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Recycling Magazines

Recycling Magazines

Over the past couple of years I’ve developed quite the magazine collection; some were bought for ideas, some were gift subscriptions (best. gifts. ever.) and some I received because I’d written for them. I’d always been pretty merciless about getting rid of them (giving them to friends, using them whilst working at Anthropologie, recycling the really chopped up ones to the recycle bin) until I met Alicia.

When I stayed over night in her spare room, she had a massive book cased filled with magazines; all Martha Stewart, old issues of Victoria, Marie Claire Maison. I don’t think I slept that night because I literally laid in bed going through all her magazines, page by page. I always thought this was a charming thing to have for guests – easy reading material – and so I began a collection of things I thought my mum or friends might find interesting when they stayed.

So I have schlepped heavy boxes from flat to flat and save for my last home in Santa Monica, didn’t really have a place for them. I’ve found a new place for my favourites (Boligliv, Marie Claire Maison & Idees, some Martha’s) but there’s a huge pile of wonderful ones I’m ready to part with.

The question is, how do you get rid of them?

My local friends have taken ones they wanted but still I have stacks. It seems a shame to just recycle them – any ideas?



  1. athenaNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 / 3:58 PM

    freecycle! someone offered a big stack of architectural digests on my local freecycle. i asked my friend, who is a feng shui consultant, if she wanted them, and she said yes. she used them for inspiration pages for herself and her colleagues and for her clients. i’m sure someone could use them for that.

  2. August 27, 2008 / 4:33 PM

    first, i’m so envious that you stayed at alicia’s house – lucky you! how about donating them to a local library?

  3. sharonNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 / 4:47 PM

    Freecycle is a great option. Also sometimes nursing or other group homes or day programs welcome magazines (either for reading or collage material)

  4. August 27, 2008 / 6:54 PM

    quiet, geurilla assault… leave them at any doctor or dentist office you may happen upon. The receptionist will never know they are there. I can’t tell you how thrilled I’d be to pick up a copy of Marie Claire Maison instead of a 3 year-old People or Redbook while waiting to get my teeth cleaned.

    I’m a magazine freak myself… actualy prefer to browse and buy newsstand. I also happen to work at a magazine in the production department and cannot bring myself to clip out the pages I want and recycle the rest.

  5. payalNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 / 7:17 PM

    I donate mine to my local library, public hospital, as well as the art department of the public elementary and high schools.

  6. August 27, 2008 / 8:03 PM

    I used to drop off all my magazines at the senior assisted living home. They always have a common/social area and a desk person, who would happily take them to scatter around the room.

  7. KerryNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 / 11:39 PM

    What about saving images you like to create holiday cards or collages?

  8. August 27, 2008 / 11:48 PM

    I try to pop one into any parcels I’m sending out. They always go down well with the recipient.

    I also pass them on to a couple of friends locally when I’ve read them.

  9. ellen p.No Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 / 12:43 AM

    Nursing/retirements homes. Not the most ritzy ones either. Imagine being a resident there, day after day after day (perhaps with no regular visitors to look forward to, either). Can you imagine how welcome the vivid photographs, articles, …any material new and fresh would be to many of them??? It would be even better if you requested that they go to the residents who are least visited. Perhaps they would allow you to hand them out yourself. It would be the highlight of many-a-Gals’ day..or week..to receive a colorful magazine from a Danish girl. 🙂

  10. RowenaNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 / 12:52 AM

    Yes, I would echo the nursing homes and assisted living places. Love Ellen P’s idea. There are several across the city and if you have a large stack you can distribute them.

  11. August 28, 2008 / 3:06 AM

    I try to give them away – either to friends who don’t have that subscription or to the library or nursing homes. When the pile is getting particularly big, I cut out my favorite parts and put them in my inspiration book (which is supposed to be nicely ordered, but more often than not is a big pile of ripped-out lovelies…)

  12. August 28, 2008 / 8:30 AM

    I second (or 3rd, or 4th) freecycle! they’ll be snatched up in a minute and put to good use – lots of elementary school teachers look there for crafting supplies etc.

