The birds are chirping, the grass is green, and it's time for spring chores. Some people have bushes to prune. I have mounds of magazines to cut down.

It all began, years ago, while standing in the checkout line of the grocery store. My eyes - searching for a break from boredom - rested on the magazines strategically placed to entice me to buy another item. I gave in, tossing a Family Circle into my basket.


Having enjoyed that small treat from which I gleaned some home-decorating tips, I began to linger in the magazine aisle while grocery shopping. I had to have some fun doing the mundane task of buying food and it was a treat to take home a magazine or two for decor ideas.

When I moved into a new house, my innocent craving turned full-fledged. With wild abandon, I tossed House Beautiful, Home and Garden and do-it-yourself publications into my cart.

I was hooked and I became a magazine hoarder. My "problem" caused bookcase overload with categorized volumes of the glossy periodicals.

Despite recycling and donating some to an elementary school art teacher, I still kept more than I gave away, so I promised myself to be more discriminate about the publications I keep.

One day, I confessed to a friend my magazine addiction and complained about the costs of a few which could be $12 or more. For some reason - maybe instant gratification at the grocery store - I never bought subscriptions.

Apparently, my friend - who seemingly shares the same addiction - took pity because not long after, I was surprised and delighted to find a decorating publication in my mailbox. She had given me a year's subscription.

When I thanked her, she responded graciously, saying she took advantage of a two-for-one offer when she renewed her subscription.

Much to my decorating delight, she sent more magazines - all results of her half-price bargains. Since one good turn deserves another, I repeated the gesture when my original subscription ended.

My husband even joined the fun, having included a friend in his two-for-one renewal of a golf magazine.

And the magazines keep coming.

So, here it is spring and, once again, I'm attempting to scale down my magazine mountains.

I tell myself not to renew. After all, what about that glitch when my friend and I sent each other another subscription of the same magazine both of us had renewed?

Somehow I was charged for a two-year subscription - having received duplicate issues last month - and thought I had straightened out the confusion after three phone calls.

But last Friday, as I was writing this column, I once again received two issues of the same magazine.


Now I need to make another phone call to straighten out the matter. I tell myself I will never buy another subscription.

Besides, what about those relentless cards requesting subscriptions fluttering like leaves from a tree, scattering everywhere the moment I pick up a magazine? It's no fun bending down to retrieve them. Is that aggravation worth it?

Not to mention being deluged with requests for subscriptions of publications unknown to me.

Recently, I received a "last chance" offer of a "full year subscription, cookbook, online benefits, a money-back guarantee and postage and handling for only $5.99." Now, that's a bargain.

Be still, my heart.