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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Paper Doll Talks Turkey and Gets Sappy About Gratitude

Don't worry about the things you want that you don't have.  Instead, be grateful that you don't have what you don't want.

~Sheila Blander Bestry (AKA:  Paper Mommy)

Last year's Paper Doll Thanksgiving week post, "Mom, Why Is There a Receipt Stuffed In The Turkey?", fell right within a series on building a family file system.  If you're a newer reader, or if Thanksgiving 2007 was so long ago that you're thinking, as my friend Laura says, "I've slept since then", pop over and review the information.  I stand by what I had to say about receipts, which will be good to reread before any Black Friday extravaganzas, but I'd like to offer few revisions to that post. 

Gas Price Watch may still be a good site to check before you head over the river and through the woods to Grandma's condo, but when gasoline rates went WAY up in late summer, I found GasBuddy.com to be far more accurate and up-to-date.  As they say, your mileage may vary.

Last year, I also posted a link to Butterball, the turkey people.  (No, I'm not calling them turkeys, so please call off the lawyers.)  Whether you're just like Paper Doll and look at cooking magazines merely for the pretty pictures, or your paper clutter is mainly from cookbooks and loose recipes and is practically professional in scope, you probably know about the Butterball Hotline (1-800-Butterball).  However, this is the 21st century, and they've gotten quite high tech. 

First, you can email your turkey conundrums to . They'll send you an electronic response you can save digitally for future years (and reduce your gravy-encrusted paper clutter).  Just create a Cooking subfolder in your email program.  Or, you can save the email as a text file on your hard drive, perhaps in a Holiday folder, Cooking subfolder.  Then, if you'll be cooking elsewhere one year, your info will be portable on a nice flash drive--no paper needed!

But wait, there's more!  If you go to Butterball and scroll down to the bottom, you'll see where you can sign up for their Turkey Text Messages.  Roaming the chilly supermarket aisles in dismay is a thing of the past with these texts to keep you warm.  And finally--there's a Butterball Web Chat November 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT. 

And never let it be said that Paper Doll plays favorites with the food folks.  In case you didn't follow my advice to encase your favorite recipes in plastic sheet protectors and now your sweetie's favorite is under a sticky spill of sweetened condensed milk, here's a link to various Thanksgiving/holiday cooking help lines and online help sites, including the USDA Meat & Poultry hotline, Fleischmann's Yeast Baker's Help Line, Land O'Lakes Holiday Bake Line, Hershey's, and Libby's Consumer Hotline. (Can Paper Doll get a shout out for "When it says Libby's, Libby's, Libby's on the label, label, label"?  Yes, that nostalgic sound is country singer Sara Evans' upgrade of the famous jingle.)

Oh, and with regard to Black Friday, as much as I discourage clutter-inducing conspicuous consumption, one of the missions of Paper Doll is to save you more of those little green pieces of paper.  So, if you're already inclined towards wacky and wild bargain hunting, check out 2008 Black Friday bargains here and here.  But give a glance to Consumerist.com to make sure you're not scammed now, or when the holiday season is over.

On Paper and Gratitude

Like any good Thanksgiving table conversation, this post has gotten a little off-topic.  I'd like to talk to you about gratitude.  That quote from Paper Mommy at the start of this post seems simple; in fact, in this fast-paced world, it almost seems a shade too naive.  But let's take a philosophical moment and think about having what you want, wanting what you have and not wanting what you don't have

Not having what you don't want is a real boon.  Stop to consider all of the toys you dreamed Santa would bring you, the cravings you had for those sugar-plum desires advertised on Saturday morning TV.  Now remember the time you caught the flu or the chicken pox or broke your leg and couldn't go to the holiday party or field trip or prom.  Think of any tangible thing you ever wanted. Wouldn't you have given even the shiniest of them up (in a flash!) to NOT have what you DIDN'T want--an icky bug?

Then, there's having what we (think we) don't want.  In this economy, when so much is uncertain, we're encouraged to be thankful for what we do have.  From my little corner, the professional organizer perspective, my bright side comes from some new ways of looking at paper (even serious paper clutter) for which we can be grateful:
  • Got piles of newspapers? 
Sure, those mountains and piles of newspapers and magazines cluttering up your home and car and office impact your productivity.  It's my job as a professional organizer to help people scale back all that information clutter.  But, be thankful for free speech and a free press.  The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, among other things, ensures that the government cannot abridge our right to speak freely (even about the government) or infringe upon the freedom of the press.  (To my non-U.S. readers, please feel free to use the comment section to tell us about the free speech rights in your countries.  Gratitude is equal opportunity!)
  • Do you find it hard to be thankful for the tax paperwork looming just a few months off? 
Paper Mommy always lovingly chides me if I complain about paying taxes, "I hope you pay lots and lots of taxes.  It means you're making lots of money!"  However you feel about letting go of hard-earned money, let's be thankful that those tax papers reflect the police, military and other peace officers who keep us safe.  (As they say, whether or not we support any military action, we always support our troops!)  Our tax dollars also pay for the other first responders, like the firefighters who have been selflessly battling those California wildfires, and the EMS paramedics who provide (pre-hospital) medical care to us when emergencies arise.
Even if you didn't follow my advice about corralling those scraps and other holiday accoutrements, even if you've gone overboard and didn't follow the guidelines I set out in Simplify the Season & Save Your Sanity, be of good cheer.  All this paper means you can be grateful you have loved ones for whom you're inspired to make these holiday preparations.

I'm sure you can think of more types of paper, even paper clutter, for which you can be grateful.  Paper Mommy joked, "Don't forget to be thankful for toilet paper."  Well, even if your holiday is marred by stuffed toilets because some little toddler found the rolling rivulets of paper too entertaining,    you have to be thankful for those sweet little faces you love so dearly, and whose messy paper exploits you'll forgive in an instant.  (And if you're a plumber or are married to one, you can be thankful all those little holiday mishaps mean your profession will never need a Congressional bailout!)

And what about me?  Paper Doll is thankful for all the paper clutter, because without it, I'd have nothing to blog to you about except George Clooney.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) 

So, at my Thanksgiving table, I'll be saying how grateful I am for paper clutter.  In fact, this great    Anne Taintor magnet practically says it for me.

I hope this Thanksgiving finds you and yours happy, healthy and thankful for what you do have (even if you have to find a new way of looking at it) and thankful for what you don't have.  And let me say I'm very thankful for all my Paper Doll readers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

posted on: 11/25/2008 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.

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