Catalogs and Magazines

magsWe have collected all our papers, gotten rid of all the outdated and unnecessary ones. We've gone through our kids' schoolwork and saved the very best. Our reference papers are in a home binder, with or without a tickler file included. Ahhh...Doesn't that feel good? Okay, so the last type of paper that I'm going to deal with is catalogs and magazines. I used to subscribe to a lot more magazines than I do now, but that was when I actually had a little time to look at them. Right now, I only subscribe to one cooking magazine, and I am probably going to just let that expire.

However, I do get a lot of catalogs, and now that it is summertime, I get a lot of homeschooling vendors' catalogs. I like their stuff, and I definitely am interested in ordering but what do I do when I am not able to order right now or would like to order it for a birthday in a few months? Usually I only am interested in a handful of products in a catalog. Do I need to keep the whole thing?

As most catalogs have websites nowadays, what I have found the most convenient thing to do is to create a wish list. There are many universal wish list apps and programs out there, but I personally prefer Amazon's because 1) I can save it to any/all my different wish lists (I have a personal one, plus one for each of the kids and a school one), and 2) I shop at Amazon a lot. I have installed the bookmarklet in my browser so that all I need to do is just click on it, fill in the information I need and voila! I have it saved.

So what I do is usually go to the catalog's website and enter in product numbers in their search bar. I double check to make sure it is what I think it is and then I file it in the appropriate wish list, along with any notes (e.g. purpose, gift idea, age/grade I'd use it, etc.). The nice thing about Amazon is if they the same item at a better price, it would show me their price and I could add it from Amazon instead. Of course, if you want to patronize a particular company, you can ignore it. I usually batch this job, that is, I collect all my catalogs and do this in one sitting instead of doing it whenever one comes.

Being an information junkie, I love magazines. All those great ideas and tips, yummy recipes, thought-provoking articles and inspirational samples...I just know I'm going to need them---someday. Do you think that way too? Like the catalogs, however, do I need to keep all those magazines for the sake of a single article or tip?

This is a little tricky, and I am not sure I have any surefire ways to get around the copyright issue of magazines, which is why I am hesitant to suggest scanning articles. I'm sure there's a law against that somewhere. The safest bet is to just rip out the page and file it topically or put it in a binder. That's what I've been doing. If it's something like a recipe, I go to the website to see if they have that recipe online and save it into my online recipe box. If it's a tip I like, I summarize it in a note in my Evernote notebook. If it's a scrapbook layout, I cut it out and glue them on a page to make my own idea collection. And when you're done with this job (which will take me awhile!), check out this post and this one for ways to repurpose those old catalogs and magazines!

I hope this series has helped give you a start on dealing with the paper in your home and organizing it so that it is useful for you. Now that school is out for the summer, this is a great project to tackle. Happy organizing!