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Today’s post is about mindful organization at home. The following is a blog post that I wrote two months ago for Streamlined Birmingham—a blog created to help encourage others to streamline their lives.


The first thing you see when you walk into my house - magazines.
The first thing you see when you walk into my house – magazines. And Koda.

This weekend I tackled a project that I hadn’t done in years – recycling old magazines and newspapers. Please, someone tell me that I’m not the only magazine hoarder in town. If you don’t have at least six month’s worth of magazines and/or newspapers laying around, then I applaud you.

Check the date on this one - three years old.
Check the date on this one – three years old.

I don’t know about you, but I hold on to unread magazines for that day when I can kick back and relax on the beach and catch up on some lighthearted reading. What’s that you say? I’ve never taken a beach vacation? Damn.

Photoshop Magazine from when CS4 still existed

My read magazines hang around collecting dust and dog fur just in case there’s a tidbit of information in an article I might need one day. In case Google decides to shut dow. It can happen.

Prayer flags that have yet to be hung back up draped lovingly over more magazines

We have baskets of magazines in our office and living room from the past few years, and we mysteriously get the Sunday paper, which I stick into storage cubes to read during breakfast. Note: I eat breakfast in the car on my way to run. Every day.

Newspapers from the past four months
Newspapers from the past four months

Do you see a trend here? We hang on to things we think we might need one day, or use one day, never stopping to question our reasoning. Whether it’s magazines, old clothes you wish you fit into, cookbooks you will never use, or thousands of plastic bags, we all have something sitting around our house that can be eliminated. Sure, you could need plastic bags to use for mini garbage cans or to clean up puppy presents, but no one needs three cabinets full of them.

2013 issues of Runner's World made the cut to stick around for another month  or so
2013 issues of Runner’s World made the cut to stick around for another month or so

After the millionth time moving a basket to vacuum around it, I decided to purge. It pains me to throw perfectly good reading materials out. I read everything cover-to-cover, even the copy on cereal boxes. I felt like a hoarder at first – pouring through every article before tossing it into the donate or recycle pile. But that got old quickly. Ain’t no one got time for that shit. I switched over to recycling the old newspapers without even looking at them, and only keeping the magazines I knew I’d refer back to one day, like our favorite Backpacker issues.

I’m sure none of our guests have ever judged us by the amount of magazines in our baskets, but to me the house looked much better. It felt like a breath of fresh air when I was done, and I felt like I had tackled something big. I’ll be pissed though if one day I need a certain recipe or workout circuit only to discover that it’s in a magazine sitting in a doctor’s office somewhere.

What do you have lying around your house that you can get rid of?