I have always been a fan of Southern Living magazine, for no other reason at first than that I truly believed I would grow up to exemplify Southern hospitality, charm and style.  I believed I would grow tomatoes and hydrangeas equally, and that my decorating and entertaining skills would be unparalleled.  I would cook and clean and mother and love everything and everyone, all while holding down a full-time job, where I would bring coffee and home-baked pastries to all my dear coworkers…daily.

Can you see the giant “S” on my chest?  What was I thinking?!!?  I was setting myself up to be Snow White on steroids. Confession:  I didn’t turn out like I imagined (so you can stop gagging now.)

OK, despite the dream, Dom got me my first subscription to Southern Living as soon as we bought our house.  And he has kept it going for ten years.  I do so enjoy reading all the gardening advice and the recipes.  There are such good ideas in each issue.

Sometime around, oh-I-don’t-know 2001 or so, the feature recipe was a watermelon sorbet.  At the time I decided that the sorbet would be a great dessert to serve at a summer work meeting.  So I dog-eared the page and put the magazine in a pile.  (One of those infamous piles Dom has begged me a thousand times to stop making.) As it turns out, I did not buy a watermelon in 2001. I think I was too busy raising a toddler and growing another embryo.  Life… Go figure.

Fast forward to sometime around 2009 when I finally realized I could stop eagle-eyeing my kids to make sure they didn’t bust their heads open on a table ledge or the brick hearth, and I finally bought a watermelon.  Then I wondered what in the world I was going to do with all that fruit.  I remembered the summer sorbet recipe and immediately went on the hunt for it.  What I found was a stack of Southern Living magazines containing every issue published over the previous nine years.  Great.  Which issue was it, again? 

As I rummaged through about 117 magazines, including the special issues that come out during the summer months (yes, really) I realized I needed to get a grip on my magazine love.  I could not find the sorbet recipe to save my life.  I could sense the watermelon giving up on me.  Sadly, I had just fallen in love with a second magazine, Health, and had begun a collection of about 7 issues.  I could already see the danger ahead.  I would end up on Hoarders by the time I hit 45.

So I gathered my magazines, some post it notes and our recycling bin and began to isolate pages I wanted to keep from any issue that was more than two months old.  I tore them out, sorted them into neat little piles, and tossed the remaining bones of the mags into the recycling bin.  The neat little piles strategically went into a divided file jacket with 5 pockets. 

Mischief managed!

Except that post it notes are cumbersome, and I still had to rifle through the mag to find exactly what I thought I had seen.  So I got this idea: page flags in various colors to signify specific topics.  I found these at WalMart and wrote on the back so I can remember what my categories are. 

Now, as I’m perusing a new mag for the first time, I slap an appropriate page flag on whatever I find appealing.  Recipes get the yellow flag; Blue is for exercise, health and medical issues that I need to be mindful of or blog about; green is for the great outdoors; pink signifies decorating ideas and orange is for specific products that I want to find locally or online.  I will leave the magazine intact for just a couple of months.  But when I see a third mag arrive in the mailbox, then it’s time to disassemble the oldest magazine, saving only the pages with flags on them.  The flagged pages can then go into the appropriate file, like so:

 And voila!  Now anytime I think to myself, “Didn’t I see that in a magazine?”  I can go straight to this file jacket and pull out the article. 

That is, if I deemed it important in the first place.  😉