Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drowning in Paper

How many of you are overwhelmed by the amount of paper you must handle each day? (see poll to the right)  I'm not talking about the Newspaper, but rather all the paper that comes in through the mail and onto your desk.  How many circulars from Bed Bath and Beyond touting a 20% discount do I need? I'm never going to open one of those fat blue envelopes filled with coupons. And for crying out loud, Capital ONE, please!!! Stop. with the credit card requests. I also don't need a new roof or an exterminator or a new furnace or "kleen" windows. Straight into the blue bin they go (unless they have a composite envelope with a plastic see through window).

I've already got THREE blue bins for recyclables and one of item is filled with paper each and every week. We live in an electronic age, for heaven's sake. Why do we need to kill so many trees?

I look forward to the mail, but I have to cull 3/4 of it. I have piles of paper on my kitchen counter, and it makes me crazy. I have to devote a portion of my Saturday just to go through the damn paper. Even the bills that I must open also include infomericals and extras.

God knows why I'm getting Vogue every month (Emma?) ( I do rip out and keep the perfume scratch and sniffs, though), and I get a catalog from the Company Store, Williams Sonoma, and Frontgate every other week. I'M AN ONLINE SHOPPER! Don't they know that about me? Where are the marketing people? Why aren't they sharing my demographic with their mail room.

I think I'm getting a little frantic about the paper situation because the 'tax' pile I have has tipped over. I dutifully bought a nice little plastic file container to hold all those "IMPORTANT" papers. Rather than bending over, finding the correct file folder and filing as paper comes in, I merely toss it on top of the container.  Like I said, I'm overwhelmed.

I'm also plagued with decisions about which paper to keep: Should I be keeping my receipts from Tim Hortons'  - is it a necessary business expense? (no - but, good LORD it feels like it.)  That's the kind of thing that keeps me up at night. I hope I have everything. My intention, each year, is to keep everything orderly - but I get so much paper it's hard to take the time and actually care about its placement. Tax time, therefore, turns into quite an ordeal. I have everything, but putting my hands on it is another story.

To top it off, I also have to keep track of my emails at work - electronic paperwork. I tried desperately to sort and file and keep it such a way that I'll be able to retrieve it. And, I keep EVERYTHING. It should be easier - and it is - a little. But, it's still huge task.

Long ago, people didn't keep bits of paper - rather they relied on their memories and their storytelling. Their memories must have been better honed. Modern day (wo)mankind has become lazy : we can write  down things so we don't have to tax our brain with the business of remembering.  Maybe the invention of paper has hampered our brain development - maybe paper has kept us from using the other 90% of our brain?

Bill gets nervous when I seemingly toss items indiscriminately. He's been known to scrawl across envelopes DO NOT THROW OUT.  He knows my filing system is somewhat lacking. Yesterday, I got a note on top of his Ferrari newsletter- PLEASE RENEW and DO NOT THROW OUT. That's one circular that has a special place in this house - a treasured spot :  on the bookshelf in the bathroom.

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