tried a box, an accordion folder and a 3-ring binder. The 3-ring binder works best for me. It is so easy to flip through it to find what I want or to see if something catches my eye. I do have my categorized. I'd suggest that system. I used page protectors and printer paper. I tape recipes on the paper and slip them into the page protectors. I always know where THOSE recipes are. Now I need to consolidate and get the other recipes out of the box and the folder!

Good Luck!

Catherine Holman said...

Thanks for leaving the sweet comment on my blog! I rip out what I want to keep from my magazines the first time I read them and then put them in files. Then I either pass that magazine onto someone else or toss it. As for recipes, it's a daunting issue. So, when I cook from a recipe that's on scrap paper or torn out of a magazine, while the food is cooking, I write that particular recipe on a card and file it. I figure eventually I will have them all done!

Abbie said...

Hi rhoda,
Well.. I don't. Keep them organized, that is.. I'm afraid I am in the same boat as you. Mags everywhere! They get shuffled around and then.. I shuffle them somewhere else. If you do find something that works you'll have to let us know! Enjoy your weekend!

Rachel said...

Oh my I love my magazines. I actually have an undisclosed shelf where I keep all of then neatly stacked out of the way. I look at several for a while then go back through the stack and trade off for some others. I'm actually looking at a Romantic Homes magazine from 1997 and enjoying it like crazy I might add :) Have a happy day. <3Rachel

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

ummm...would love to have a great idea for you...but since I have moved several hundred pounds worth of old Victoria, Southern Living,Romantic Homes, Mother Earth etc. over the past years I don't think I have even one good idea. I did try to cull through them once...sigh.

Kathleen Grace said...

I do the binder thing, but I use page protectors so I can just slide the pictures I want to keep inside, no punching holes. I also hate the mess that clipped recipes makes and I use the same system for my recipes. Page protectors keep the recipes neat and clean and they can be easily reorganized to keep dessert together, main dishes together, and so on.

The Decorated House said...

Dear Rhoda, I am so amused that you think that is stack of magazines!
Although I've cut down on some, I still pick up the art ones which are too expensive to subsribe to when I can get them with a coupon for 40% off.

But 3 magazines...come now, that's not a stack! LOL Some of us might have one or two more than that coming in each month.

It would be nice to wave a magic wand at some of those stacks and they would be all organized wouldn't it?

Rhondi said...

Hi Rhoda. Why do we think that anyone has it all together? But we do. Glad to see that you have areas of disorganization like the rest of us.
Magazines have always been a problem with me too. I used to save them all. Now I only save Home Companion and Quilters Newsletter. I just keep them on a bookshelf. At the end of the year I take any other magazines and go through them and rip out what I want. That goes in a filing cabinet, where I have folders for topics: baths, quilts etc. All my recipes go into a pile in a drawer somewhere never to be looked at again. Every once in awhile I just throw out all the recipes and start again:) Hope youhave agood weekend Rhondi xo

PAT said...

I've stopped subscribing to many magazines. I still have Traditional Home and Country Living. Not sure if I will renew, these. I love them both. I have one section of a cupboard stacked neatly with Architectural Digest, that I simply refuse to part with and will keep my subscription up to date. Some of my issues were gifts, saved by my old school friend, JoAnn. She loves the magazine as much as I do. Therefore I have issues that easily go back to the 80's. It's interesting to see how some styles have changed through the years, while others have stayed much the same.

I have a rack of Christmas issues from several different publications, in the studio. That's as close to any sort of organization of magazines, for me! The rest of my precious publications can be found here in the "lodge" and our room, and a couple in the hearth room.

I have a supply of Coastal Living at the lake, I love to return to, now and then. They're neatly stored away in a basket.

Lately, with the busy-ness of our life, I'm finding it may be several days before I get around to looking through new arrivals. This is probably a definite sign, I need to pare down my subscriptions.

Rosemary said...

I have a ton of magazines. I take probably 10 different ones. I read them, keep my favorites and recycle the rest. Meaning I give them to my friend to read.
It keeps it under control that way.
Have a great weekend Rhoda!!

