The Belgian Wonder had accumulated a lot of frequent flyer miles, but not quite enough for a free flight, doggone it. He said they would expire at the end of ’07, and we were able to apply them toward magazines.Oh, my, do I love magazines–well, I love reading material of all kinds. “A-B-A-B,” or, “Always Bring A Book” actually includes magazines and newspapers. I suppose I should broaden it to be “A-B-R-M”; that is, “Always Bring Reading Material.” It’s just not as catchy. But I do stuff both books and periodicals into my bags as I head out the door.Anyway, the reading materials are finally starting to arrive. There’s more to come (insert giddy squeal)–but already I’m receiving:The Economist (it’s not really all about economics)The Wall Street Journal (it really is all about Wall Street…or money in general)Scientific American(I’m tired of looking up links)The WeekRedbookTimeAnd a friend had subscribed to Better Homes and Garden for me, and my parents got me Runner’s World and U.S. News & World Report! Oh, and I just got my LAST COPY of Family Fun…at least that’s what they told me in all caps with the latest issue.Whew! That’s a lot of reading material!So as I read, I find things of interest and want to tear them out. Sometimes I’m saving them for a writing project or the blog, and sometimes I find a topic that I think could interest a friend or family member. In any case, I don’t save the whole magazine; I tear out only what I need and recycle the rest of it when I’m done perusing the thing.But…oh, my, you should have seen the scraggly edges that my earnest attempts at careful tearing produced. They looked like they were handled by a clumsy kindergartener…until…I grabbed my trusty ruler.Tip #1: Read periodicals with a ruler in hand.The simplicity and practicality of a straight edge is not to be underestimated. Set the ruler down along the edge of the article–make sure it’s on a flat surface–then carefully tug at the top or bottom of the page. Once the tearing begins, pull steadily against the side of the ruler. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll end up with a neat and tidy edge every time, unless you get distracted and lose focus. This works great when clipping coupons, too, by the way. So fast. So straight.Tip #2: Read periodicals with a markerThen I write the person to whom it is destined at the top, next to the headline. If appropriate, I circle quotations or references of particular interest to save them time, unless I think it’s something that person might want to keep for posterity. I do this for my own filing purposes, too, because if I don’t, I’ll forget what stood out to me in the first place and lose all that inspiration. If I think my friend or I will be saving it for a scrapbook, then I don’t write on it at all; I use a Post-It. I make piles for each person until I’m done or run out of time or the oatmeal is bubbling over and needs to be stirred.Tip #3: Stick articles in envelopes. Mail or hand-deliver. Make some people happy that you thought of them.I sometimes recycle junk mail envelopes to store articles for the people I’ll see in person. I usually store the to-be-hand-delivered envelopes in my purse. Of course, I use a new envelope if I’m going to stick it in the mail for somebody who lives farther away. It’s fun to get snail mail–does anybody keep in touch that way anymore? Jot a little note and send it off–they’ll be thrilled, even if they don’t really care about that article on people in Indian slums who recycle disposable plastic cups.Then I recycle the raggedy leftovers and move on.And those, Works For Me Wednesday followers, are my low-key, low-tech solutions for sharing reading material.