Not Everything is Worth Reading – But it is So Tempting!


“Not everything is worth keeping.” That’s a mantra for a professional organizer. Some things are treasure, whether it has monetary value or it’s just sentimental. Other things are simply clutter.

Think of reading in the same way.

“Not everything is worth reading.”

Some things we read are worth treasuring. They provide wisdom, an escape or maybe just wishful thinking. Other reading, like other items, can become clutter.

My mother always reminded me that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. Too much ice cream. Too many cookies. Too many late nights watching movies.

You can also have too many books, too many magazines and too many catalogs. There is a crossover point where you really do have too much of a good thing. If you have books stacked in various places throughout the house, you might have overdone it. If magazines fill your mailbox, and you can no longer see your coffee table, it may be time to set new limits.

According to, there are 3.5 billion pages on the Internet. Our access to material has grown beyond our ability to consume. Due to the influx of smart phones, tablets and laptops, we’ve probably slowed down our consumption of print materials, although we still acquire them. Here are a few tips for dealing with an overabundance of reading material:

Catalogs: Use the 1-800 number on the catalog to ask to be removed from the mailing list. If you are concerned about too many books, magazines and catalogs as clutter, then you probably have too much in other areas. As an alternate to the paper clutter, you can shop online.

Magazines: Free or reduced subscriptions are not free. They eat up your time and space. You need to decide that your time is really valuable and you will only allocate it to the things you are passionate about. Often, magazines are carried in and stacked and never even opened because we are too busy to read them from cover to cover. We receive them every month because they are on auto renew. Really take a moment to decide which ones you love to read and which ones you seldom open. Let those go. Don’t agonize over it. After all, if you change your mind down the road, magazines are always happy to renew subscriptions.

Control Quantity: We often have stacks and piles of newsletters and magazines that we do really love. But how many are too many? So often, we never set a limit. Choose an extra-large basket or even a section of a book shelf. Decide that your home can only have as many magazines as will fit in that spot. (That is probably more than you will read anyway.) Place all the newest issues there. Let the old ones go. Donate them to a waiting room or recycle them. When you get new magazines, put them in the magazine spot and let the older issues go. If you can’t fit them in your basket, it is time to dispose of them.

Book Advice: Some people say that the printed word will disappear. But there are too many people, of all ages, who enjoy holding physical books in their hands. The question is how to sort and get rid of excess volumes. Here are some ideas:

• Out of Date: Peruse your books and pull out reference books that are out dated. No one needs Windows 98 for Dummies. You won’t use your nursing education book from 1995. • Can you find it online? If you are saving something simply for reference, see if the material is available online. You are paying for Internet. You don’t need to sacrifice space, too. • Will you read it again? If not, let it go. There are too many things you’ve never read to re-read another book. • If you will hand the book to someone else and say, “You have to read this! It is amazing,” you need to keep it. If not, let it go. Trade it in at a used book shop. Donate it to the library. Put a box on your sidewalk and label it “free books.” Drop them off at a retirement home. Sell them at one of the many online sites for used books.

Your time is so valuable. Fill it with the things you are passionate about--the magazines and books you really love—not just those that create clutter.