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

HI Rhoda, great ideas you're getting here. I used to keep magazines but I can't stand to see them laying around so I just pass them along to friends or recycle them. If there's anything I want to save I pull it out & keep it in a file. (Except my collection of several years of Martha, I'm keeping them.)

As for recipes, a long time ago I got a photo album, the kind with the clear pages that peel back, & started keeping my recipes from magazines & newspapers in there. I still have a recipe box which I use too. The photo album idea is very similar to the 3 ring binder.

I also have recipes in a file on my computer. They are recipes that I really like & don't want to lose. Of course I have them in my recipe box too....that seems stupid..huh....anyway, I have so many cookbooks & can never remember where a favorite recipe is so I put the name of the cookbook, recipe name & page # on a card & keep it in the front of my recipe box. It's really helpful.

Have fun organizing!
Hugs, DebraK

Shirlee said...

I can't be of any help as my recipe folder is just plain scary looking. It's overflowing, crumpled and disorganized, basically a real mess.
I used to be a magazine-aholic but rarely buy them now although I have one subscription. We've moved a lot and everytime I would sort through them and toss. The "keepers" are in the cardboard magazine holders and stashed in our other kitchen.

Catherine said...

Can't help with recipes, as mine look worse than yours, but I'm on top of the magazines. My husband has YEARS of back issues of Colonial Home and Early American Life/Home and I have tons of Southern Living and Country Home. We bought those big fat magazine holders in the office supply section at Wal-Mart. He sorted the magazines and stored them in those hoplders. The holders sit on the bottom of the bookshelves in his study. When I want to enjoy them, I just go get one or two of those holders. Everything stays nice and neat.
If you want something more decorative, you can try Targer or office supply stores. They may carry colors other than black. This system works wonderfully for me!

Jen said...

I have a collection of magazine's that desperately need my attention, but it is so difficult to decide what all to do away with! As for recipes, I keep them in a 3-ring binder that is divded by magazine title instead of by topics. This way all of my "Cooking Light" articles are grouped together as are "Taste of Home" which are generally easier to prepare. I put pictures up about a week ago showing off what I had done.
Good Luck on getting organized! It is a huge task, but the satisfaction is a marvelous feeling.
Have a fabulous weekend,

Adla said...

Have the same issue from time to time... I've learnt that if it's more than 6 months old, it's going to just collect dust ,I throw it out or give it away coz I know I won't go back to refer to it as I had planned to in my mind once the new magazines flock in :)

BailiwickDesigns said...

My magazines are crammed into magazine holders until no more can fit, then the rest of them lay around in a very untidy manner. As for recipes - I have a binder that's about 7"x9" with lined blank pages especially for recipes. I love it! I can stuff torn-out recipes in there until I have time to copy and sort them into the categories. It's a pretty binder, too - all covered with botanical drawings of herbs.

Good luck with your organising!

joan said...

Hi Rhoda,

I only keep one magazine and it's Coastal Living and I keep all of them in a big round wicker basket, like the seagrass ones, in my bathroom and stand them up. It's kind of hard to explain but it works and looks good.

Mimi said...

When I get a magazine, (before I read it), I tear out all of the "junk"...the ads that are on pages both back and front, the little postcards that are stuck in the magazine, the pages that I know I'm not interested in. Then, I read the magazine. Then, I read it again and again and put it in a basket. Eventually, I pick the magazine back up and really focus in on the things that "inspire" me. I cut these things out (usually just the pictures) and I put them in a book. I've purchased books at the craft stores that have plain paper sheets and are bound with spiral binding and they work best because the pages can get pretty thick. I call this "booking" because I don't think it is scrapbooking...just booking things that I like into one place. Then, when I need a little inspiration, I pick up my "book" and get lots of inspiration. I like this because I don't waste as much time since I'm only looking at the things that inspire me -- not the other stuff in the magazine. I have one book that is just garden pictures -- and I've looked at this book many, many times. Enjoy!

Kim said...

I love magazines too - have you thought about scanning the pictures of the ideas that you love and saving them to a CD. You could create a CD with ideas for each area of your home. I am not a techie but I think it would work and would be a great way to store and revisit them - the recipes CD's would work the same as well. Love your site and often read it for inspiration.

