Organizing Tips + Tricks



Here at the Brown house, we have a pretty hefty amount of magazine subscriptions. Well, actually, I have a pretty hefty amount of magazine subscriptions. Real Simple, InStyle, The Nest, Professional Photographer, Better Homes & Gardens, Fresh Home, House Beautiful, and not to mention catalogs from some of our favorite stores like Pottery Barn, Flor, Crate & Barrel, Ballard Designs, West Elm… the list goes on. Since we started renovations on the house almost a year ago (Wow! It seems like just a few months ago!), I’ve been saving the magazines that had articles that inspire me. Magazines dating back to February (when we moved into my parents’ house to begin the renovation) have been piling up on the bookshelf in my office. That’s a lot of magazines. On one hand, I didn’t want to get rid of them. They’re chock full of inspiration, information and cool products that we’d love to use. On the other hand, I really don’t need them taking up valuable space in my office. I’m a “have your cake and eat it too” kind of girl, so I needed to find a way to condense, simplify, and organize my magazine collection.

I like things to be organized. “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.” And I love notebooks. (As if you couldn’t tell from the blog design!)Β In my top right desk drawer, I have three spiral notebooks: one for to-do lists, one for jotting down creative ideas (projects, designs, etc.) and one for blog topic ideas. They keep me organized and sane. Β Two very good things.Β I also love a well-organized 3-ring binder. We have one for home maintenance, one for our collection of home inspiration photos, one for takeout menus, and even one for Bentley’s medical records. Call it an obsession, if you want, but my notebooks keep things simple and organized. We never have to wonder where Bentley’s records are or where the California Pizza Kitchen to-go menu is.

Anyway, I digress. I needed to do something about my growing pile of magazines. So what do I do? Go to the office supply store, of course! Greg and I ended up leaving with a few bags of office supplies (a girl can’t have too many glue sticks and Sharpies), but most importantly, I found a solution for my growing pile of magazines!

Fast forward a few hours, dinner, a walk with Bentley, shower, getting comfy, an email answering session; here’s what I gathered up to get started on Operation: Magazine Madness…

Now, the plan of attack: I started browsing through the magazines one by one. When I found something I wanted to hold on to, I simply tore it out and trimmed the edge (nasty, ripped edges are a n0-no). After a few magazines, I realized the articles and clippings I was setting aside could easily be divided into eight categories:Β Home Decor (Yes, we have a notebook for home decor photos, but this section is for home decor articles such as picking the right paint color, curb appeal tips, etc.), entertaining, home life, recipes, beauty/health, gift ideas, general articles, and photography. Low and behold, the eight tab names.

Once I got in a groove, it was actually a lot of fun!

The Post-Its come in handy to make notes — especially in the gift idea section. If I come across something that will be perfect for my mom, I can just attach a note. And if for some reason she’s later browsing through my ultra-organized, nifty magazine notebook, and I don’t want her to see my gift idea, I can just snatch it off and put it inside the sheet protector between the pages.

I’m not quite finished going through every magazine at the moment. That will take another magazine night or two!

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Isn’t the notebook going to eventually overflow?” It’s possible. We may have to upgrade from a 1.5″ notebook to a 2″ notebook one day, but I’m going to go through the notebook every couple of months and remove the things we don’t care for anymore, read one too many times, etc. That way, things don’t get too out of hand. The notebook will be ever-evolving and it’ll always stay fresh and new. This process is a lot better than keeping stacks upon stacks of magazines, right? Yeah, I thought so too.

What are your favorite magazines? Do you keep them around for a few months or pitch them as soon as you read them?

Want to make your own Magazine Notebook? Click here to download cover art for your notebook (like the one pictured above). Happy organizing!

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  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

    This idea is great! I can’t seem to get enough magazines and I have piles and piles in my bedroom. The hubs says I have an obsession!

  • Reply
    Sara Bowery
    March 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Don’t take me to a mall, take me to a office supplies store! Buying filing stuff is more exciting to me than shoes. Is that normal? HAHA!

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    March 10, 2011 at 10:32 am

    This is a fantastic idea. I’ve been ripping out pages and throwing them in a folder, but I love the binder idea so much better.

    I love the DIY, 100 Ideas, Frsh Home, Real Simple, and BHG Magazines. But I don’t suscribe because not every issue appeals to me. I usually just pik some up from Barnes & Noble.

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    Jessica @ Decor Adventures
    March 10, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Love this! I do the exact same thing, except I have a 3 inch binder, plus one for recipes – there’s lots!

    I’m due for some organization. Just the projects for the rainy weather we are having πŸ™‚

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    March 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I actually had just started this project yesterday while at home with a sick doggie. I have soooo many magazines that I keep for 1 or 2 articles, they are taking over! Thank you for giving out your cover, I was looking at it going that is so cute I need to make one like that, and then BAM you just put it out there πŸ™‚ So thanks again!!!

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    March 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Sweet binder! Even better than ripping the pages out and trimming them is to just razor them out with an Exacto knife. Saves a step and is far more satisfying. I love how the page pops off with a nice clean edge.

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      March 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

      Great idea! Thanks!

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    March 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for giving the art work file! I love it!

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    March 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

    What a great idea! In case you have never come across this blog…I think you many be in love as I already am.

    • Reply
      March 10, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Oooh! I “heart” organizing too! Off to check it out now… Thanks! πŸ™‚

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    Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me
    March 10, 2011 at 11:47 am

    This is amazing! I have a recipe binder with page protectors and magazine clippings too. I love the post-it wallet. I need to go find that for myself!

