Minimalism. I have my mission but where to start? I need something accessible, not too time-consuming so it can be basically accomplished within the nap window – and I need something that won’t hurt too bad. I look around…
On the breakfast table, beneath the miscellaneous baby clutter and toast-crumbed placemats is a stack of magazines. My magazines. A mix of home, life and cooking periodicals that come into my home monthly, are perused minimally and often filed away with dreams of the perfectly-planned road trip or a dinner party with fabulous dishes made with fennel.
I have subscriptions to – and collections of – magazines filled with content that I don’t use, don’t care about, don’t have time for or can easily obtain somewhere else. (Um hello? Internet?) Not only are these magazines taking up real estate on my kitchen table, but I actually SAVED dozens of them over the years, PURCHASED magazine organizers in order to display them neatly and CLEARED space for them in my office, family room, living room and bonus room.
The worst part? My magazine collection makes me feel guilty. Every time I look at them, prettily poised on my bookshelf, a wash of regret comes over me. I haven’t made that recipe, worked on that craft, decorated my house to the nines for Fourth of July with homemade garlands and potato-stamped luminarias. I was holding onto these magazines in the hopes I’d some day become my perfect vision of myself.
Well, fuck, I might be waiting forever on that.
Magazines, I have decided, are first on the chopping block. I rounded my collections up from their various stations throughout the house. I kept the recent issue of each and stacked the rest.
I discovered that I had 22-inch-high pile of magazines taking up space in my home. More than that, I had 22 inches of magazines making me feel guilty for not taking advantage of all the sage advice within their pages. Curious, I flipped through a few to see what indispensable info I had dogeared years ago. The perfect faux bois wall treatment! Halibut curry soup! Collections of cloisonne birds! Twelve mascaras that will change your life! The coolest places in Vancouver in 2007!
I have never once gone back to a dogeared magazine that had been shelved for more than a month or two to cook a recipe or plan a trip. If it doesn’t grab me immediately, ain’t nothin doing. There is no shame in that. I get great recipes online all the time. I ask friends for recommendations in new cities. (Yeah, or I Yelp. Maybe just Yelp.) And faux bois on my walls? Really? Like husband was ever going to let that happen. Probably a good thing.
A funny thing happened when I started piling them in a box to take to the thrift store for donation, though. I actually felt my heart speed up as I thought about giving these away. A part of me panicked. For a moment, I thought it was silly to toss out these great ideas, these beautiful layouts. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to flip through them with some coffee, linger over a feature on bed and breakfasts in Oregon or find an adorable Easter craft?
And then I stopped myself. Yeah, that would be nice. But it’s not fucking happening any time soon. No coffee or milk for me while I’m nursing. And there’s not a lot of lingering at my house these days. When baby naps I’m working, making baby food, doing laundry and picking up dog poop in the backyard. When baby goes to sleep, husband and I make dinner, watch a show, listen to some records and then race each other to see who falls asleep first. I love my life. But there’s no B&Bs in Oregon to be had right now.
I’ve also decided to let all of my subscriptions lapse this year. If I miss any of them, maybe I can get them on my kindle. Maybe not. But no more glossy stacks of guilt for me. I’m already breathing a little easier.