|The last of my magazines waiting to be read and donated|
In my quest to simplify, I have come to realise that magazines do not currently have a place in the vision I have for my life. They have always been a bit of a love/hate thing for me. On the one hand I get excited to see the new glossy covers for the month and the possibilities that lie inside.
But on the other hand, all that gloss falls away literally as soon as I get home and I see that I have many others that look very similar, and I haven’t read them completely yet and it almost seems a chore to do so. When I do, it’s to get rid of them and I flick through searching for the odd good article but finding mostly ads and vacuous sound-bites that do nothing to improve the quality of my life.
I think I’ll find that one sentence or point of view that will change my life, make everything click into place but I never do, and I’ve realised I don’t need to. Everything I need to know is already inside me and will come out at the right time.
And I haven’t even mentioned the envy yet. The feeling of ‘not good enough’ and inadequacy I get from seeing a perfectly staged home in exactly the style I think I want, well, I am paying someone to make me feel this way?
What I need most is not stacks of magazines staring at me and taking up space, but the calm and serenity of an empty space, where those magazines once sat.
Even ordering the latest magazines from the library has lost its appeal, and that seemed like a perfect system when I found out about it. I can order in specific copies, and yes I might have to wait a couple of weeks, but I can still read them for free, and then return them after a fortnight.
Even this, the free, no-clutter magazine solution is not for me. Two weeks would almost be up and I hadn’t even opened them. So I’d spend the night before they were due back scanning them so I had ‘read’ them.
By their very nature, magazines are not the place to find information on living a simple and stress-free life, how to dress in a classic way and not buy new clothes all the time, how to not spend much and live frugally. Why? Because they are a vehicle to sell you things. Things that you didn’t even know you needed or wanted.
Having worked for a huge French cosmetic company before I became a self-employed shopgirl, I know that the editorial pages, where items are written about in an ‘impartial’ manner, are filled with the products of advertisers. If you don’t advertise then you will be unlikely to get promoted in the editorial pages.
So really, I have been paying for shopping catalogues all these years. Yes, I admit, I have torn a lot of good and interesting pages from magazines (just my own mind, removing library magazine pages should be a criminal offence) and these are in files that I periodically read. But I could have lived without them. And I am now on a quest to go through those files and bin a lot of the info, because it isn’t anything special. The rare diamond will go into the ‘keep’ pile. How is it that something you previously thought was fun has turned into work?
I have been working on thinning down my style files this week, and I would estimate at least 4/5 of what I had has gone into the recycling. It has been quite an illuminating exercise though. Much of the written information that was helpful at the time, I now do as a matter of course, and some magazine articles I look at and think ‘I could have written better myself’.
In the home-style file, it was fun to flick through all the images and easily see the ones that weren’t quite me, or might have been me a few years ago. Now I can see I just need to tweak the odd thing here and there in our home to achieve the style I am drawn to (I want to add a bit of shine to my decor to pretty up the rustic).
So my library magazine request list is down from a dozen titles to just one for now. I vow not to buy any magazines, not that that will be hard as I’m already not buying magazines. And the magazines I have designated as being keepers (the handful of Victoria magazines I have, as I find those very relaxing to read) I will be reading through one at a time, and donating.
Sure I’ll read through the odd one here or there if I’m passed them on, or if I’m in a waiting room. I’m not totally anti-magazine. However I know that doing this one thing of eliminating magazines for the most part will encourage peace and serenity in my daily life. I’d far rather read a book.
I feel like I am being quite ruthless and a little bit dramatic about it but you have to be. You have to decide how you want to spend your time because it is precious, and life is short. I want what I choose to be in my life, not any old twaddle that finds its way to my door.
I spent at least an hour on my last day off reading through house and garden and Vogue-type magazines so that I could donate them. I also spent a similar amount of time weeding in our garden. Crazy as it sounds, the weeding gave me much more satisfaction, and it was exercise at the same time. Not that I was doing cartwheels on the lawn, but getting up and down and moving around is better for you than sitting on your bum on the carpet wishing you didn’t have so many magazines to get rid of (yes, another first world problem as they say).
I’m doing really well with my decluttering (for those of us that naturally accumulate ‘stuff’ it may be a lifelong endeavour) but there are just those last few areas, like this one of magazines, that need to be dealt with. They are almost like a weedy patch that keeps sprouting up!
Just as there are ‘hotspots’ in your home that seem to become cluttered automatically and need constant vigilance, I think there can be genres or categories for each of us that require strictness to stop them getting out of control and adding stress to our life.
I hasten to add, please don’t think I am bagging magazines. Over the years they have been a great friend and have provided me with company and inspiration. But now, well, I think it’s time for my old friend and I to amicably part company.