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    March 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I totally do the exact same thing. I actually have three binders. I love Target’s cute modern binders, so I buy those to put my ideas in. I like your categories. I may have to split mine up even further. I have a vacation planner one too. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Leslie @ NE Portland Bungalow
    March 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I also do this same thing! We haven’t established out “Bills/Expenditures” binder, yet, but I’m excited to start that (maybe next week)! The page protectors and array of sticky notes are KEY. I also use a fat Sharpie, that has the click-button to expose the writing tip.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I am a font addict. Would you mind sharing the goods? I know CK Ali’s Hand, but the other two I’m not sure about.

    • Reply
      March 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      Sure thing! It’s Rockwell, I use it aaall the time, haha. Nice to “meet” a fellow font addict! πŸ˜‰

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    justine @ you're so martha
    March 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    love how organized you are, and the cover is too cute. i tear pages out of magazines instead of keeping the magazines, but i have yet to do anything with them (they are in a cute bin right now with a bunch of other stuff). i have made a binder for my clipped recipes, but after seeing your binder, i need to amp up my organizing of it!

  • Reply
    Leslie's Day
    March 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I know it’s not for everyone, but I am working towards a paperless office. I got the NeatReceipts scanner and I scan any piece of paper that comes into my life (including magazine articles) that I might need later reference to then I feel safe getting rid of it. Everything is searchable in the software, so it’s pretty easy to look things up later on. (I should note that I use both an online backup and an external harddrive backup so as not to lose anything:)

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    Christine B
    March 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I have actually done the same thing and have tabs to organize ideas by room and indoors and outdoors. Ahh I love being organized.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I love this idea and the dividers! It’s about time someone come out with stylish ones. I’d love to see how you organize your home maintenance notebook!

  • Reply
    Ban Clothing
    March 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I am a filer…. I rip out design inspiration pages out of magazines and file them under bedroom, living room, white rooms, etc. Works great for me and I have room in my filing cabinet so I can store it away.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I am a list/notebook girl also. I did this several years ago and I find it is so helpful. Keep up the good work.

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    Kim @ Life Analytical
    March 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I have a seeerious magazine subscription problem, and I’ve been meaning to do something like that. I already do it with recipes for magazines/the internet because it’s super convenient to have them all in one place and to be able to just wipe off any messes.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    GOSH! I wish I was as organized as you are. I think I need to go to the office supply store like ASAP.

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    Tyra Noel
    March 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I downloaded your cover and I’m working on my Magazine Notebook tonight. One more step to Organization Land!!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Great post…getting organized is a natural high in my book. And thanks for sharing your cover art. Very cool.

  • Reply
    Krista of Hopeless Chest
    March 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I have one just like this. It’s been getting a work out lately.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Its like your very own magazine and every page is one you love! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    After I am through with my home deco magazines, I call the local high school interior design department. They love it!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Fantastic! I did exactly the same thing because we don’t have a “real” home yet (just teeny apartment), and have categorized all my inspirations. I have a Food binder with recipes from magazine and articles and on-line printouts. Absolutely love having these so much more accessible and organized. Plus, they’re more fun to flip through without all those Lunesta and Celebrex ads…

  • Reply
    Kim Bauer
    March 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I just came across your site today and WOW! All I can say is WOW! I LOVE it! Especially this entry. I have a notebook exactly like this (except in blue) and my hubby looks at me like I’m crazy. So glad to know there is someone else out there as organized with their reno and decor ideas as I am.

  • Reply
    Sunday Wrap-up 3.20.10 « California Bliss
    March 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    […] Seventh House on the Left had a great post on organizing magazine articles. I NEED to do this. Mine are partly organized, just sitting in different piles, but they need to get into a binder like this. Especially the ridiculous amount of recipes I have pulled from magazines. […]

  • Reply
    Lauren Lelieur
    March 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    This is a great idea! I had one of these for a long time and then I just went through the process of scanning in all my articles and inspiration pictures. We are trying to go as paperless as possible!

  • Reply
    Shanna C
    April 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Absolutely WONDERFUL idea…you & I think alike, except that you are much neater about it than I am. I have all my ‘torn out’ magazine articles stuck in a folder. But you have inspired me to do better!!!

  • Reply
    Lynn K
    April 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    LOVE your website.. got it from
    I have been doing this with my CROSS STITCH and craft magazines. I have many many binders… too many porjects to actually stitch in my lifetime, but at least they are the ones I LOVE..

    I will be doing more sorting and filing. YOUR idea works for many different types of projects.. (off to buy MORE binders)

  • Reply
    April 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm


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    April 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm


  • Reply
    August 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Great idea! It’s great addition to the images and inspirations saved to Pinterest

  • Reply
    Chris Wilson
    November 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Hi. I’m looking for heavy duty D-ring binders that will accommodate 12 inch book keepers. Do you know where I can buy them? Chris

    • Reply
      November 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Hmm, I’d check Staples or maybe even Michaels (since scrapbook paper is 12″x12″).

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Great idea! I was also so happy to read how there are others out there who love notebooks etc! I might be a little weird but I love to go through magazines I like and actually write down the ideas and tips I like in my notebooks! Love those trips to the office supply store especially pens and of course notebooks!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Yes! Me too : )

  • Reply
    March 1, 2016 at 1:36 am

    I began ‘clipping pages’ from some of the magazines I get. Since I’m always looking for something “FABulous”, I use a box-cutter to take my ‘find’ and when I’m done gleaning each Magazine, It goes in recycling. I cannot (yet) cut apart my Real Simple, Martha Stewart or Food Network Mag’s (that would be mutiny-I’m a Chef). I now need to put some of your ideas to work for me, too. Thanks

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