How to Donate Old Magazines

A collection of old magazines on a table near a bookshelf.
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Donate your unwanted magazines so someone else can enjoy them, and keep the periodicals out of landfills or the recycle bin. Donate the magazines to local organizations, shelters or even medical offices rather than ship them elsewhere to avoid shipping costs. Check in with management at any office or organization before you drop off your magazines; some may not accept such goods.

1 Preparing the Donation

Before donating magazines to any organization, remove address labels or cards that show your name and address to retain your privacy. If your address is printed directly on the magazine, go over it with a black marker to make the address and name illegible. Flip through each magazine to ensure all pages are intact and that no pages have been cut out, damaged or written upon. Group the magazines by subject, or by year, in order, if you include entire sets of magazines. This makes it easier for the recipient organization to catalog and categorize your donation. Tie the magazines into stacks or place them in sturdy, clean boxes to make the donation easier for you and the recipient to handle.

2 Waiting-Room Reading Material

The time spent in a medical waiting room goes by more quickly with an ample stack of reading materials. Local doctor or dentist offices, as well as hospital waiting rooms, are places where reading materials are appreciated by patients and families waiting for attention. Contact a representative of an office you've personally visited, or ask a greeter at a local hospital if magazine donations are accepted before dropping off your collection General-interest magazines are most likely to be accepted rather than hunting or gun-collecting publications, for instance. A waiting room at a car-repair facility may also accept magazine donations.

3 Supplying Shelters

Both long-term and temporary shelters for the homeless may accept magazines, as reading gives residents a means to take their minds off more serious concerns for a while. Shelters for runaway and homeless teenagers, as well as women's shelters, are likely to accept magazines of interest to residents, as in many cases the residents enter the facility with few personal belongings. Clear your donations with a manager or representative of the shelter beforehand, altering them to the types of magazines you wish to donate as well.

4 Schools and Special Projects

In some cases, an art class or art-based day camp may accept magazines even in poor condition if they intend to cut up the magazines for art projects anyway. Ask around at community art centers and after-school programs and day camps, as they may welcome the supplies. If your magazines are missing pages or parts of pages, seek out a charitable recycling program at a local school, church or organization that collects recyclables in exchange for cash from a recycling company. Many organizations run a recycling drive for up to several months at a time, leaving a special bin in the parking lot to accept unwanted goods any time.

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.