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Ask the Organizer: How Can I Manage the Piles of Magazines and Newspapers That I Haven’t Gotten Around to Reading Yet?

Kelly Humiston, owner of New Leaf Organizing Service, helps a reader reduce the number of unread magazines and newspapers that are piling up and creating clutter in his home.

Q.  I subscribe to a daily newspaper, but I usually don’t get to read the comics and the Sunday magazine section on Sundays.  I enjoy doing all of the puzzles, and I won't recycle the magazine until I've completed them.  As a result, I have piles of newspapers that are an eyesore in my living room.  Do you have any tips for me?

A.  Certainly!  Your question is not uncommon; I encounter this situation often.  For some people, it’s new recipes; for others, it’s books; still others struggle with catalogs they haven't yet read but want to.  As an avid reader myself, I can relate to wishing the day had 25 hours, just so I could have some time to catch up on my reading.

The first thing I want you to do is ask yourself is whether you truly enjoy doing the puzzles and reading the comics week after week.  Oftentimes, something that is originally pleasurable turns into a burden – another item to be completed on our endless “to do” lists – if we insist on doing it on a regular basis.

If the answer is “no,” then your options include the following:

  • Cancel the newspaper altogether, or subscribe only Monday through Saturday, to keep the Sunday magazine and comics section from entering your home in the first place.  If, one Sunday, you have the time and inclination to read those sections, you can always buy the Sunday issue on the newsstand.
  • Consider switching your home-delivery paper subscription to a digital one and read the articles you want on your computer, e-reader or tablet.

If, however, the answer is “yes” and you truly do enjoy reading the comics and doing the puzzles, your options include the following:

  • Write a “recycle by” date on each magazine and comics section (for example, the following Friday).  Promise yourself that if you have not gotten to those sections by the date you indicated, you will put them in the recycling bin.
  • Tear out just the puzzle page(s) of each week’s magazine and save only the comics section.  A few pages will take up less space than an entire magazine or newspaper
  • Do the option above and then place the puzzle pages in an envelope or file folder (along with a pen or pencil) that you put in your briefcase, purse, or car, for the next time you have time to kill (e.g., when commuting on the train, waiting at an airport, sitting in a doctor’s or auto mechanic’s waiting area).

How about you, readers?  What techniques do you use to manage your “to read” pile?

If you would like the help of a professional organizer, consider contacting New Leaf Organizing Service at www.newleaforganizingservice.com or at (203) 450-1099.  We organize things big and small — once and for all.

Have an organizing question you’d like answered?  Feel free to submit it on Patch.com, via the Comments function, or e-mail it to Kelly directly at kelly@newleaforganizingservice.com

Coming next time:  How can I get my kids into a routine for going back to school so that our mornings are less crazed?

© 2012 New Leaf Organizing Service. All rights reserved.

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