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!) 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.  Two very good things. 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: 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!