I’ve always limited myself to a couple of magazine subscriptions at a time. Even so, the magazines tend to stack up. When I was a kid, I saved all my old magazines. I had stacks and stacks of magazines filling my closet shelves. I kept them just in case I ever wanted to refer to something in them. After all, they had some useful articles and I might want to reference them someday.
As a child though, it didn’t click that I never reread those magazines. They simply sat there taking up space. I’m not sure when I eventually got rid of them, but I do know they sat in my closet for a long, long time.
Fast forward to my college years and beyond. I had a subscription to Motor Trend and a Jeep magazine, and Dream had a subscription to a women’s magazine. Not a big deal unless they sit around forever. We tended to have stacks of magazines on the back of the toilet. When a new one came in, I’d flip through it, maybe read a couple of articles, and then save the rest for my time in the throne room.
The magazines would also tend to congregate on the kitchen counter and on end tables. Seems like we always had magazines lying around somewhere.
Over time, I began to consider if the magazines were worth what I was paying. I wondered if they really provided much real value. I started seeing Motor Trend in a different light. It was inspiring my desire to buy new cars. Similarly the Jeep magazine was inspiring me to buy more accessories for my Jeep.
The articles in those magazines spurred on my desire to buy more stuff.
If the articles aren’t bad enough, magazines seemed to be trending towards more and more advertisements. I tried to find some stats on the number of ads in a typical magazine, and found this post about ads in cooking magazines. In that post someone got curious about the number of ads in magazines and decided to count them. They found that Every Day with Rachel Ray contained 58 out of 162 pages were full page ads, a staggering 40%. 58 pages were nothing but ads, and that doesn’t even count the half page and smaller ads.
Finally I decided it was time to break up with Magazines. I was tired of the ads, I was tired of the consumerist content, and I was tired of the clutter they created.
I replaced the majority of my magazine reading with book reading. The content in books is all around better — more entertaining, better written, and more worth spending my time reading. In the few cases where I would have gained some knowledge from magazines, I turn to the Internet instead.
Most magazines now auto-renew if you used your credit card to place the initial order. You can’t just wait for the subscription to run out anymore, you have to take action. I just recently canceled my last remaining magazine – Consumer Reports. Or at least I thought I did. I just received another issue in the mail, so it looks like I may have only canceled the auto-renew. I’m going to have to call to find out how to cancel it.
What’s your magazine situation? Do you find them worthwhile or are you ready for a breakup?
Breaking up with stuff is a series about the hold our stuff has on us. Over the past few years I have had to end many love affairs with stuff. It’s the path that every minimalist must take. At some point in your life, you find yourself with more stuff than you knew you needed… knew you wanted even. You’ll see that you have a house full of stuff and you’re running out space to store it. You might look at your paycheck and wonder where it all goes. At some point you’ll decide your stuff is no longer treating you well and you’ll decide it’s time to break up.
Contribute your breaking up with stuff story by emailing freedom at rethinkingthedream dot com or by using my contact page.