OKGardners said...

I come from a long line of hoarders from the Depression era. Sigh ...

My Dad piled up LIFE magazines and every type of Car magazine they printed. I have "lovingly" convinced younger male relatives to adopt some of Dad's old car magazines. (Dad died in 1991) In the meantime, we have rented a storage unit for $100 per month to store all this "debris"... so maybe you understand how CRITICAL this issue can get. (I can think of better uses for the $100 per month.)

I found that I was beginning to hoard magazines myself and I decided that I did NOT want to pile them up. (See for reasons) I got rid of tons of them by distributing them to hospital waiting rooms, Dr. and dental offices, and nursing homes. They all welcome the magazines to fill a lot of waiting and/or lonely times.

We cannot keep it all... believe it or not. Don't live in clutter (see again). Her quote: "You can't organize clutter, you must get rid of it!" She is right.

However, if you like a photo or article you see, cut it out and keep it in an organized manner. (I'm still working on that project myself.)

Anonymous said...

Magazines are my weakness too. After hoarding scads of them for a few years, I went on a mad binge and ripped out anything that I wanted to save and recycled the remainder. The clippings are still in a box but I'm planning to paste them into my inspiration journal so that I can go back to them. I'm going to really try not to let the magazines pile up and actually do something with the box of clippings. Recipes are another story. *sigh* Good luck with your organizing ... I'm going to read all the comments to see everyone's ideas! ~ Lynda xo

Nan said...

LOL, I think my magazines look a lot worse than that! I have no tips for them. I tried file folders by mantles, kitchens, etc. But,I got behind in this strategy. I used to have..........are you ready?.......20 years of Bon Apetit. I now keep 2 years.
I have started to keep more recipes on the computer. You can always scan your recipe cards.
Monday night, our ladies group in our neighborhood is having a magazine swap. I could bring enough for everyone.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Special magazines I keep in a magazine file holder...others I keep for a few months and then I go through them tearing out pages of interest. Those I file in folders according to catagory, like garden/kitchen/shabby/country french, etc. Then recycle the torn mags and give untorn mags to the library. Recipes, I store in plastice sleeves in a binder according to type...

melissa @ the inspired room said...

I am sitting here surrounded by a few hundred magazines. Problem is, I need so many different types of inspiration for my work that I cannot bear to part with most of them! I am seriously thinking about scanning some of the best photos and just storing things on discs. Some magazines I love most everything in them and some just a couple of things. I do pull the things I like and recycle the rest. But I still end up with a ridiculous amount to hang on to!
And recipes? Oh boy. I don't want to talk about it. Actually, I used to use recipes all the time now I rarely do. I probably only have a handful I ever really use. When I need one I can just go to and find something suitable. I am thinking to pare down on what I keep and toss everything else. Someday.
Happy weekend, Rhoda!

Carolina Mama said...

The lamp is terrific. And thanks so much for sending me the ideas to follow up with your Crock Pot recipes. :) Can't wait.

Sandy said...

Hi Rhoda - yip! I have a binder with the plastic sheet protectors that I've used for years for recipes. Looks great. Hey, you're human - girl! Who has everything put together perfectly? LOL.

Fabulous Finds Studio said...

Hi Rhoda. My magazine collection looks just like sad! I can't bear to tear up some of the magazines so they just sit in magazine racks until I move them to a closet. If I can bear to tear them apart then I file the pages in file folders and eventually move them to a notebook (like you did). My newest idea is to scan all of the pages and organize then into folders on my computer. This is going to be a big job but it will help cut down on the clutter around my home! Good luck!

Pattie T. said...

I only just discovered your blog, so have been reading the archives. Like rug's bug, I scan in most things. It's a great way to organize (and share!) photos and text featuring decorating info on rooms I like, items I want, etc. I upload the photos to my iPod (sometimes using my current favorite room photo as the wallpaper on my iPod), so I can take it with me to shops to show the sales people EXACTLY what I'm looking for. It's great! And it definitely cuts down on the clutter.