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.

6 thoughts on “Paper grows on trees around here

  1. My Clutter Nemesis would happen to be mail. I seem to collect the junk mail in many different piles kept around the house. When we have someone come to visit, I grab the piles of mail and shove them in a box. Then all I have are multiple boxes stuffed with mail neatly stacked on top of eachother. What I need to do is learn from you and release the clutter of junk mail. I think I have about a years worth to recycle.

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    1. This is very similar to what I end up doing, but I stuff the papers into tote bags so that – in my “free time” – I can grab them and sort the papers out wherever I might be. This works to a point (I like having the opportunity to pay bills in those little bits of time that come up), but right now I have two tote bags filled with papers that need to be dealt with, as well as stacks of paper all over my desk, which really doesn’t function as a desk, but as a paper-holding flat surface. Urgh.

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  2. I read your blog almost daily. As I read them I think wow this sounds like us. We collect everything. We have closest stuffed with stuff we never use. We have boxes of things to be donated that Tim isn’t ready to part with. I think it is time we make a donation.

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  3. Oh, I’m so glad I’m not alone in this department. I went so far as to start another “office” in my empty room (I already have a room designated as Office) so that I would have the space to declutter and sort all that mail. Now all I have are two rooms with a table in each that have piles of envelopes and papers on them. And all that clutter does is make me avoid those rooms.

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    1. It’s so true! If someone wants to keep me out of a room, I guess all they have to do is fill it with papers and tell me I need to sort and process them. It’s my kryptonite: If exposed to paperwork that needs processing, I lose all my organizational powers and become weak, so weak that all I can do is take to my bed and read Jane Austen until I recover.

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  4. You’ve just written the story of my life – only not for scrapbooking, for filing, or to “go with the photo albums (which I have saved all the photos to put in – some day)”.

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