Monday, January 20, 2014

A Decluttering Conundrum

One of my December goals was to clean out a few rooms in my house. Usually I'm pretty brutal with deciding what to keep/donate/recycle/trash, but this bookshelf is presenting some problems. 

It's got about 10 years worth of National Geographic magazines. 

In the early years, I recycled some of them and only kept the issues I really enjoyed. That somehow morphed into keeping every issue. Early last year, I ran out of room on this shelf, so I moved some things around on the shelf below it to accommodate the growing pile of magazines. 

But now I'm going through the whole room with a critical eye, and I really can't think of any strong reasons to keep them. I look through a few of them maybe once a year, and occasionally dole them out when people come over ("Oh, you like to visit beaches at night? Well National Geographic did a great story about phosphorescent plankton that you'll love"). The articles are so well written (and cover such a wide range) and the photographs are gorgeous, but is that reason enough to devote 2+ shelves to them?

So I've been trying to think of a suitable end for my favorite magazine. Recycling doesn't seem to do them justice. Should I donate to Goodwill? Offer them on Craigslist or Freecycle? Call a local school or library?

What do you think? Any suggestions? 

21 comments:

  1. wow that is a lot of magazines!
    love how you hand them out when people come over
    the local library does sound better than recycling them

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    1. Yeah, recycling doesn't seem to be "good enough." haha I'll have to call my library.

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  2. Local library or school for sure! Do you have a high needs school in your area?

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    1. Originally I thought a local school would be a great idea but then I started thinking about the content of some of the articles and wondered if high school teachers would even be able to use them . . ? I'll definitely call beforehand.

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  3. Oh dear. I'm afraid we dread them at my public library because everyone who donates them wants them to find a good home. There are a lot of people in the same boat. I would call first! On the other hand, maybe it's OK with you if the library sells them on and keeps the proceeds? You'd also have to think about how you'd feel if a school used the magazines to cut up and make collages?

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    1. I'd be okay with people taking and using them for whatever - anything seems better than collecting dust on my shelf. But I don't want to overwhelm the library with donations either - I'll call first. Thanks!

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  4. Ha! I know lots of people with the same National Geographic problem.

    If I were you I'd try taking them to various waiting rooms... doctors, dentists, the oil change place, etc. Usually those kind of places are delighted to have magazines, and National Geographics are great because even an issue that's 5 years old still has plenty of interesting stuff in it. You can cut out your name and address so you're still keeping your info secure.

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    1. That's a great idea! I just had an hour and half long wait at the doctor's and the only magazines were AARP and a medical journal (and I never read those because I'll convince myself I have a tumor or some rare fungal disease by the time I'm done).

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  5. You could try listing them on Freecycle - sometimes people do want a whole collection (probably so that it can then gather dust on their own shelves!).

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    1. haha, it probably will sit on their shelves! But this is a good idea - painless on my part, but it might take care of the whole collection at once :)

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  6. I worked in a high school library last year and I'm afraid to say I would second Dar's opinion. We got lots of donations and often they were not things that were used. It would be lovely if there was a real collector on Freecycle who would enjoy them. EcoCatLady's idea also sounds great. Maybe retirement homes might also like them for their reading areas? Here in Australia, Op Shops (Thrift Shops) also accept them and sell them.

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    1. Thanks for sharing about the high schools - I definitely don't want them to be a burden or hassle. I think I'll try Freecycle to see if I can get rid of them in one shot, and then try waiting rooms and the thrift shop. Donating to retirement homes is a great idea :)

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  7. that's a hard one. I think I winnowed mine down to a couple issues. each is so pretty once you open again but they weigh so much.

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    1. That's a good compromise - just keep a few of my very favorite. I like it :)

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  8. Oh my - how many times I've gone through them for school projects and never found what sort of picture I was looking for - not that I recall what I did want! Anyhow.. You have lots of suggestions here, so I'm sure you'll be fine. Maybe take some pictures and frame them if they suit your decor and eye?

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    1. Great idea! I may even tear out a few of the photos I'm really drawn to and frame those. :)

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  9. Funny, I blogged about having a hard time decluttering magazines on Monday too. I don't necessarily need the space, but it seems silly to keep something I never use or even look at.

    Our libraries don't accept magazine donations, although sometimes I wish they would to replace the beat-up dog eared copies they have. Freecycle or giving to waiting rooms might be your best bets.

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    1. What a coincidence! I'll check out your post. :)

      That's too bad about your library. I'm going to try Freecycle and waiting rooms first, but it's nice to have the library as a back up.

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    2. I actually read yours and min hus almost back to back by chance!

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  10. So what did you end up doing?

    So many people have collections that, as Dar and Fiona have commented, libraries and schools are often unable to accept them. I'd be ruthless - unless they bring you joy, I'd toss them, maybe keeping a couple that you know you will read again.

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    1. My plan this weekend is to go through them and pick a couple issues that I want to keep, tear out a few breathtaking photos to frame, and then try to give the rest away via craigslist and Freecycle. If that doesn't work, I'll call some places with waiting rooms. The library is my last resort - I don't want to be a pain!

      And you're right - they're not bringing me any joy sitting on that shelf, so it's time to move on! :)

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