How I Got Neat: Ditching the Magazine Clutter

July 1, 2015 ~ Rachel Perry

 

Hi, my name is Rachel, and I might be a magazine hoarder. Do they have support groups for that?

Every week or month, glossy, inviting new magazines appear in my mailbox. I pull them out, peruse them for 10 seconds, and then stack them neatly on the coffee table, where I’m pretty sure they breed and multiply like bunnies.

Okay, so no, I don’t have ceiling-high piles of them or anything crazy like that. Hoarders won’t be calling me anytime soon, thank goodness. But I DO tend to have a hard time tossing out my favorite magazines, especially since I subscribe to some really great ones that I don’t seem to have time to actually read.

As a working mom with a baby, my leisure time is pretty limited these days – but I love getting my magazines in the mail, and I keep telling myself that eventually I’ll have a spare hour to sit around and browse through them. Um, sure – maybe in 17 ½ years, when my son goes off to college.

We moved last summer, and many of those unread magazines came with us in boxes – which, even pre-baby, continued to sit in our storage closet for a year, untouched. Unread. Just taking up space – space that is prime real estate now that piles of baby gear have officially taken over most of our condo.

So, in the interest of not someday becoming one of those people who use decades of magazines as slowly decaying furniture, I decided that it was finally time to take action once and for all.

In order to make these magazines disappear without that sweet parting sorrow, I realized I had to cut the clutter but still keep the information. Enter my NeatConnect Wi-Fi scanner and software. We’re new friends, me and my scanner, so this was my first big project, but it was easy to get started. My idea was pretty simple: use Neat to convert intriguing magazine articles into digital files that I could organize by type and then read later, whenever I wanted.

The Process – Quick and Painless

I chose a quiet Saturday afternoon when my son was napping and quickly got to work. I set up my scanner and started creating folders for myself using Neat’s Premium software – one folder for each magazine subscription. Then, I sat on my living room floor, surrounded by magazine piles, and quickly started flipping through issues. I began with The New Yorker. If an article or fiction piece looked interesting, I’d tear it out of the magazine and toss it into a pile. When I was done pulling out the pages I wanted to read, I threw the rest in a big box to recycle.

After I finished with all the issues of the first subscription, I lined up the pages I wanted to keep in my NeatConnect’s document feed and pressed “Scan.” Seriously, so easy, especially since NeatConnect has the ability to scan both sides at once. When the pages had finished scanning, I saved the file to the appropriate folder. Then, I moved on to the next subscription. With food magazines such as Vegetarian Times, I organized the recipes by category, which was easy to do, and scanned all the entrée recipes at once, then the dessert pages, etc. so that I could label each file by recipe type.

A friend who stopped by after I had finished scanning magazine pages looked at my digital articles and asked with a hint of wonder, “Didn’t that take as long as actually reading those magazines would?”

Nope – it honestly didn’t. Not even close. I spent a total of two minutes, at most, flipping through each magazine issue. Scanning time was negligible, since my NeatConnect can scan up to 24 pages per minute, 50 pages at a time. All in all, it took me an hour and a half to go through two huge stacks of magazines – and, of course, I no longer had all those magazines cluttering up my house, so it was worth every minute. Plus? Now I have a lot of new reading material that I can access on my phone’s mobile app, wherever and whenever I want.

Case in point: earlier this week, I sat in the doctor’s office for an hour waiting for an appointment and had some great articles to keep me busy. That evening, I wanted to use up some spinach in my fridge so I keyword-searched my files and found a yummy spinach lasagna recipe to make for dinner. And then, later, when my baby was asleep and the house was quiet, I looked over at my de-cluttered coffee table and breathed a little happy sigh.

Getting organized in small ways doesn’t take much time, but it feels like a huge accomplishment.

 

Stay tuned for more posts about how Neat is helping me get organized at home and at work!

 

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