Paper Queen

Photo by Randy Son Of Robert

I love paper.

It’s a sad and painful admission for someone who simultaneously loves trees and wants to be the best possible steward of the earth. If this were a PA (Papers Anonymous) meeting, I would have to stand up and say,

“Hi. My name is [clears throat] and I bought 47 notebooks last week.”

Truly, I did. There was a phenomenal back-to-school sale and I took them up on their offer. (And in case you think I bought these notebooks in lieu of sponsoring children overseas who go without food, I spent less on all 47 notebooks than I typically do on one. Yes, the sale was that good.)

So I have a problem. I love paper. What can I say?

But I don’t want the nagging kind of paper taking over my house–the junk mail, the simple reminder slips, the scratch paper. So here is my strategy for containing the good stuff:

1. I took my name off of the junk mail lists. It’s really not hard. Go to It takes a few months to really see an improvement, but it really does work. You’ll think you were forgotten.

2. I set up online banking and bill pay. I set up reminder e-mails and monthly alerts. It’s better than keeping track of paper bills.

3. I spend the first day of every month filing what I need to keep. The rest is sent packing.

4. I sort my mail–all of it–right by the recycle bin. Much easier not to set it down on the coffee table or find a stash in the fridge.

5. I do a “paper chase” once a week. I walk through my house looking for loose paper that needs to be destroyed. Amazing how paper multiplies, isn’t it?

Paper is wonderful … when it is contained.

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