Bring Old Magazines to a Hospital or Doctor’s Waiting Room


This week, before leaving for my cousin’s wedding in Georgia, I crossed a few more items off my kind acts and volunteering bucket list. I got the idea to bring old magazines to a hospital or doctor’s waiting room from one of the first pages on Google that lists suggestions for possible acts of kindness.

A few weeks ago, after I’d finished some of the books I brought for vacation, I figured I’d head over to Barnes and Noble and get some light reading. Unless we’re on vacation and offer them to someone else who is around, my mom and I will typically throw out our magazines after reading them; although it’s a pretty easy task, I’ll admit it never crossed my mind to donate them to a waiting room, but when I read about this idea, I really liked it.

The other day I headed over to the local hospital and walked into their waiting room. I walked toward the receptionist, a fairly young blonde woman, and carried the three magazines. “Hi, this is sort of a weird question, but I was wondering if you’d want these for your waiting room,” I said.


“Sure, that would be great,” she said. “Sorry they’re a little tattered,” I added, after re-assessing their post-beach condition. “Oh, it’s okay, I think I’ll read them first,” she said laughing. “Thank you.”

Although I thought her response was pretty comical, I realized that even if she doesn’t wind up putting them on a table in the waiting room (although I hope she does!), I might have made her day a little more exciting.

Even so, I left the hospital smiling. Although I’m going to risk sounding cliché, this small act added some happiness to my day.

Has anyone else done something similar or do you plan on adding this one to your bucket list? I’d love to hear about your experiences! 


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47 Responses to Bring Old Magazines to a Hospital or Doctor’s Waiting Room

  1. This is such a nice idea. Small, heartwarming acts really do make the world a better place.
    -Kaitlyn 🙂

  2. What a lovely idea! Props to you!

  3. missybridge says:

    I always leave my mags at hostels for other people!

  4. My generosity from my bucket list is that I receive the same courtesy I’ve shared with the people in my life.

    An elderly neighbor, now almost 90, whom I’ve known since I was 14yrs old had broken and replaced her hip a few weeks ago. I usually stop and visit her whenever there’s an opportunity when I’ve returned from one of my travels. Just yesterday I visited her and her daughter was struggling to plug a new phone unit she bought for mother, then amusingly asked if I would help (she couldn’t get behind the desk). I gladly plugged in and hooked up the unit, then with another smile, Irene’s daughter then asked if I could program the phone then show her mother how to use the phone’s functions. Irene’s daughter was grateful.

    All I did with a smile in return knowing that I helped a friend in need.

    • Aww that is so nice about helping your neighbor. I’m sure her and her daughter really appreciate that they can count on you 🙂 And I agree that it’s an equally nice feeling to know you’ve helped someone. It’s so nice to have people like you in this world!

  5. sow4hope says:

    I have done something like that. I usually do not throw magazines out but keep them because they have positive & useful information. Sometimes I refer back to them but other times they pile up. I had a large amount of them & didn’t want to throw them out thinking “somebody” must be able to use these. Many places for donations do not want magazines but I found a women & children’s shelter that welcomed them. It was so rewarding to provide helpful & encouraging information for these ladies & kids going through such terrible things.

    • Aww that’s such a good idea to give all of them to a women and children’s center 🙂 They must have really appreciated it and I agree that it probably brightened their day. That’s awesome!

  6. DeDivahDeals says:

    Yes, that’s the best way to recycle old magazines, that an to preschools, just need to be careful of the content – lol!

  7. emesque says:

    Great idea! Thanks for posting.

  8. Don’t forget to tear off the label on the front cover though – I used to work for a magazine subscription agency and a lot of places couldn’t accept the donation unless we’d removed the front address label. But such a cool thing to do, go you!!

