The OCD habit I have to break

magazine hoarding

Hi, my name is Brooke, and I’m a zine-addict.

It started when I was young. I loved reading about Michael J. Fox and Matthew Broderick in Tiger Beat before graduating to the profiles and essays in Esquire. My dad was a big fan of Time, New York, and Vanity Fair and my mom was a religious reader of House & Garden , W, and People, just to name a few.  I remember how excited she got every August when the 4-pound September issue of Vogue arrived in the mail.

I feel the same when my Real Simple comes, or when I turn to the last page of the Times magazine to read the “Lives “essay and dream of one day getting published.

But my fondness for magazines has gotten out of control and they’re taking over my home. My problem is, once they enter my house, I simply cannot throw them away until I read them. Not necessarily cover to cover– but I have to give each magazine a good flip-through before I toss it.



Like everyone else, I’m so busy it’s hard to find time to read magazines, especially since I read so much for work. But it’s equally difficult accepting that I can’t keep up, and may miss a vital article on anything– from best cooking gadgets to the latest on Syria to the inside scoop on Jennifer Aniston’s wedding plans.

I need to know!

My magazine habit is so ingrained that I pay for subscriptions 2-3 years in advance so I don’t have to worry about missing a payment and thus an issue. But that means they keep arriving in my mailbox, all crispy and new, busting with news and tantalizing headlines, begging me to delve in.

Magazine hoarding


I’ve been getting Parents since my oldest was born (he’s now 13)  and would never renew but it keeps showing up. I always think I should pass it on to a friend with younger kids– how much more do I need to know at this point? But then there’s always that one headline that grabs my eye and makes me hang onto it. I would like to know the ten best tips to keep my kid safe in cyber space.

The New York Times magazine, Time and People are the real killers because they’re weekly, but the Country Livings, Food Networks, and Real Simples cumulate quickly too. And now my boys (ages 7, 10, and 13)  are adding fuel to my fire with Sports Illustrated every week.



So the pulp piles up, all over the house. There are baskets, crates, and shelves teeming with them on the first floor. Others gather in flat spots in my bedroom, while stray issues litter every bathroom, despite a full recycling bag every week of those I’ve managed to read and dismiss.

I need help people.

Remember, I’m a journalist who’s always seeking information.  I also like pretty pictures and gossip as much as the next gal.



I have a “toss it after one year” rule in place, but it doesn’t help all that much. I just don’t know how to cure myself. Whenever I’m completely disgusted with the state of the house and decide to tackle my enormous heaps, I wind up spending hours perusing mags, and ripping out articles I must save, until I’m exhausted and can’t read another word.



The first step is admitting you have a problem. So here I am,  lifting the veil on this compulsive behavior.

Any advice for this magazine junkie? I welcome it in the comments. Otherwise, I may have to start subscribing to Psychology Today to get some answers.

12 responses to “The OCD habit I have to break

  1. I too am addicted to magazines in print and have two big baskets full of stuff to read. I’ve loved them ever since my first subscriptions to YM and Tiger Beat. Nothing beats a new magazine, quiet house, and cup of coffee for me. My new solution though is to stop renewing….just throw away the envelope when you get it in the mail. Don’t even read about the great offer of 3 years for the price of one. Sometimes I don’t even notice a magazine stopped coming…..until the Sexiest Man Alive issue comes out and I sadly realized it never came to me. Then I crumble and get it on the newsstand and curse that I am paying the same price for the one issue that I would for a half year subscription. Then I go online and restart and the whole vicious damn circle starts again!

  2. Wilson probably doesn’t like your friends who gift their old People magazines to you either!!
    You’re speaking to the choir. Eight years ago ‘someone’ told me that People mag was like crack. Lets just say my 2nd baby gift to myself 8 years ago is still going and going and going. That ‘someone’ got me hooked!

  3. Can you just put them in tall neat piles under the family room coffee table. They’ll all be together and make a sculptural statement.

  4. Hmmm. Imagine all the clutter if someone wasn’t secretly throwing away all the issues that turned yellow.

  5. Hey Brooke – You only need one magazine, and it’s The Week. It concisely takes all news from other sources and puts their synopses in one place. I love it 🙂

  6. Patrick Tuite

    What I do to lessen the clutter is flip through each issue and tear out the articles that would interest me. The piles are less and I can read them quicker and its easier to throw them away when I’m done. Also if an article is a how to do it type I save it for future reference again with the rest of the mag taking up room. Plus if I haven’t looked at it in weeks I know I never will and just pitch it. I also get the print issues,to which I have subscribed, on the Internet which leaves no piles and I can get to them on trains or planes or in hotel rooms when I’m traveling when I don’t want to schlep the whole issue. Just some thoughts from a fellow degenerate magazine reader. Sent from my iPad Pat Tuite

    • Yes the digital thing has helped a bit. But nothing feels as good as holding a magazine. My problem is finding the time to flip through, and not getting stuck on things I want to read. Thanks for reading!

  7. I have no recommendations for you because I fully support your constant quest for knowledge and entertainment. Perhaps a better storage solution is in order.

    I was a Dynamite & Bananas mag girl, myself. And also a catalogue junky-specifically the annual 15 pound Sears catalogue where I circled my favorite item on every single page knowing I would not receive a single one. I still “window shop” in catalogues.

    • Ah Dynamite and Bananas! Haven’t thought about those in decades. Love it. Yes, I didn’t even address catalogs but I have a problem with those too!

  8. Steckler, Tamara

    Loved that last line. Laughed out loud on the train!