After a solid week of seeking and hearing advice -both bad and good- re: "What To Do" re: collected railroad and railroad-hobby periodicals and paper ephemera here is what I did and why:
1) Everything year 2000 forward was fair game, at least this time around. The previous decade may go on the block next.
2) Each publication would be evaluated broadly for "value-received" (as I now do routinely now each year at renewal time with ALL periodicals and publications). With regard to those periodicals already paid for and received, this exercise consisted of a cold evaluation of a) Have I ever yet looked back at any of these issues, or wished that I could?; and 2) Is there anything is contents that I cannot do without, or cannot get either on line or from friends, or from the library just down the street? Are there printed plans.....?
3) If publications are to go on the discard pile, are there likely local recipients, free or otherwise. If so, would these same recipients be willing to accept them FOB; and if FOB, now; not next week. At almost 77 years, I no longer am handy, or willing to be handy hauling these around town, much less carrying them boxed, two handed, down flights of stairs.
4) Almost all periodicals 2008 forwards were to be kept for the time being. However, some critical assessment will continue as to whether I indeed need volumes that far back, or even more than just a year ago. At least one popular periodical will now be going directly into the discard soon after each issue. It may not be renewed.
Well, I struck out. No recipients, willing or otherwise. As a result, with a few exceptions, all went into the recycle. I did leaf through them first, or at least through the table of contents. I did tear out plans (rare birds 2001 forward, however), and a few good articles (not excluding an excellent article on a Brass Corn Field by Bill D.).
I was flummoxed by an excellent two part article on kit-bashing the B&O National Limited (Bob Chapman), when I found it to share back-to-back pages with some guy flogging a layout that ran through Buford, WY. Knowing that the owner probably had boxes (boxes!) of bronzed copies of this same article under his layout just waiting to be handed out, I felt safe placing the original on the discard pile.
The problem with cutting out articles for future reference is that they represent only your particular interests and inclinations at the time, not what your interests and inclinations might be at some future date when by serendipity you discover that you saved articles that have no relevance to current needs.
You cannot win for losing!
Denny S. Anspach MD