Paper grows on trees around here

Paper Weaving
Photo by FeatheredTar

David says that I have an addiction to wood products. If you can make it out of wood, I can’t get enough. You’ve heard about my many linear feet of books and my baskets and piles of magazines, but here today we shall be looking at wood products in their most basic form: paper.

Ah, yes. Paper, glorious paper. My old nemesis. Paper bands itself together into piles and sneaks up on me wherever it finds a flat surface, a spare dishpan, or a tote bag. I fight back, but there is only so much I can do before it has me surrounded. It comes in many disguises:

  • Newspaper. I have to cancel it when the pile I have not yet read (“processed,” really, much like the magazines, although I don’t usually save the clippings) exceeds the allotted space on the end table which holds it.
  • Clippings / Interesting stuff. Why, I ask you, do I save this? Why do I have file folders filled with every interesting thing I have ever read? Because I am in love, I tell you, with the written word, and parting with any words I found particularly good is tough.
  • Memorabilia. I have letters people have written me, dating back to grade school. Greeting cards, if they have more than just “Love, Aunt Jane” written in them. Homework Quinland has done. Classwork (read “busywork”) Quinland has done. Virtually every painting or drawing Quinland has done. Homework and artwork I did back in the day. Certificates, brochures, ticket stubs… you name it. All of it is earmarked as scrapbook fodder. As I have turned memorabilia into scrapbooks, I have found it easy to cull what will not fit and let it go, but not before that. Until I actually scrap the page, I feel a need to hang on to all that possibility.
  • Greeting cards. New ones. Unused. Ready to be sent. I do use them; I just don’t use them fast enough. I have slowed the influx tremendously, but the backlog is astounding. I have a cabinet in the office filled with nothing but greeting cards, and I have already donated a bunch to the local senior center.
  • Blank books. You know, journals, sketchbooks, etc. I have an entire drawer filled with them. (Why? Because back when I was a compulsive shopper, I found the particular kind I liked and bought all I could find in case I could never find them again. I don’t do that kind of thing any more. Most of the new and unused stuff you hear about here was bought at that time, not recently.)
  • Old bills and receipts. I am slowly culling out the seriously old stuff, though it is itching to be transformed into memorabilia. I started using the Freedom Filer system about three years ago and it has really helped me to let go of old receipts.
  • Stationery in general. Talk about paper in its most basic form – I’ve got it. Binder paper. Copy paper. Cardstock. Graph paper. Story paper with the space at the top for a drawing. Notepads (a desk drawer full). Fancy stationery with matching envelopes. Index cards (a shoebox full). Post it notes (a shoebox not-quite-full). Labels (another desk drawer full). File folders. Hanging file folders. Mailing envelopes.

Sigh.  I know that facing one’s problems is half the battle, but when I see it all in print like this, it looks simultaneously hopeless and ridiculous.  I guess I have to take heart and trust that this is a good first step.  I’ll release some paper clutter tonight and see if that feels better.

Do you have troubles with paper?  What is your clutter nemesis?

  • {Clutter} released: One big stack of cardstock and a stack of story paper from the playroom / soon-to-be scrapbook room.

A portrait of the closet as a time capsule

(Yes, I read a bit of Joyce while preparing to study overseas in Dublin, back when I was in college…)

back lit closet
Photo by Darwin Bell

In my closet, hanging ever so neatly, are the following:

  • Clothes in my present size that I wear;
  • Clothes in my present size that I never wear but for some reason still keep;
  • Clothes in the next size smaller;
  • Clothes in the size smaller than that;
  • “Historical” clothing (dresses of my mom’s from the 60’s, Q’s First Communion dress, dirndls from Germany);
  • “Memorabilia” clothing (the fisherman’s sweater I knit at 21 in Ireland, staff uniform sweatshirts from AFRC Chiemsee, some favorite items from college and just-married days).

What is up with that?  Does everyone do it?  What percentage of the clothes in your closet do you actually wear?

  • {Clutter} released: One striped shirt.  It was a busy day and I just grabbed something out of a drawer.  Still, every little bit counts!

Collection collectors

CD collection
Photo by Daveybot

Yesterday’s post about my book collections got me thinking about all the collections David and I have.  As I mentioned, I collect books:

  • Books by and about Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Books by L.M. Montgomery
  • Hardcover editions of Little Women
  • Newbery Award and Newbery Honor books
  • Books about Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery
  • Books about the Civil War
  • Antique schoolbooks (primers, readers, spellers, etc.)

David collects books, too:

  • Books about Germany (he was a German Studies major and a German teacher)
  • Art history books, especially German expressionism
  • Books about the Holocaust
  • Books about bands
  • Music reference books (about bands, albums, music charts, etc.)

David has many other collections:

  • 80s and 90s alternative record albums (and 12″ and 7″ singles, too!)
  • 80s-00s Alternative CDs
  • European-style strategy board games

There is such a fine line between a collection and a stockpile.  I have stockpiles of all kinds of things:

  • Scrapbook supplies
  • Sewing/needlework supplies
  • Greeting cards
  • Books about health, about fitness, about parenting, about organizing, about clutter, about travel, about religion, about writing, about scrapbooking, about various and sundry science and social studies topics… this list could go on and on.  I own a lot of books, and most are non-fiction.
  • Toiletries (yes, a stockpile of ’em)
  • Candles (which I rarely burn)
  • Office supplies
  • Organizing containers

It is the stockpiles that I need to get rid of.  I have been trying to use up the consumable ones, but I can only use up so much in my lifetime, I know!  I need to make some decisions:

  1. How often am I going to use this stuff?
  2. How much of this stuff can I use in one sitting?
  3. How much, then, do I need to keep?

Then I need to get rid of the excess.  Wish me luck!

  • {Clutter} released: Three pairs of black shoes, a red tote bag, and a zillion ball point pens.