What to do with several dozen old National Geographics?
September 6, 2008 8:43 AM   Subscribe

What should I do with several dozen old National Geographic magazines?

I've got several dozen old National Geographic magazines starting from the late 1980's and going up into early 2000's. I doubt I have each and every one during the date range. They're all in near-perfect condition.

I don't really want to keep them, but it seems awfully sad to just toss them into the recycling bin with the coupons and cardboard.

Is there something useful we can do with them? We've considered some kind of arts-n-crafts but this isn't a workable solution, at least for us right now. Would a library want them?

We're keeping all of the maps, by the way.
posted by odinsdream to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Give them to an elementary school. At the very least they'll be used by art classes for collage projects.
posted by sciurus at 8:47 AM on September 6, 2008

Freecycle- someone will want them for arts or to read.
posted by arnicae at 8:48 AM on September 6, 2008

My dad bought a batch about that size at a garage sale in the 70's when I was a kid. I can't even estimate the hours and hours of enjoyment and education I got by accident while turning page after page looking for the next topless photo;-)

Maybe put them outside on a nice day and put an ad on Craigslist offering them free to whoever wants them?
posted by Rafaelloello at 8:59 AM on September 6, 2008

Nthing school donation. I went through dozens of them for composition projects for photography.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:03 AM on September 6, 2008

i leave old magazines at the laundromat. guy mags to counter the 'ladies home journal' and 'good housekeeping' that i usually see there.

i see people reading them. they're always gone next time i go. if they get read once and thrown away, it's better than just getting thrown away.

other ideas - vet's office, Dr's office, emergency room (ask first).
posted by KenManiac at 9:13 AM on September 6, 2008

Oh wow, I have exactly this problem! I may try freecycle, that sounds like a good idea.
posted by katrielalex at 10:09 AM on September 6, 2008

National Geographics are worth exactly zero, because for whatever reason, nobody every throws them out but stashes them in their attic forever. (There's an old joke about how this is a major disaster waiting to happen, as people all over the country put one more NG up there and all the houses collapse.) So, nthing a donation to whatever school or organization you'd like to assist.
posted by beagle at 11:17 AM on September 6, 2008

The library probably doesn't want them either. My library has a complete run going back to 1918, all from donations, and we specifically have a sign on the door saying we don't accept them any more!
I don't know how NG got the idea into everyone's heads that their magazines should be preserved forever--my dad did the same thing.

Giving them to some kids for art projects is probably your best bet, or winter kindling? You could shred them for extra insulation, or use them to line your birdcages, or build a bridge out of them...
posted by exceptinsects at 12:56 PM on September 6, 2008

I've posted on Freecycle and got no takers. At some point they are going to the local paper recycler.
posted by Xurando at 3:32 PM on September 6, 2008

Good call on keeping the maps, whatever you do. Those might be the most useful part of the magazine... give them to friends who are interested in specific areas, put them on the wall at home or at work, etc.
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 3:36 PM on September 6, 2008

Try the National Geographic Collector's Corner. It seems that issues with maps still in them are considered "complete", and complete consecutive runs are prized. Yours probably isn't worth the roughly $200 listed here for a 1976-present in good-to-mint condition, but it may still be worth something (the only problem would be shipping).

The magazine also has a Collectors Corner with links to dealers.
posted by dhartung at 3:55 PM on September 6, 2008

National Geographic answers this question.
posted by jeri at 4:23 PM on September 6, 2008

on top of the elementary school/preschool/daycare donation option, you could also donate them to a college/university in your area. the art department at my school sometimes accepted things like this for use in a mixed media drawing course which did a lot of collage work. or, if they didn't want them, just leave the box near the door with a sign saying "free! great for crafts!" and maybe some artsy students will pick them up. (although i guess i shouldn't recommend just leaving them somewhere, because then some janitor just has to clean them up)
posted by dahliachewswell at 4:31 PM on September 6, 2008

People donate them to our local library, which, in turn, puts them on a free table. They seem to be popular.
posted by lukemeister at 8:21 PM on September 6, 2008

donate to school, if they'll take them or recycle. they're not very good firestarters what with all the glossy paper.
posted by docmccoy at 10:20 PM on September 6, 2008

Other donation options: nursing homes, hospital waiting rooms, hair salons, doctor/dentist offices - anywhere people wait.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 12:03 PM on September 7, 2008

my dad has a complete collection back to 1912.

i dont know how many times i used them for school projects. i would drop them off at a used bookstore, that's where we got all the ones i cut into. halfprice books, bookmans, etc
posted by phritosan at 9:20 AM on September 8, 2008

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