How to Keep Track of Ideas From Magazines

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kalyn at Creative Savings.

How to Keep Track of Ideas from Magazines at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

My affinity for magazines also means I constantly create nightstand clutter. I get a ton of freebie hand-me-downs and subscriptions, so I’m never running low on bedtime or travel reading material, that’s for sure!

While I wish I could get rid of magazines all together and track my ideas via Pinterest or digital issues, there’s just something about a glossy magazine that a screen can’t replace. And I’m okay with that…but I still want to be conscious about how much “stuff” I have laying around, magazines included.

So how do I collect and organize magazine ideas without having them collect dust?

Here’s the system I’ve been using for the last year or so, and you can tweak it as much as you need to make it work for you!

Only Keep Magazine Pages You Know You’ll Use

Usually a magazine reading session by yours truly results in some major tear-outs.

There are so many ideas I want to file away and remember for later, but when I came back to those pages months down the road, I wonder why I ever wasted my time saving it for so long, when clearly I wasn’t going to ever do the project or make that recipe.

Every idea can sound like a great one at first, but just a few extra seconds thinking about whether or not you will really use it, can make the difference between hundreds and just a few pages here and there to keep track of.

For instance,

  • That DIY Project might look really cool, but do you think you’ll actually have time to do it?
  • That recipe sounds amazing, but how many extra ingredients will you have to buy to make it?
  • That household tip seems mind blowing, but couldn’t you find the same information on Google in just 5 seconds?

When it comes to saving magazine pages, only keep what you need, not what you “think” you’ll need. There’s a big difference!


Know Where to File Torn Pages

Tearing out and saving magazine pages does absolutely no good if you don’t have a place in mind for them. Otherwise, they end up creating just as much, if not more, clutter. And no one wants to sort through a big stack of paper…..not even me!

A great option {if you don’t tear out too many pages per mag} is to have a notebook divided by topic and file pages away in page protectors. I used to go this route, but it got to the point where I was outgrowing my notebook. Now, I have a bit of a different system.

My current magazine filing “rules”:

  • If the page is a recipe I want to save, I’ll stick it my “to try” folder stashed next to all my cookbooks.
  • If the page is a DIY project or tutorial, I’ll search for it on the magazine’s website to pin to a specific board on Pinterest. If not, I’ll stick it in my decorating notebook.
  • If the page contains an idea that inspires a post for Creative Savings, I type it out in my Post Ideas notebook in Evernote according to topic.
  • If the page is an inspirational article, has loads of resources or household tips, I’ll snap a photo of the page with my phone, upload to Evernote, tag, and send it to the appropriate folders.


No matter what your filing system may look like, get into the habit of organizing pages the moment you are done with your current magazine. I promise it will save you major headaches later on!

One Last Tip

If you have a backlog of magazines and don’t want to spend all Summer inside sorting through them, you can always claim magazine bankruptcy, and ruthlessly purse any issues that don’t really interest you.

If you can’t bear to toss an issue in the garbage without a quick skim, give yourself 5-10 minutes to flip through — set a timer though, or you won’t get much else done!

Magazines are a wealth of information presented in such a fun and visual way, but if you don’t have a plan to capture and organize all those awesome ideas, there’s really no point in keeping them around. It’s okay to give them the boot every once in a while and not worry too much about forgetting something you’ve read.

Besides, if the idea was truly that important, it will come back!

How do you keep track of ideas from magazines?  Do you have a system for sorting magazines?

How to Keep Track of Ideas from Magazines at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog


Kalyn Brooke is a full-time writer and blogger at, where she gives a fresh perspective on frugal living, and the kick-in-the-pants you need to create a budget from scratch. She lives in beautiful Southwest Florida with her news-photographer husband and the most adorable bunny you’ve ever seen. She loves making to-do lists, reading good books, eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and pursuing big dreams….all carefully planned out, of course.

