I've never had enough magazines to really worry about organizing them but it was something I had to consider after I acquired a stack that is more than a foot tall. The first time I went through them I put post it flags on all the pages that had designs that I thought I might someday want to stitch. I listed the flagged content on a larger post it and stuck it to the cover of the magazine. But I knew that this system would still require me to pull out all of the magazines and check the post its on the covers when I was looking for something to stitch. Then I had the eureka idea.
I pulled out my digital camera, photographed the cover of each magazine then photographed the flagged designs. (Cover, followed by designs in it, next cover followed by designs in it, etc.) Because they were all flagged it took very little time to get through them all. Then I just stuck the SD card in the computer, selected all of the images, right clicked on one, chose print and asked the photo printing wizard to print them all as contact sheets. That gave me 35 images to each page.
I couldn't believe how little time this project took. When they were printed I highlighted the file names of the images of the magazine covers. The scribbled notations at the top of the page tell me which magazine box holds the magazine. (If I were doing this project again I would probably take a photo to indicate when I was starting a new box.)
Afterwards I decided to do the same with all of the free Christmas charts that I have saved on my computer. (I may do the rest of the free charts some other time.) The only snag was that the photo printing wizard did not bring up any pdfs. My work around was to locate all of the free pdfs ("arrange by type" made this quick and easy) and copy them into one folder. I "viewed them as thumbnails" 5 across, did a print screen, pasted them to MS Paint and printed them. It was a bit more time consuming, but nothing compared to the time I have previously spent looking for a free chart that I know that I have somewhere.
Now when I'm looking for something new to stitch I can just flip through my binder of contact sheet images. When I find something suitable I'll know where it is. (For the magazines it will be the cover picture that most closely precedes the photo of the design.)
By the way I deleted the magazine images from my SD card but I didn't delete the computer file that had copies of the pdfs. That way I didn't have to make notes about the location of the original pdfs.