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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
NAPO 2010 Conference Expo Recap #4: Taste The Rainbow

Over the last three weeks, I've tried to give you an insight into the standout products from this year's NAPO Conference and Expo. While there are always nifty products, even Paper Doll has to admit that aside from multicolor file folders, paper organizing tools aren't always colorful or stimulating. In today's final wrap-up, however, I'd like to share a few of the items that caught my attention as vivid examples of how organizing your paper and information can be fun.

PlanetSafe is billed as the world's only non-plastic erasable wall planner. These planners all have the write/wipe attributes of typical plastic wall planners, but use no petroleum based products. PlanetSafe's line is made from 100% (post-consumer waste) recycled paper, organic vegetable inks and a 100% biodegradable plant-based film laminate.

The planners are designed to work with either dry-erase or wet-erase markers, as well as sticky notes. (And yes, Paper Doll usually bans the use of sticky notes as floozies, but you'll see momentarily why I give PlanetSafe a pass in this regard.)

Sure, they have the usual 1- and 2-year calendar planners, and like all of the PlanetSafe products, are made from durable, heavyweight write/wipe material with a glossy finish, and each calendar has ample room to write the essentials. The college/academic calendars are undated, so you can use them year after year, and they're arrayed vertically, suitable for hanging on a dorm room door, so you can view all four months of the semester at once, with extra space for a weekly schedule and notes.

However, PlanetSafe's niftiest, most colorful products are the sticky note planners.

While the boards have ample space for writing one's thoughts, To Do items and action plans, and then wet or dry erasing them afterward, I like the notion of tracking concepts and tasks on recycled-paper Post-It® notes. This allows you to quickly re-prioritize by moving, rearranging, and even color-coding the notes...it's sort of the retro version of cut-and-paste in Word, without a single keystroke.

It also actually refines one of the non-traditional To Do list strategies, The Panel Method, suggested by professional organizing veteran Judith Kolberg in her groundbreaking book Conquering Chronic Disorganization.

The product line includes multiple varieties, including a weekly planner with abundant space for the days of the week, a prioritized task planner (above), which lets you brainstorm tasks related to specific projects, a yearly long-term goals planner, with room for notes on major projects, and a combo planner, which has weekly calendar space for scheduled tasks, unassigned tasks and specific projects.

Co-founder Stacey D'Amico was inspired by an Oprah segment on environmentally-friendly products. She started researching green office products that her husband, W. Ward Turner, could produce in his small manufacturing company. After extensive trial and error to come up with a plant-based biofilm that erased as well as plastic products and a bonding agent that didn't involve plastic adhesives, this mom-and-pop shop hit the ground (well, actually, the wall), running. They consider their wall planners to be the first erasable line that is 100% recyclable, biodegradable and compostable.

The Card Cubby is a fashion-forward alternative to carrying a wallet. Paper Doll noticed a few different vendors on the Expo floor were carrying versions of the Card Cubby, but I'll admit, it didn't make a big dent in my consciousness at first. However, a week back from conference, I was introduced to a new friend, an extremely busy medical professional. When she learned that I was a professional organizer, she began gushing over her new "organizing system" -- a nifty Card Cubby that matched her needs and her personality.

The Card Cubby is a miniature card file designed to fit stylishly in a purse, briefcase or diaper bag. The Cubby measures 5" wide by 3" high by 2" deep, and comes with alphabetical dividers, so you can use it to keep track of business cards, gift cards, frequent shopper rewards cards, insurance and identification cards, etc. If you tend to overstuff your wallet with things you don't need and store them all haphazardly, the Card Cubby presents the option of organizing your portable items more methodically.

The clear front pocket is perfect for storing a driver's license or photo ID so that you don't need to remove or expose your other cards when you need to show your identification (making it less likely you'll forget to retrieve your ID).

The Card Cubby comes in a variety of styles and colors, from animal prints to patent leathers, from faux crocodile to more elegant simple styles. It's no surprise that Paper Doll favors the Passion Pink:

As always in organizing, aesthetics should be secondary function, but if a designer-style wallet with the ability to alphabetize will make you more likely to keep your wallet organized and your possessions safe and accessible, then Paper Doll approves.

Unikeep, part of the Univenture design and manufacturing family, isn't a newcomer at the NAPO expo. For years, we've seen their three-ring case, presentation and high-capacity storage binders , CD wallets, mailers and other media packaging and office products designed to keep the world of work running smoothly. In recent years, their EcoEndure lines of environmentally sound products have been offering up sustainable, compostable, biodegradable and recyclable options.

To be honest, I was tempted to by pass the booth this year in the interest of time, but I'm glad I stopped, because they've added an interesting product that's both colorfully appealing and just plain neato. As part of the Envy-Pak line, Unikeep has developed a 100% polypropylene, clear mailing envelope with a permanent peel-&-stick closure and double-perforations for easier opening. It's 9" x 12", designed to hold an 8 1/2" x 11" catalog, brochure or other paper/photo items.

