Before I get into this post, allow me to quickly share some of the magazines I subscribe to and purchase each month:
Martha Stewart Living
Martha Stewart Everyday
Martha Stewart Weddings
Whole Living (Formerly Body and Soul, another Martha Stewart publication)
Food and Wine
Yes, I’m Martha Stewart obsessed. And I’m sure I’m missing a few. As much as I enjoy going online to find recipes and articles, nothing compares to receiving my monthly magazines, sitting down on the couch (with wine?), and skimming through the glossy pages to let my imagination wander for bits of inspiration. I enjoy magazines so much that I have them stacked in almost every room and have read many of them more than a handful of times. Here is one area of magazines:
The lack of organization got to the point where I couldn’t function with the stacks scattered about and I couldn’t stand not being able to remember where certain articles or recipes were. So I decided I really needed to force myself to set aside a generous amount of time, tear out the go-to recipes and articles, and create a successful system to organize myself. Every person has a different idea of “successful system” so I really think when it comes to organizing you have to do what works best for you and your lifestyle. All of our brains work in different ways and what works for one person might be the complete opposite of what works for you.
When it comes to organizing, especially for a project like this, first consider your needs:
• How will the system be used? For inspiration, research, a memory? In my case, I’m using all of my magazine finds as inspiration and as a form of design research.
• Will the pages and articles you find need to be removed or relocated? I decided there might be a time where I will need to relocate some of the pages I find or rearrange some articles. I didn’t want anything to be permanently placed. Plus, over time, some of the content may no longer be relevant and I might feel the need to edit and discard certain things.
• Will the pages need to be protected? I also decided that I wanted to protect the pages I tear out of magazines. I toyed with the idea of just hole punching the the articles and putting them in the binder as is, but quickly remembered how thin magazine paper is and how the pages will get damaged over time if they weren’t protected. I also like to use post-it notes to mark pages for particular projects I’m working on, so I didn’t want pages to tear. I factored in that I’ll most likely need to travel with these magazine clippings to meet with brides and grooms so I needed to store them in something durable.
After I asked myself these questions, I came up with my solution, which involved some very basic office supplies:
• 1″ white binders from Staples, I think I purchased these for $.99 or $1.99… the most inexpensive they had to offer.
• 2 economy packs of sheet protectors from Staples, I put 100 sheet protectors in each binder to start.
• a role of tape.
• I then designed and printed (on a heavy white cardstock) covers, spines, and backs for each binder. I got the idea for the gradient dot design on the covers from a greeting card I designed years and years ago. I liked the simplicity of the card so much that I decided to replicate it on the binders.
I decided to go with 3-ring binders since I can incorporate tabs and easily section the binders. For the food and recipes binder, I can easily section it into breakfasts, appetizers, entrees, desserts etc.
I color coded each subject:
Orange = food and recipes
Blue = interior design
Purple = health, beauty, fashion
Yellow = wedding inspiration
I’m also planning on doing binders for craft ideas and travel.
And then I got to tearing all of my magazines apart. I set up a station of brown paper grocery bags to recycle magazines and made piles for each subject: recipes, wedding, interior design, and health/beauty/fashion. I looked through all of the magazines, tore out anything that inspired me, motivated me, or caught my eye. Before anything went in the binders I edited the piles again. The articles and images you keep should be the very best of the best; the items and information that will actually be used. When it comes to organizing recipes, a lot of magazines will feature an image of a dish on one page then the actual recipe in the back of the magazine. When I came across this scenario I would cut the recipe out and tape it to the page with the picture of the dish. Also, since a lot of magazine pages are larger than 8.5×11 some of them needed to be trimmed before being slipped in the sheet protectors. I suppose you could just jam the pages in, but I say, if you’re trying to get organized it may as well be neat and tidy
I won’t lie, this is very time consuming and it took me a few very solid days to finish the project, but it’s worth every minute to have a successful and organized system. My new rule is that once a magazine enters my house, I’ll read it at the first available moment, cut and tear out anything worthwhile for the appropriate binder, and recycle the remains.
The end result is a complete breath of fresh air. It feels like I just delivered a baby. Not that I know what that feels like and I’m sure bringing life into the world is a million times more rewarding, but I cherish my magazines so much (like some cherish their newborn baby?) and it’s such a wonderful feeling to see all of my favorite pages and inspiration in one place. I’m definitely a proud parent
For more of my home organization How-Tos:
How do you store your favorite articles, recipes, and bits of inspiration?