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Debbie Williams is an organizing strategist and founder of She is the author of  "Common Sense Organizing" from Champion Press.

Getting Rid of Magazines

Question: Any idea who could use, reuse, recycle old magazines? I hate to just throw them all away in the trash, and I have stacks that have accumulated over the past 8 years.

Answer: After eight years of collecting, I imagine you're a little attached to those periodicals, aren't you! That's totally normal, by the way, and I know how hard it can be to just trash good literature. You have several good options, depending on where you live and what's available in your area.

Recycling is Best
For instance, in our neighborhood, we don't recycle (I know, it's such a sad waste, but true). But a few schools and churches in the neighborhood have recycling bins, dumpster-sized containers labeled Newspapers, Magazines/Catalogs, Paper, Plastic. So when it's time to toss out-of-date sales catalogs and left over magazines from my son's craft projects, I drop them off in the recycle bins. Look through your phone book to see if there are recycling centers who will accept dropped off material - you may be able to visit them on a regular basis with your donations.

Another option is to Donate
Call local preschools, churches, senior centers, libraries, hobby and craft stores to see if they can use your magazines. Preschools, vacation bible schools, and art centers often need magazines for kids' art projects. Libraries sometimes keep boxes of past publications on shelves for archiving, or can sell in upcoming book sales. And hobby stores can pass on your gently read magazines, whether they are about ceramics or remote control aircraft.

To keep yourself from running back and forth more than necessary, create a Recycling Center for your magazines. Use a sturdy box, milk crate, or under the bed storage tub. Once it's full, take it to the recycling center or drop it off at your favorite spot so that it can be used again. Get into the habit of pulling outdated catalogs and replacing them with new ones as they arrive. Then you won't have more than a few months' worth of publications to store (rather than doing this again eight years from now!). Happy recycling!

Good luck,
Debbie Williams

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