It's an envelope? That's what Paper Doll is so excited about, you're asking? Well, sort of. In business parlance, it's a mailer. If you've got a small (or even a large) business, having the flexibility to eliminate envelope labeling and use the envelope as a window to create "high impact visibility" of the contents, you can use one single sheet of paper for both marketing and addressing what you send.

Since it's available in biodegradable polypropylene and PLA (polylactic acid, an environmentally-friendly, biodegradable, thermoplastic made from the fermentation of various agricultural products, like corn starch) and has US Postal Service approval, the translucent mailers offer a wide variety of custom-design options for full color printing and private labeling.

And that's what caught my eye. Our friends from Unikeep brought a sample of a custom-designed mailer

that won their client, the Hawaii Trade Winds Management Group, a 2007 PEAK (Print Excellence and Knowledge) Award. Pretty, isn't it? While you probably aren't going to use this product anytime soon to have Unikeep custom-design your third-grader's birthday party invitation envelopes, it gives a great (and colorful) indication of advancements to come in terms of intriguing and attractive office supplies.

NackIt! is a labeling solution that can be colorful, depending on what methods you use, but it's definitely a bit green, as it offers a refillable, reusable label organizing system.

If you've ever worked in an office setting, you know that those plastic FedEx envelopes, into which you place your shipping form, have adhesive backing (perfect for use as a poor-gal's lint brush). Fill out the paper form (in triplicate), insert in the envelope, remove the protective backing and the plastic pocket adheres to whatever box you ship. NackIt! used this basic method to create a twist for labeling shipping boxes, storage containers, and anything else you might want to label.

Each original NackIt! kit contains two dozen 4 3/4" x 6 1/4" self-adhesive vinyl pockets and 28 pre-printed and/or blank NackIt! labeling cards with lined backs. The idea is that you affix the pockets on your storage containers or boxes. Then, list the contents of the container on the reverse of the cards and insert cards in the pockets.

For moving boxes and typically large storage bins, the large front of the label provides ample room for a view-from-a-distance summary, while the lined reverse of the card holds the details. The pockets are permanent, but you can change out the cards any time you change the contents of your containers. No matter what's in the box, you need never wonder what's inside.

For smaller containers, there are NackIt! mini-kits, which include three dozen 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" self-adhesive pockets and forty blank cards (with lined reverse sides).

The system is pretty simple -- use a Sharpie to hand-write the front label and a traditional pen to list the contents on the back, or use a labelmaker or computer for a polished, professional look and adjust the font to maximize the detailed inventory on the reverse.

For those with less than stellar handwriting, or a desire to show off design skills, NackIt! has a downloadable card template that lets you create the font color and style you prefer, and you can add any graphics of your choosing. And of course, if you're storing items for your children and they're not yet able to read, you can even insert a photograph or a drawing of the contents to serve as the front-facing label.

In addition to the original and mini kits, NackIt! has kits for the home, with pre-labeled cards, for arts & craft supplies, baby clothes, books, camping supplies, financial papers, holiday decorations , photographs, off-season clothing and shoes, sports paraphernalia, and toys. The NackIt! office kit has pre-printed cards for accounts receivable and payable, banking documents, clients/patients, contacts, office supplies and tax records. There are also kits for moving, with labeled cards delineating to what room the boxes should be delivered, and a Christmas-themed kit for holiday-related storage. Many of the pre-existing labels include appropriate graphics, as well, to help you see what's on that oh-so-high top shelf.

This is the last of our recaps of products from NAPO's 2010 Conference and Expo. While Paper Doll focuses on paper-related organizing products, this year's NAPO conference had so much more to offer. Virtual assistant and blogger extraordinaire, Janet Barclay, hosted guest posts on the whole conference experience from two views. I wrote NAPO 2010 Through the Eyes of a Seasoned Conference-Goer; Randi Hutton covered A First Timer's Perspective On the Annual NAPO Conference.

I also encourage you to review the blogs of some of my esteemed, incredibly charming, colleagues, Jim Deitzel of Rubbermaid's Adventures in Organization and Deb Lee's Organize To Revitalize.

posted on: 5/25/2010 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by Janet Barclay, Organized Assistant on 5/26/2010 6:38:29 AM:

Cool products - I would love to try all of them! The whiteboard with sticky notes is also a strategy that's mentioned in "Time Management for Unmanageable People" (a great book, by the way).

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 5/26/2010 7:10:58 PM:

Thanks, Janet. I'll have to check that book out.

by Deb Lee on 5/28/2010 12:12:31 PM:

Thanks for including me with such a great group, Julie. =) This is a great recap of some of the product offerings at NAPO10. I didn't realize that Nackit! has a downloadable template. That's a great way to make sure labels are uniform and easy to read.

by Campinggear on 8/2/2010 5:10:30 PM:

Brilliant stuff! Your article is really good, Im glad you took the time to share it.Thanks for sharing your opinion.

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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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