  9. Margot says:

    I love small things like these! It’s also a perfect one for “starters” I think. 🙂

  10. Matthew Chiglinsky says:

    I know I may be the most cynical person in the room, but who wants to read old magazines? I thought businesses that had waiting rooms actually maintained their own paid magazine subscriptions so that the magazines left scattered about for people to read would actually be from the current month and be relevant to what’s going on in the world right now. How much can it really cost them? They’re a business, and even normal, everyday, poor people can afford yearly magazine subscriptions.

    • Unfortunately, I’ve noticed in a lot of offices I go to the magazines aren’t very current. In contrast, ones I brought were only about a week old. Then again, I know when I’m in that state I sometimes want something to keep my mind occupied, no matter how old or new. But haha, I agree to some point that offices making so much money can probably afford their own magazines. Then again, hopefully they can always use more 🙂

  11. simplykip says:

    I’ve left books on park benches, in waiting areas, on benches at the mall, etc. with notes on the covers that say, “Take me! Read me!” 🙂

  12. ajconsultant says:

    This is a beautiful idea. I’ll surely get this going in my local. AJ

  13. Margo Blue says:

    Love it! Life can be so routine and BORING @ times. LOL. I absolutely agree that doing things like this makes life MUCH MORE enjoyable and exciting! I love your page!! 🙂

  14. Lotus Mama says:

    This is such a thoughtful thing to do!! When my father was very ill, I would visit him daily in hospital in the palliative care ward. Reading the articles from the newspapers and magazines to him, helped bring in ideas and news of life outside the hospital for my father who could no longer see. I also found refuge in reading during the times when I would sit by his side for hours just to be by his side. For the first two years after he passed away, I made a point of collecting all my old magazines and bringing them in to the ward every few months so that others could also benefit. Thank you for your kind reminder that I should continue this practice.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your father, but I’m sure he really appreciated having you there by his side. That is so nice that you collected all the magazines and continued to bring them to the hospital, as I’m sure your father would be so proud of you. Thank you for your nice comment 🙂 I am glad I found your blog!

  15. savioni says:

    Funny you should mention this. I wrote a book called Uncertainty that a reader suggested I should put in a doctor’s office. I don’t think she actually read the book because I can be pretty risque. The book was really about unrequited love and not the uncertainty a person might feel before entering a doctor’s office. But, now that you’ve mentioned this, I might bring a few copies and put them in the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices. My father was a doctor before he died many years ago. It will be a weird tribute to him if the receptionist allows me the opportunity.

  16. btg5885 says:

    Christine, thanks for following my blog. I look forward to your future comments. They are welcome. This is a neat idea and I applaud your “act of doing” things to make our lives better, even if they are simple gestures. It is the simplest gestures that make a difference, kind of a pay it forward act. Keep it up. Take care, BTG

  17. Charles Huss says:

    I don’t know about hospitals, but anywhere there is a waiting room it is difficult to find something worth reading so the more the better.

  18. Matt Maldre says:

    I was thinking about doing this with a bunch of my baseball cards. Although I would have to find a place where people would appreciate them. Perhaps at Wrigley Field. OH WAIT. Maybe at my local park on the bench by the baseball field. That would be fun. Maybe I’ll put the cards into a little box with a note inviting people to take the cards (so people don’t feel like they are stealing them). Maybe I’ll seed some really good cards in the mix too, so they aren’t just all commons.

  19. Bobby Dias says:

    Lots of years ago I went down to Mexico City to learn how to run flea markets and swap meets so that I could go around California teaching people how to set their own businesses. The local and state laws were so that only a non-profit could sell used items, so I made myself a legal non-profit and set up a swap meet business at a drive-in theater to prove that it was a safe kind of business-then I traveled around the state again, this time telling the county and some city councils how I did it. It is a great way to use good whatever all over again- and CHEAP!

  20. I travel a lot and leave my magazines at airports in departure lounges. I used to do it with paperback books too – prior to switching to reading on my iPad.

  21. Pingback: Kind Acts Bucket List | Turquoise Compass

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