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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Things That Make Paper Doll Say "Hmmm": A Round-Up of Paper Organizing Products

Longtime readers of Paper Doll know that this blog takes the idea of organizing to heart, including organizing each post. Each week, we focus on a theme. We may find ourselves in pop culture culs-de-sac (yes, that is the plural of cul-de-sac -- really! Lorelei Gilmore doubted it, too), but each post generally has a theme -- a type of paper organizing-related product or service or a view to solving a particular problem.

Sometimes, during my research, however, I come across items that are neither fish nor foul, items for which there's no category worthy of an entire post, and yet are too captivating to let pass without comment. As my birthday is this coming weekend, and as I've been a very good Paper Doll, I thought I'd be a little self-indulgent and dedicate this post to paper-related items that quirkily organize paper, time and space, and which, had you known they existed, you might have considered giving me as a present. Or, y'know, not.

A Gold-Plated Shredder

Readers know how strongly I feel about shredding sensitive documents to protect one's identity. Shredding anything that has your Social Security number, account numbers or otherwise private (non-public domain) personally identifying information is just good sense. But the El Casco 23-karat gold-plated shredder?


It sells for $627! The product description from Amazon reads:

This fine, fancy executive paper shredder is layered in real gold with a clear paper shredder basin and fully functional, high quality paper shredding device mounted on top. A desktop unit, the paper shredder can be stored easily and takes up little room. With fine and fancy accents, it is suitable for an executive's office. A fine gift idea and a necessity at the office. The fancy, Gold paper shredder is hand crafted in Spain and imported to the United States. A beautiful choice for any upscale executive's office. Order today. Finish: 23kt Gold Plated Size: 9" x 8 1/2" x 9 1/2"

Readers, you know that I'm all about efficiency without excess. This item not only represents financial excess, but verbal excess as well. The words "fine" and "fancy" each appear three times in one paragraph! The price offends my sensibilities, as does the unnecessary capitalization of the word "gold". While shredders are essential, this item is not a necessity at the office, at home, or anywhere except a Robin Leach exposé of the rich, famous and lacking in good judgment.

Paper Watches

Paper Doll once had a beau who gave her a lovely watch...the silver link bracelet portion of which broke the first time it was worn. (The watch was lovely to look at but kept poor time; the beau was lovely to look at but we had bad timing...and that's a story for another post.) Lack of dependability in a watch band is a serious flaw, so there's some appeal to the Patch, a series of Swiss paper watches from Geneva-based Altanus.

The super-thin watchbands, available in 11 solid neon colors and various sports- and international-themed patterns, was inspired by papier-mâché floats at an annual Tuscan Carnival festival. They're manufactured from biodegradable paper and are tear-resistant, like those sturdy 21+ bands one is given to wear at club concerts or the ID bracelets assigned for outpatient procedures like MRIs and mammograms. The digital LED watches are waterproof, and the whole timepiece, including the band, weighs merely 11 grams.

Perhaps you think that in the era of smart phones and other ubiquitous gadgets, watches are passé? This is certainly up for debate -- in fact, my colleague Deb Lee made a great case for this on her Organize to Revitalize blog. But there are times when it would be wonderful to have a colorful, inexpensive, environmentally-friendly (and oh-so-thin) chronometer on one's wrist. Poolside, while working out or walking/running, while playing with children or working in the garden (not that Paper Doll is likely to ever work in a garden)...

Elsewhere, Altanus charges 24 Euros, or about $33.54 (as of this writing). Paper Doll feels that's a little pricey for a novelty watch; a price point below $15 would have been more expected. Still, they are kind of cute, so if you can't live without one and are willing to spend a few extra dollars, the Made In Italy Mall is carrying them for $36.50 with free shipping. How could one choose, though, between the Spanish running-of-the-bulls theme and the Ice Cream Stick motif?

Lifesized Furniture Templates

Design Yourself Interiors (DYI) co-founders Melody Davidson and Kathy Wagner have a nifty idea on their hands. I know many people are enthused about decorating. I even hear that there are those who enjoy the furniture acquisition process. Paper Doll is not one of them. To Paper Mommy's dismay, Paper Doll could live happily with a bed, a dresser, a desk and every wall made of bookshelves. Furniture is never foremost in my mind. Thus, although I don't want this product, I can at least see how advantageous it might be for readers, especially those who (like me) completely lack artistic or design skill.

