Drowning in Paper

It’s a sad realization about the state of my living room that I can remove an entire garbage bag stuffed full of papers, magazines, catalogs, etc. for recycling, then look at the room and realize I can’t even see a difference.

Most of those papers? Stuff sent home by the schools. Seems like Cordy’s backpack has a handful of papers stuffed into it each day, most of which is not-all-that relevant and could have been consolidated into fewer papers by using a font that wasn’t so big my 89-year-old grandmother could read it without her glasses. Or, you know, that new little technology we have called e-mail.

Let’s not forget all of the art projects that come home, too. Disclaimer: I love my children and cherish their creative spirits. With that said, I no longer feel guilty about throwing out some of those masterpieces. My mom has already given me grief for not saving every piece of art (apparently she has boxes of mine somewhere that I’m sure she’s just waiting to dump on me whenever I feel like I’ve finally organized my house) but let me give one example of what I’m up against.

Cordy has seven sketch books from when she was three years old, all completely filled with drawings. Seven. And due to her affection for routine and repetition, they’re all filled with THE SAME IMAGE ON EACH PAGE. Do we really need seven books filled with the same drawing, only in different colors? Will we really look back, years from now, and try to gain artistic meaning from why one drawing had more spikey hair while the other had less angles and more curves for the hair? And that’s just from three years old.

And despite my Inbox being stuffed with online coupons and special sale offers, I still get a tremendous amount of catalogs. Of course, the holidays are nearly here, so I fully expect my daily catalog quota to triple in the next few weeks. Most go directly into the recycling before they ever touch a countertop, along with the regular credit card offers and other junk mail that keeps the USPS from raising our stamp prices sooner. (Seriously, I’d rant about all of the wasted paper for junk mail, but I am glad it keeps our mailman in a job.)

I’ve tried organizing everything, but it never lasts long. My organizers are quickly filled up and new folders are needed for things I never thought of. Maybe I should be asking for a giant corporate filing cabinet for Christmas? But where would I put it?

It’s 2009, people. Why is there still so much paper cluttering up our lives? Where are our digital classrooms? Where are the paperless offices? And a little off topic: where is my flying car?

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  1. No joke.

    My favorite day from public school paperwork: One sheet (in a bright color) from the RECYCLING CLUB asking us to please recycle, reuse, reduce, etc. And to please use both sides of each paper… This was printed on TWO SHEETS. One-sided.

    I absolutely didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  2. Jonn Baca says:

    Your flying car is most likely in same place as my laser gun.

  3. don’t feel bad about tossing the art projects-trust me.

  4. I was promised flying cars!

  5. I love this post. So much that I even linked to it from my blog. Because I can’t seem to let go of the art projects…and it’s gotten infinitely worse with the start of preschool this year.

  6. I can’t help it….I keep so many things because it’s just slipping through my fingers so quickly. Yesterday, she painted a puffball snowmom. Today, she wants a cell phone.

  7. OMG, with the sketchbooks! We have dozens of note books filled with car drawings. And that doesn’t count the ones I’ve already tossed. Every time I come here I see similarities btw Cordy and Pumpkin (we are still without a diagnosis, but we’re working on it).

    Our school tries to send a lot of those at home notices via email, but very often we still get duplicates in each of the boys’ folders.

  8. I read a great idea somewhere to take digital photos of your children’s artwork. Keep your favorite ones, but photograph the rest. That way you can keep tons without actually keeping the papers and look back at them later.

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