One of my favorite magazines (indeed, one of the very few for which I am willing to pay), ReadyMade, has just launched its digital edition with the current April/May 2008 issue on “green design.” ReadyMade is a wonderful resource for do-it-yourself aficionados and handy types who prefer to reuse, refashion, repurpose, and rehab their existing belongings in creative, artistic ways rather than throw more money away on mass-produced stuff that millions of other people probably have, too.
I really like the idea of a digital edition from which I can just print out the projects I want to try versus a paper hard copy that will clutter up my house and kill more trees. If they give me the option to convert my current subscription to the digital format, I’ll switch over without any regrets.
Check out the latest issue here, and as a bonus, you also have full access to the five back issues preceding it if you click on the Archives button at the top of the page. Pretty awesome for $0!
I find ReadyMade’s addition of a digital edition particularly timely and fortuitous since I’ve been listening to the audio book version of Clean Sweep organization expert Peter Walsh’s It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff and was already feeling somewhat conflicted about Walsh’s advice to keep only the three most recent issues of any given magazine title in the house and tossing the rest. I have no problems doing this with my lower priority freebie magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly, Kiplinger’s, Pink, and Games for Windows, but I still own every single copy of Cooking Light, ReadyMade and Oxygen that I have ever received. The Cooking Light subscription was a one year gift from my sister and has expired, which conveniently removes the onus of figuring out what to do from my plate, but I have over 17 issues left on the Oxygen and an unknown amount of time left on ReadyMade. I’ve decided to take his compromise route and scan to PDF format all of the recipes and workouts that pique my interest from my backlog and forthcoming issues of Cooking Light and Oxygen and to donate the rest via Freecycle. Yes, photos of the fitness models in Oxygen are indeed inspirational, but really, do I truly need more than a few clipped out pictures on the fridge or digital photos on my Treo to keep me motivated? It’s not like muscles and 12% body fat in a bikini look all that different from model to model, you know?
As for the ReadyMades…I am not ready to give up my mini-library of old issues, but at least the magazine only comes out once every two months and WILL have the paperless option now.
While Chris and I are too new in our home and our lives together to have acquired the sort of epic clutter and overwhelming heaps of crap that Walsh’s clients seem to possess, I am fully aware that I have the Asian compulsion to hoard both culturally AND genetically embedded in my psyche, ready to burst out like a parasitic alien monster at the first sign of significant economic upheaval or my 40th birthday, whichever comes first. My mom can’t bring herself to toss any clothes, shoes, or financial papers no matter how old, ill-fitting, or out of fashion, and my dad compulsively buys cheap garage sale and thrift store books that he’ll never read, baseball caps that he will never wear, and random knick knacks and decorative shelf ornaments better suited to the doily-making taste of a geriatric WASP granny than the gym-going, gardening-fanatic, social butterfly and uber-chef that I’ve come to know as my father over the years. They still have broken, 20+ year-old electronics lying around, as well as trophies, certificates, plaques, clunky ceramics projects, childrens’ books, text books, and clothing from my and my sister’s school years. When new stuff comes in, old stuff rarely leaves to make room.
I cringe with guilt every time I think about all the forgotten junk I’ve left in their house over the years throughout my many moves through higher education and military service. Every time I came home for the summer during my college years or took leave between duty stations, I left behind a few more items to keep company with the accumulated possessions of the first 18 years of my life at home. It was never much at one time, but when taken as a whole, my aggregated belongings probably take up at least half of an unfurnished room at my parents’ house.
After listening to Walsh’s chiding, Australian-accented voice for the past few days, I am determined to nip my neophyte hoarding impulses in the bud AND make some serious headway into de-cluttering and organizing my own home. Even more importantly, I am finally going to go to Mom and Dad’s house and aggressively toss out, donate, and/or garage sale off anything that belonged to me and is clearly not serving anyone any purpose NOW. This includes my five long boxes of comic books from the late 80s-early 90s, my old clothes and shoes, all of the long-outdated computer books and text books, the useless spelling bee trophies, the stuffed animals, the random school papers (even the ones with the A+ grades and ego-boosting teacher comments), and any other flotsam that has been left behind. Mom and Dad do have a hoarding problem, but I don’t have to add to it. Maybe my purge will even inspire them to do some editing of their own items.
And if, during my purely altruistic and virtuous crusade to remove my unwanted junk from their house, I should happen to run across the long-lost stash of vintage 1980s and early 1990s clothing patterns that my sister and I left at the house, well, that would just be a nifty bonus.