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?




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