Filed under: Clutter Control, Guest Bloggers


15 Responses to How to Keep Track of Ideas From Magazines

  1. 1
    Tina says

    Thank you so much for your ideas! This is really a topic that I have to address in my house. And I really was overwhelmed by the thought of how to begin. But this sounds ‘doable’.???? Tina

  2. 2
    Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort says

    I blogged about this yesterday – glad I’m not the only one who struggles with piles of magazines. 🙂 I look up the article online and pin the image to one of my Pinterest boards. It’s the way I’m most likely to use that information again!

  3. 3
    Emma says

    I actually use ‘project folders’ I get those folders with clear pockets built into them. I organise my sheets by broad subject ‘Inspirational women’, ‘Love’, ‘Money’ etc.

    I have a separate folder for home/decorating stuff split down by room, with add-ons like ‘sewing projects’. For the home stuff, I sometimes only want a small piece of the picture for an idea, so I take that and glue it to a piece of paper and then that piece of paper can be stored and added to over time.

  4. 4
    Nancy says

    In the past I used one folder for every page worth “saving”. After reading this I realize I need a folder for each topic.
    Love these organizing ideas!

  5. 5
    Erin says

    Another fun way and works well with both computers and tablets, is creating a onedrive account (this will help if you have multiple computers/tablets/smartphone), and opening onenote from Micrososoft, see something you like printscreen/snap picture and save onto desired onenote tab.

  6. 6
    holly says

    I mostly use pinterest for idea saving, keep only a few cherished magazines from the last decade & donate the rest. I don’t like having piles of magazines or newspapers hanging around & cluttering up the house, and this way others can read them too.

  7. 7
    Katie says

    I love the “pitch it” idea. There was a point prior to my first baby where I had so many magazines that I swore I would get to. Coming to the realization that the stress of the pile was greater than any tip or idea contained within those pages gave me permission to put them in the recycling bin. It was like lifting a huge weight off my shoulders. Now I’ve cut down on my subscriptions and question ruthlessly before I keep something. I have an accordion folder by subject, decorating, party ideas, money tips, workouts to try, etc. Recipes go to the recipe folder in my kitchen. I love the idea of a “try it” folder by the cook books, I’ll be adopting that!

  8. 8
    Katie N says

    I literally have a giant stack of magazines sitting here staring at me. I tried to sell them in our garage sale yesterday, but no such luck! I am so glad I didn’t sell them now! I love your Evernote idea… I might just try that 🙂 And I agree with you – there’s nothing like a beautiful, glossy magazine to peruse. 🙂

  9. 9
    teresa says

    i am a LOOOONG time Evernote user and have taken advantage of the growing functionality to become even MORE organized. Like you, I snap photos (directly in Evernote, with my phone), and I use Skitch sometimes to make notes on the page. I LOVE that evernote (as a premium feature) “reads” the words on photos so that when I do a word search, it searches not just the hand typed notes, but photo scans and hand written notes, as well. It’s pretty awesome that I have now eliminated ALL my paper folders with magazine clippings and now refer to it all in Evernote.
    I still, like you, prefer looking at the actual magazine over digital versions initially, but digital clipping has been a total clutter saver! It’s been great for trying new workouts too when I’m at the gym – much less cumbersome to refer to your phone than pages of a magazine.

  10. 10
    Blair says

    Great tips! I have a huge stack of pages I’ve torn out over the years, but never use. I’m going to try out Evernote for sure!

  11. 11
    Nicole Q-Schmitz says

    When we cleared out our basement crawlspace in January, I realized I had been hoarding boxes of magazines for years. I had wanted to go through them but knew that it would take way too much time (and most were magazines that I don’t read anymore, ie: teen stuff).

    I literally JUST put them out for recycling this morning (months later right?) and it felt so much better just to purge them than spend hours going through them.

    That being said – I will DEFINETELY be implementing these tips from now on!

  12. 12
    carol says

    i too have a stash of magazines that i can’t bear to get rid of…. recently i started doing what you recommend, and now that i have read this blog, i will fine tune it…. also if the magazines are in good shape, not too cut up, donate to a hospice or retirement home… my chopped up ones were donated to my kids school where they can cut out pictures and letters to their hearts content….

  13. 13
    Davina Carr says

    Is there a good way to store the entire Magazine? I have magazines that I need to keep and I am looking for a good way to store them.


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