Stacks and stacks and stacks of old magazines
IAM OLD ENOUGH NOW TO HAVE ABOUT 40 YEARS OF AUTOMOTIVE OBSESSION BEHIND ME, AND
THE RESULTANT LIBRARY OF
OLD MAGAZINES AND BOOKS TO SHOW FOR IT. The sheer magnitude of my collection was lost on me until I recently had new carpeting put in my house, which forced me to move all of those books and magazines onto the back porch to make room for the carpet installers.
And damn, I have a lot of books and magazines!
I have kept all of the magazine issues that I had a hand in producing, but there are boxes and boxes of others that I had nothing to do with, yet I’ve kept them all these years for various reasons. For instance, one issue of Hot Rod from 1979 or so resonated with me and I’ve kept it all these years. Thinking about it, I’m not sure if it was a specific story, a cool photo, or something one of the editors wrote that hooked me on that issue, but it’s still there, languishing in one of the boxes out there on the porch. I haven’t looked at it in years, but I know if I was to open it up and rediscover the gem that made me keep it all these years that it would transport me back to my 14-year-old self. So there it stays; I’m unable to part with it.
The carpet is all done so it’s time to do something with those old magazines, but I’m conflicted. I have done some “magazine housecleaning ” in prior moves, wincing as I threw some of them into the trash bin, and I hated it each time. Throwing away old books and magazines, even if you’ve read them all 100 times, is never easy. I’m convinced I’m going to regret it five minutes after the garbage truck takes them away, and in some cases I have been correct. But at a certain point, you have to say “uncle” and purge the collection of all that stuff that you haven’t looked at or even thought about for 20 years. Sadly, most of my books and magazines fall into that category. Yet I can’t bring myself to throw them out. I have room in a storage shed to stack the plastic bins full of magazines, but eventually I’m going to have to do something with them, and that bothers me.
I have tried the donation route, offering them up to schools or libraries, but that’s usually a dead end. I’ve also tried taking them to the swap meet to sell or even give away, but in every case I’ve had to pack them back in the truck and put ’em back in storage.
I’m enjoying the lack of clutter that the house has now, without the three bookcases full of dog-eared or torn magazines, greasy books, and dustcovered automotive paraphernalia, but some of them are bound to come back inside—I’m just torn on which ones.
I can’t be alone on this subject; I’m sure many of you are in the same predicament. I’m not married, so I don’t have a significant other riding me about “all those old car magazines,” which means I’m fully nagging myself about this. I’ve never been organized enough to catalog every story by subject, or photocopy specific stories and put them in binders, or any of that anal-retentive nonsense. So actually finding a story is an all-day ordeal. But that’s okay, because opening each one of them transports me back to a simpler time. Those old mags are sorted roughly by decade, but that’s where the organization ends.
The first step in overcoming an addiction is realizing you have a problem. But in this case, I’m not sure I care that I’m addicted to old books and magazines. They’re a part of my life and growth, just like any of my past cars have been, and with one exception I’ve regretted it every time I sold a car. So I guess that answers it: I can’t throw any of the magazines out.
I know, I have a disease. I just don’t care for the cure.
“They’re a part of my life and growth, just like any of my past cars have been, and with one exception I’ve regretted it every time I sold a car. So I guess that answers it: I can’t throw any of the magazines out.”