SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, August 1, 2011

Organizing Books and Magazines | Family Economics

By Cathe

organizing books and magazinesIt’s so great to have a library in your own home. However, most of us tend to hang on to books and magazines with no intent of ever revisiting them, creating an accumulation of items that can take over an enormous amount of space.

So when you’re ready to purge those books and magazines, here are some ideas to help you:


•    Create one central place within your home for all family books and organize by subject or author. Organize all the books your children have accumulated by placing all children’s books on lower shelves and school books on shelves that are easier to reach, since these books may get more usage out of them throughout the year.

•    Bookplates are attractive and add personal style to some of your favorite books. It can also be used as a protector for books that have experienced wear and tear. Create your own personal bookplates for books commonly loaned and valuable to you.  Books that are worn can also be easily re-covered with wrapping paper, butcher paper or kraft paper such as grocery bags.

•    Don’t toss your unwanted books away. Instead, try organizing a book swap at your children’s school or donate them to thrift stores or an online free marketplace. You can also sell your books through one of the many online bookselling services and auction sites.

•    Unwanted books also serve as an opportunity to get creative. Recover and repurpose outdated hardbound books into stacks to elevate décor, or as legs for occasional tables. You can also repurpose damaged books into crafts.


•    I live by five helpful words when organizing my magazines: Keep, Clip, Donate, Recycle, Repurpose:

•    Keep only the bare minimum that you are certain will be of benefit over many years such as how-to magazines. Stack them in order of publication on your bookshelf.

•    Clip creative images, articles and recipes from magazines that inspire you. You can create a file system of your clippings with folders and free label downloads.

•    Donate current publications to thrift stores, doctor office waiting rooms, residential homes, shelters, laundromats and classrooms.

•    Recycle unwanted and outdated magazines through your community’s recycling program.

•    Repurpose them by shredding magazine pages as filler for shipping boxes and Easter grass.

What are some helpful tips you use for organizing your books and magazines?

3 Comments so far

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On Friday, November 30, 2012, West Coast Lydie wrote

I read somewhere that Ikea has container/boxes? for magazine savers. I plan to find some...the National Geographics are such a marvelous source for side by side reading with books. When you need a map or cultural information in a novel, for instance. My home is excruciatingly small for two people who like to have books out in every room. Organization comes hard but will be necessary before much longer.Appreciate the tips on this site.

On Wednesday, August 3, 2011, Jeannie in Maryland wrote

Cathe, great ideas as usual. I also find that keeping my digital camera handy when I'm browsing through magazines is a good idea. If I only want to remember an idea, detail, or scene, I snap a quick photo. Organizing these by subject, source and date on my computer takes no shelf space, and it is MUCH easier to locate the idea later. And then, of course, there are the digital magazines.

On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, Bitsy in Missouri wrote

I love books, and the older the better! Thanks so much for the bookplates. They are going to be so helpful. I think lots of readers lend books out as I do, and often they do not return. Thanks for the wonderful idea, Cathi!


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