Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tips: From a magazine fanatic...

When I still lived with my parents, as a kid and as a young adult, I would often situate myself on the sofa while my Dad watched golf on Sunday afternoons and read the incredible stack of magazines our family collected through subscriptions, purchases on my Dad's business trips, and catalogs. I'd read Newsweek, Time, Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, People, Taste of Home, and so on. The stack always seemed to be neverending.

This penchant for magazines has transferred to my brother and me. While his transient lifestyle has prevented him from getting subscriptions, you can rest assured that whenever he arrives at my apartment he has a massive assortment of magazines to share with me that he's purchased on his travels. Conversely, I've had a number of subscriptions over the years that I've either given myself or received as gifts, and a magazine buying problem that I've curbed quite a bit over the years. Em's family has a big magazine appreciation too. Even Em's boss has a magazine obsession and sends home a stack of magazines what seems like daily. What I'm getting at is my apartment is always full of magazines.

My periodical of choice is the cooking/food magazine. I have a subscription to Bon Appetit because it is a fantastic amalgamation of photography, food art and recipes, but I also have regular access to Food & Wine (from Em's boss; her boyfriend is a wine fanatic) and Gourmet (I buy it; I should just get a subscription!). I'll pick up seasonal food and cooking magazines, especially for Christmas. And I'm currently in love with Cooking Light (which is really comprehensive and decidedly un-preachy; great tips for living healthy through whole foods) and Food Network's cooking magazine which is chock-full of recipes! I tried to wrangle in all of these publications in once a month from the various corners and bags in my apartment.

My technique is both a nod to living with less as well as an attempt to make sure that I'm getting every penny's worth of that magazine out before I toss it away. I take my pile of magazines and get comfy on the couch with a pen and a good pair of scissors. I flip slowly through the magazines, tearing out pages and cutting out recipes that I find interesting or inspiring. I also cut out segments of magazines that discuss technique (popcorn, pasta, chicken, wine, etc.) or other interesting design elements (linens, serving ware, lighting, etc.). Once I've cut out everything I want, I take the pile of inspiration and transfer it to a Moleskin notebook Em gave me a few months ago. I take a few pieces of tape and adhere the stuff I've snipped to the pages, and I make notes if I need to...anything from, "I love that tablecloth" to "make this when John's in town!"

What this does is help me create a magazine tailored to my culinary and design interests, eliminating the need to lug around volumes of magazines with a multitude of glossy pages I don't need. I know that some people, including me, love the aesthetic of magazines organized in chronological order. They might even have sentimental value to you. But those things are not conducive to a young person's lifestyle and they wind up generating more clutter and heavy boxes when it comes to moving time. This technique is applicable to a variety of interests, as well. You can read just about any genre of magazine...dogs, fashion, design, news, history, sports...and collect the bits and pieces that interest you for both reference and posterity, without sacrificing shelf space or a neat and tidy living space.

Finally, I dispose of the massacred magazines in the best way possible: I RECYCLE THEM! I'm so blessed my apartment complex offers that service. Whew!


  1. I do this EXACT thing too! It's so great because you end up with a "book" of clipping that you LOVE and you can get rid of all the mags laying around. Cutting up the mags and putting them in my book is also quite relaxing.

    I think Cooking Light has become really great as well - actual good recipes! It's cheesy but Rachael Ray's mag is chock full of good content too.

  2. I also read all of the food magazines you've mentioned (bon appetit and Cooking Light being my favorites), and do the same thing with the recipes and articles I like most. It's such a nice space-saver.


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