DYI has created life-sized, reusable paper "footprints" to duplicate the actual size of pending furniture purchases, like tables, chairs, couches, dressers, etc. If you're trying to design a furniture plan for your office or home and measuring or eyeballing isn't enough, take a peek at these paper templates, which are pre-cut to standard dimensions, and then can then be folded or cut to more accurately represent your purchase options. See below for DYI's before-and-after visions.

@Copyright Design Yourself Interiors

@Copyright Design Yourself Interiors

Cut to size and placed on the floor, the templates allow you to fashion a floor plan with real-life sizing. You can then quickly and easily, without casters or back strain, rearrange the templates to determine the most appealing layout. Of course, it's only two-dimensional, so it won't help you determine whether your prospective overstuffed couch will be too high to comfortably allow you to place snacks on your coffee table, but until they develop pneumatic devices to raise and lower the templates (or your flooring), this is a fun start.

DYI offers five kits for furniture layout for the following rooms:
  • Family Rooms -- couches, including sectional sofas, upholstered chairs, upright chairs, and round and rectangular side tables, but no templates for bookshelves or entertainment centers. (As Joey from Friends asked, "If you don't have a TV, what do you point your furniture at?")
  • Living rooms -- couches, stuffed chairs and round and square tables
  • Dining Rooms -- dining tables and chairs, but no china cabinets or breakfronts
  • Bedrooms -- bed, nightstand, chairs, and tables, but no dressers, toy boxes or TV stands
  • Nursery -- cribs, rocking chair, changing table and dresser
all at $29.99 each, except for the nursery kit, which is only $19.99, and three- and four-room sets are available for $75 and $110, respectively.

For what it's worth, Lay-It-Out offers similar life-sized furniture templates.

They're colorful, but otherwise operate in the same fashion, with furniture templates for the dining room (with a rectangular dining table and chairs, as well as a round breakfast table setting), living room (couch, loveseat, and chair), bedroom (beds only), gameroom (with an adjustable pool table or game table configuration), an accessory table kit (with a rectangular coffee table and square end tables), and a rug template, adjustable by cutting or folding. All kits are $19.99, with a Total Home Package kit priced at $99.

Inflatable Paper Sofa

If you like the design templates above and are curious what it might be like to have three-dimensional paper furniture, look no further than Polish designer Malafor's Blow Sofa:


For just $590 (that's $37 less than the gold-plated shredder), you can get an environmentally-friendly paper couch made from extra-durable, 100% recycled (and recyclable) paper dunnage bags (paper airbags used for security overland cargo), rubber straps and a metal backing rack. The dunnage bags are strengthened by sandwiching two layers of paper and one layer of plastic.

The Blow Sofa ships flat and then can be inflated (to 70.9" wide by 35.4" high); when you move, it's easy to deflate and transport to your new warehouse loft in some chic, up-and-coming urban neighborhood. For $60 more, you can add a cushion! As with Kraft paper or a plaster cast, you can get artsy (or have your soon-to-be-famous artist neighbor in the warehouse loft next to yours) add color and design with markers or bohemian flair.


Intriguing though all of these may be, I don't have a strong hankering for any of them. In fact, aside from a date with George Clooney, a trip to the UK and, alright, one major tangible item (a new car), I've been hard-pressed to identify a particularly strong desire for specific wrap-able birthday presents.


Well, various news publications were abuzz this past week with references to University of New Hampshire psychologist Edward Lemay's research with Yale University colleagues. Lemay's study found that:

"People value possessions, in part, because they afford a sense of protection, insurance, and comfort...But what we found was that if people already have a feeling of being loved and accepted by others, which also can provide a sense of protection, insurance, and comfort, those possessions decrease in value."

In other words, people who feel loved have a lesser need for material things. Well, from Paper Mommy to my friends and colleagues to all of you dear readers, Paper Doll already feels the love.

posted on: 3/8/2011 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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