Too Many Magazines: Expectations vs. Reality

too many magazines

Do you have too many magazines subscriptions? Here are some ideas on ways to keep your magazine piles from taking over.

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1. Cancel subscriptions. Sometimes you receive magazines by default, meaning you didn’t order them. Do you really want something you didn’t order? Take a moment to cancel them. Receive only what you want in the mail.

2. Share magazines. Make a deal with a neighbor or a family member to share a subscription. I used to do this with my mom. After she read her “People” magazine, she would pass it on to me. It didn’t matter that the news was a week old. We reduced the cost of the subscription in half and reduced our clutter.

3. Above all – Rip and Read. Do you really need the whole magazine? All the ads and extras? One magazine I read each month usually has only about 2 dozen pages that I am interested in. I rip those pages out, tuck them into a file folder and slip them into my bag. That way I always have some quick reading available without carrying around the whole magazine.

In other words: Cancel the subscriptions you aren’t reading. Share your magazines with your friends and keep only the page you need by rip and read.

Want more information on this subject? Read of our other blog posts.

Free Magazine Apps

Ten Tips to Managing Your Reading

10 Steps to Reduce Paper Clutter

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 7:57 am

    I think you should schedule when you are going to read the magazines or the torn out article. This will help to reduce the clutter so you can pass them onto friends, donate them or recycle them. Some people like to get a digital copy of magazines. Don’t let them take over your computer.

    • Janet Schiesl on January 13, 2020 at 8:21 am

      I agree Julie. You need to have a time that you do your reading. whether it’s in front of the TV or you can carry some with you for when you have down time during the day. More reason to Rip and Read and not carry so much wait.

  2. Judy Parkins on January 13, 2020 at 8:23 am

    If you have a public library card, another idea is to use the app Flipster. You will have access to all the magazines they have without the clutter.

    • Janet Schiesl on January 13, 2020 at 8:34 am

      Hi Judy. I haven’t heard of Flipster. I’ll have to look into it. Either way, paper or digital, you have to keep on top of it or the reading can get overwhelming.

  3. Seana Turner on January 13, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Okay, I love this idea of “rip and read.” I have one magazine I get each week where I only read a couple of pages as well. I really could just rip those out and pitch the rest. I do tear out the advertising from a small magazine I get monthly that I carry around with me to read in waiting moments. Off to the recycle bin they go!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 14, 2020 at 6:58 am

      Great Seana! Kind of multi-tasking when your get the reading out of the way while waiting for something else.

  4. Janet Barclay on January 13, 2020 at 9:42 am

    The only magazines I receive are from my alumni association and the Auto Club. It never occurred to me that I could ask them not to send them to me!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 14, 2020 at 6:59 am

      If you don’t read them, give it a try. Worth the ask.

  5. Nancy Haworth on January 13, 2020 at 11:07 am

    I like your tip to rip and read or share magazines with others. With so many magazines articles available online, a lot of what is inside magazines can now be accessed digitally. I often have organizing clients with piles of magazines that they have never read, and the feeling that they “need to read” these becomes a burden. Scheduling a time to read the magazines or cancelling a subscription can certainly make life less stressful!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 14, 2020 at 7:01 am

      Yes! Why burden yourself? Make life simple. My mom lives in an independent living community. Residents share lots of magazine subscriptions. I love it!

  6. Sara Skillen on January 13, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Literally just had the magazine conversation with someone this past week. BUT, they had just gotten an iPad for Christmas and decided to use Zinio (which I think is similar to Flipster) and cancel all of the hard copy subscriptions. Great solution for something that really tends to pile up quickly.

  7. Janet Schiesl on January 14, 2020 at 7:02 am

    I’ll have to look up Zinio as well as Flipster. If you love magazines and like reading on a tablet, moving subscriptions to digital is a great idea. Less physical clutter.

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