  13. August 28, 2008 / 11:28 AM

    I donate mine to the local library–they then sell them for a dime each. That way, the library benefits, and the next reader doesn’t have to pay $3-5 or more to enjoy it 🙂

  14. August 28, 2008 / 3:05 PM

    I recycle magazines in many ways. Like Katrina I use magazine pages as gift wrap but I also make cards, gift bags and tags out of them. I shred them with a paper shredder and use that instead of styrofoam peanuts in parcels that I mail. You can make sturdy containers from magazine pages and also weave strips into ‘baskets’. Right now I am in the process of creating invitations, escort and place cards as well as gift wrap for a friend’s wedding and am using pages culled from magazines to make these. If I think of any other ways, I’ll get back to you!

  15. sinclaireNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 / 3:23 PM

    I’ve had a bit of a pack-rat issue when it comes to magazines, however, when it cam time to move over seas I donated all of my magazines to a local college- the art students use them for inspiration and collage projects.

  16. KateNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 / 4:12 PM

    While I fully endorse the freecycle option, or leaving a stack at the dentist’s office it could also be worth selling collections of magazines on ebay. I realise you’re probably looking for suggestions that are a little more altruistic (although you could sell them for charity) but other readers might be interested in trying it. Another idea might be to set up a magazine swap and exchange your magazines for someone else’s, especially if done internationally as it can be difficult or expensive to subscribe to foreign magazines. Also try local education centres, particularly arts programmes – I took a textile course and loved flicking through magazines for inspiration. Presenting an ideas book can be an important part of the assessment so magazines were really useful in that regard.

  17. MichelleNo Gravatar
    August 29, 2008 / 3:49 AM

    Many great ideas have already been mentioned. Art Departments of local schools, afterschool programs, and YMCA’s are always looking for donations especially if they aren’t in the most affluent areas. I came into piles of magazines and mat board, which i promptly donated to a local inner city high school and the YMCA. Art programs, tend to be cut first, so every little bit helps.

  18. August 29, 2008 / 5:20 AM

    Ooh, I forgot to mention envelopes (I haven’t bought any since 1998), paper beads, and Christmas crackers. All of these can be made from magazines. Magazine covers are sturdy and can be turned into gift boxes which you can wrap with the magazine pages, natch!

  19. AlecNo Gravatar
    August 29, 2008 / 7:02 AM

    I love to stack them up in my room for a colorful column of paper. Later, maybe go through them for collage clip-art.

  20. Michele BlueNo Gravatar
    August 31, 2008 / 2:49 PM

    if you can’t find a way to freecycle…
    nor can you find a way to donate them…
    and if you are creative (which i believe that you are)
    try several ways to re-use them in your own unique way…
    etsy envelope
    etsy collage
    etsy necklace
    Search magazine and you will come up with a bunch of ideas!

    I also have a magazine “fetish” and never knew what to do with my magazines. I couldn’t bring myself to trash them, or donate them…so there they sat. I learned to use mine for wrapping paper a lot (a page can wrap a CD normally). And i love to use people in my collage paintings or just add cut out word/people on brown paper bag wrappings.

    good luck!
    Michele Blue

  21. RebeccaNo Gravatar
    September 30, 2008 / 6:21 PM

    I just came upon this website and I am starting a magazine collection. If anyone has any old magazines that they would like to get rid of, I would love to take them off of your hands. E-mail be at becbritc4@yahoo.com and we can figure something out regarding shipping. Thanks everyone!

  22. EricaNo Gravatar
    December 2, 2016 / 12:52 PM

    Donatr them to a local school art department to inspire future designers! Or a local women’s and children’s shelter. These are always looking for resources for the women and kids to make crafts or just provide some downtime. 🙂

  23. Lee AnnNo Gravatar
    August 2, 2018 / 9:12 PM

    All my magazines go to my nearest hospital. Exxcept for a couple that I stick into a neighbor’s mailbox;, as requested via our neighborhood listserv. These are folks I don’t really even know save by this connection.