How To... Commit to a Magazine Clip File

Purging magazines is difficult for us, especially since we're constantly going back to old issues and seeing something new or in a new way. But it's also time consuming to dig through issue after issue for that one bedroom idea or recipe, to say nothing of space. A clip file is the obvious solution, but when we start looking for pages to clip, we often get sucked into the overall layout and design of the magazine itself and waver in our resolve to slash and burn.To nip such clutter-enabling tendencies in the bud, we came up with a simple technique: Using a utility or X-Acto knife, a safe cutting surface and a metal ruler, we cut the spine clean off of the entire magazine, neatly freeing all of the pages at once. Then it's simply a matter of separating pages into keep / don't keep piles, which is surprisingly easy after the spell of the magazine binding is broken. The pages are ready for insertion into sheet protectors before we have a chance to get sentimental.

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Lest we get carried away, we don't touch our two favorite magazines, Domino and Livingetc, but reserve this treatment for the other (copious) random issues of magazines we buy at newsstands — still easily 75% of our former magazine horde.

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Another trick to stick with it? Stopping right away when you get tired or bored of cutting, sorting and inserting. If you push yourself past the point of no return, you'll never want to pick the task up again after you do take a break, much less keep the habit long-term.

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