GSD // My System for Reading Magazines

gsd - get shit done - magazine collection

My husband thinks my magazine “collection” is borderline hoarders. Let me assure you — it’s not. Honestly, compared to most women I know, I have significantly less stuff in general — clothing, bags, okay maybe not shoes…. but I know a lot of girls with tall magazine stacks so I’m positive I’m not alone. I mean I do have a degree in journalism with an emphasis in magazine, soooooo if that’s not the best excuse to read/have a lot of magazines I don’t know what is. It’s not like I have a large stack of cats or something.

Receiving 12+ magazines in the mail each month does equal a pile up — plus who throws away old issues of Domino, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest or Bazaar? Not me. Okay well I don’t keep them all, just the pretty covers that look good on my coffee tables or ones I haven’t read yet, and ones with all white spines for my bookshelf. I mean, we have a lot of bookshelves to fill — we already have the magazines — that seems obvious. Can you sense this has been an ongoing “discussion” over the years…

Due to the built-in bookshelves in our current apartment, the magazine “issue” isn’t really that big of a deal (in my eyes). The Mr. can have his own opinion on the subject if he chooses to take me up on having his own column here on my blog (he hasn’t taken me up on that yet but I keep telling him I think you guys would love his perspective).

Because I’m ready to have a little more control over “the stack” I’ve recently come up with a system of going through my magazines quickly so they don’t pile up (however I still have a bit of a backlog… it’s an ongoing process).

I can admit to a few hoarder characteristics when it comes to magazines though. First off they are not coasters. Especially the ones with beautiful covers. I will go into freak mode if a glass is sweating on a new magazine cover. If they get moved carelessly, meaning they get bent or ripped I have to take a deep breath. And finally, I cannot pitch them until I’ve gone through them again to make sure I got every morsel of information and inspiration out of them. That right there is the kicker. The hoarder tendency. Anyone with me here? The good thing is, I’ve never let it really get to a crazy place, and now that I’ve got my new system, I’m reading and pitching my magazines left and right and it feels good!

My process is pretty simple:

1. I unsubscribed to four magazines that I could let go of (also because I feel like all of their content is now online — they will remain unnamed).

2. I keep a stack of magazines I haven’t read yet in a large magazine collector.

3. I try to read them as soon as I get them, or within a week if possible. This is easier for me in the summer because I take them down to the pool with me.

4. I always have a highlighter while reading them, I highlight anything I want to remember or go back to.

5. Any page that gets highlighted or that I want to go back to  — I fold down the corner.

6. After I’ve read through the entire magazine — which I attempt to do in one sitting so I don’t have half-read magazines everywhere (that gets confusing) — then I’ll fold down a corner of the cover if I’m not planning on keeping it for the bookshelf or I’ll fold down a corner of the back cover if I plan on keeping it. That way I know I’ve gone through the entire magazine.

7. Then I rip out all the pages with the folded corners and throw the magazine away, recycle it, or put it in its proper bookshelf stack. I do this right after I read it if possible, or sometimes later that day or week. The quicker the better.

It sounds so military, but I have to do it this way or it becomes a lot of magazine chaos.

Now you’re wondering about the tear sheets… weeeeellllllll one problem at a time here people. A tear sheet stack takes up a lot less room than a magazine stack. But I aim to go through them immediately for whatever I flagged them for and then get rid of them as well. However, my new process has helped me so much, and enjoying them as soon as possible assures me that they don’t sit for months and not get read.

Ok, dish on your magazine or other addiction/hoarding tendencies. C’mon I know you collect something, and I want to know. Or if you have a system for reading magazines let me know!


GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done.