For help clearing out the avalanche of printed materials in your home, follow these helpful tips from Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck
Most of us subscribe to magazines because we are vitally interested in their subject matter, which is exactly why getting rid of old periodicals can be so difficult. Force yourself. If you don’t recycle constantly, you may be crushed by a slippery avalanche of magazines.
- Keep only the magazines you need for reference, then process them as quickly as possible: Take notes, copy information into your computer, or rip out useful articles and file them away. After you have saved the information you need, donate the magazines to schools, artists, or other people who will use them; recycle the leftovers.
- Do not read materials you are attempting to recycle. Yes, you probably didn’t read every single word in every single magazine, but life is short and recycling piles up. If you missed an article, you can read it at the public library.
- Don’t store dated material. Your computer magazine is nearly obsolete as soon as it rolls off the presses. It is unlikely to become more timely when you take it out of storage.
- Many magazines offer online subscriptions. Consumer Reports, for instance, has a searchable online archive of all their articles, reports, and ratings, and you can subscribe to the online service without receiving the actual magazine. With an online subscription, you can easily find any article and need never fear losing information.
- Everyone has a complete collection of National Geographics! Yes, they are gorgeous, but they have no resale value. Unless you are going to use them in an art project within a year, give them to a school or an artist who will. Our public library not only possesses a complete collection of the magazine — dating back to its first issues in the late nineteenth century — they also have a complete index. This means that I can go to the library, look up any subject I’m interested in, fill out a request form, and have the issue I need in a few minutes. Finding the same issue in a home collection is unlikely to be as quick and easy.
- Share your newspaper with a close neighbor; you’ll cut your costs and your recycling chores in half
- Home collections are not usually indexed, catalogued, or systematically shelved, and an organized collection of newspapers in a private home is the least likely scenario of all.
- If you are working on a research project and need clippings, mark the page with the article while you’re reading the paper (brightly colored Post-it notes, which can be stuck to the edge of the paper, work well and can be reused several times). After everyone in the household has finished reading the paper, you can clip the article, file it, and recycle the rest of the paper.
- Don’t keep piles of papers so you can read them later. You won’t. Piles of newspapers will choke the life out of your home. I can guarantee that once you have saved a stack of newspapers to read later you will not be able to find the information you are looking for.
- Many articles are available on the Internet, and many libraries maintain extensive collections of newspapers on microfiche. Your librarians are trained professionals who can help you find any issue you need.
- Piles of newspapers are like flammable underbrush in a forest; they need to be cleared out or they endanger the rest of the ecosystem.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellen Sandbeck, the author of Green Housekeeping (Copyright © 2006 by Ellen Sandbeck) and Green Barbarians: Live Bravely on Your Home Planet, is an organic landscaper, worm wrangler, writer, and graphic artist who lives with (and experiments on) her husband and an assortment of younger creatures — which includes two mostly grown children, a couple of dogs, a small flock of laying hens, and many thousands of composting worms — in Duluth, Minnesota.
MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR
- First, Get Rid of the Clutter! Organizing With Everyday Objects
- Home, Sweet-Smelling Home: 14 Easy Tips
- How to Disinfect Your Home — Naturally
- The Greenest Way to Hand Wash Your Dishes
- To Rinse or Not to Rinse? The Eternal Dishwasher Question
- Read the Introduction to Green Housekeeping
- Browse more books by the author
- Learn more about Ellen Sandbeck