Magazines and Coffee Cups


Everyone has something they have a hard time parting with, even if keeping that item defies logic. Old magazines are a common item for accumulating clutter in our homes. Many people have boxes and boxes full of old magazines. They may be convinced that someday they will read them again. Or then again, they may know deep down that they probably won’t read them again, but still they want to hold onto them.

I recently read a great analogy concerning keeping old magazines. Once again, I owe this one to my favorite organizer, Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365 in Cincinnati. Lisa was talking to a client who had saved hundreds of old magazines. When she questioned her client about them, she learned that her client had actually already read every single one of those magazines from cover to cover. Here’s an excerpt from her blog entry, “Are Your Magazines Empty Coffee Cups?” 

That morning, I was 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Some of you may remember that I posted on Facebook that my first cup of coffee didn’t quite do it, so I stopped by Starbucks and got a tall Caramel Macchiato. Yum.

It was SO yummy and warm. And when it was gone – I THREW THE CUP AWAY. Even though I spent $3.55 on it…and even though I loved it. It was empty. I had enjoyed and consumed the product.

At the end of my story I said, “Your magazines are like empty Starbucks coffee cups.”

So then I asked, “Are there any titles you can part with?”

Her reply was, “All of them.”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with saving old magazines. I am happy to pass them along to someone else or recycle them as soon as I finish them. I only have a subscription to one, and I receive a few just from being a member of several organizations. In fact, I don’t hang onto many things at all. I am moving more and more toward simplicity and minimalism, especially since becoming an organizer. I delight in getting rid of what I don’t need any more. So at first, I thought this article didn’t apply to me.

But now that I am reading the blog entry again, the last sentence really hits home for me: ‘What are you holding on to that you have already “consumed?”’ For me, it’s not magazines. It’s not books.  I have given away many books and have almost completely switched to reading books on my tablet. In looking around my home, I realize the category I have the most trouble parting with is home decor. If you look in my attic right now (please don’t, because it’s kind of a mess), you’ll see that I have saved quite a few items that really aren’t my style any more. I like all of the decorations I am using in my home right now, and there isn’t room for anything else. I enjoyed those old decor items for quite a while, so maybe like the cup of Starbucks hot tea (I am the only Hyche who doesn’t like coffee), one might say I have already “consumed” them. So why do I continue to keep them?

Why do any of us keep things we don’t need? Well, that might just have to be another blog entry. In fact, it really could be a whole book! I think the first step in dealing with clutter of any kind is recognizing it and being willing to admit that maybe it’s time to make a change. I’m vowing publicly right here and now that I am going to part with some of my home decor items. And clean up my attic. Yes, even an organizer’s house has unorganized areas sometimes. 🙂

What about you? Think about your house and your belongings. Ask yourself the same question: What are you holding on to that you have already “consumed?” Are you ready to make a change?




How Organized is your Car?


We all spend much more time in the car than we would like, so it makes sense that we would want it to be neat and organized. I would have never thought of a car needing to be organized until I recently listened to a podcast from one of my favorite organizers, Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365. In her 40 Weeks, 1 Whole House podcast, week 32 is devoted to organizing your car. You can find this and a gold mine of other organizing tips on her website. Here are a few tips I learned from the podcast, as well as a few ideas of my own.

  • Just like any area, keeping your car neat and organized requires maintenance. Getting unneeded items out of your car immediately will prevent buildup of clutter.
  • To help keep your car clean, keep some wipes handy. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is great for cleaning the running boards.
  • A small trash can help keep your car clutter-free.
  • I keep a bin in my trunk with the following useful items:
    • Umbrellas
    • Car scraper and brush
    • Reusable bags for shopping
    • Light jacket (I often get cold inside restaurants)
  • An emergency kit for your car is definitely a good idea. Click here to see what the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) recommends for this.
  •  The most useful thing I carry in my car is snacks. I call the peanut butter crackers that are always in my glove compartment my “emergency crackers”. The only real “emergency” they are usually needed for is if my blood sugar goes so low that I am extremely crabby. Did you know that hangry is now officially a word? defines it as “irritable as a result of feeling hungry”. You might want to also keep a few water bottles in the car. 
  • Here are a few more suggestions of items to keep in your car:
    • A container for coins
    • Kleenex
    • Chargers for phones and other devices
    • Emergency medications
    • Blank notebook and pens or pencils
    • Disposable plastic bags
    • GPS device (not quite as necessary since smart phones have GPS)
  • This link “51 Insanely Cool Car Organization Hacks, Tips, & Tricks” has some ingenuous ideas for car organization.

I’d love to hear your ideas. What are your best car organization tips? What’s the most useful item you keep in your car?