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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Paper Doll Cleans Out Her Backpack: Foreign Studies Edition

Last week, we explored the need to empty out our (literal and metaphorical) backpacks for summer. Periodically, it's necessary to jettison the detritus of modern life (those magazines, the piled up junk mail, drawers of ill-fitting clothes, etc.) to keep everything running smoothly. As I noted in last week's installment, just like there are test papers and homework that won't be needed for next year's classes, sometimes piles of blog-worthy snippets clutter Paper Doll's workspace. They don't quite fit perfectly into any particular week's blogging theme, or if they do, they fit a topic that's already been covered.

This week, I'm emptying my blogging backpack of some captivating paper-related organizing products from beyond our shores. You may ooh and ahh as I have, but don't fall in love with them, or you'll be tempted to shell out the big bucks for shipping, or, in the case of one product, a transoceanic flight!

Book Pack -- From a distance, it appeared to be a purse. Up closer inspection, the utility of its delightful variations became obvious. The Book Pack is a rugged book cover for those who want ease of transport, quirky styling and a bit of privacy.

The Book Pack cover is cut from one polypropylene layer, so there are no loose pieces to break off. Books slide in between the portfolio sides and the books' covers are held in place by tabs cut from the polypropylene sheet. When folded closed, small extensions tabs cut from one side of the sheet interlock with small circles on the other side, flanking the handles and securing the book. When clicked into place, the user can hold the two handles together as if it were a small pocketbook, without fear that jaunty swinging of one's arms might send the book flying from its cover.

(Think that kind of thing can't happen? When I was in seventh grade, one of the popular boys in my middle school, surrounded by a bevy of sixth grade beauties, was holding court in the school cafeteria. As he spoke more and more animatedly about whatever 12 year-old-boys discuss with a throng of admirers, the Nutty Buddy in his hand dislodged from the conical paper wrapper and flew through the air, over tables and students, and smacked a young Paper Doll in the head. Trust me. These things happen.)

Anyone who has ever tried to carry a lunch bag, a bottle of water, and a book on a hot day without getting the condensation from the water bottle on the book or having to juggle various items can appreciate the ease of use of this little purse-like book cover, which, in a pinch, one can carry in the crook of one's pinkie.

The Book Pack only comes in one size, and measures 170mm W (i.e., when the Book Pack is closed, carried purse-style) x 152mm H x 15mm D (approximately 6.69" W x 5.98" H by .59" D). After measuring a few mass market fiction and non-fiction books, Paper Doll has realized that the Book Pack is designed primarily for standard Japanese paperbacks and would not be suitable for most North American texts. However, it would provide a whimsical solution for covering a variety of writing journals and small sketchbooks.

The Book Pack comes in nine colors, with three colors associated with each bookmark pattern. The four-leaf clover bookmark Book Pack comes in green, ivory in pink, the anchor bookmark pattern is sold in white, grey and wine-red and the electric plug theme comes in blue, black and silver. The Book Pack sells for ¥1155, or about $14.39, as of this writing.

The Book Pack is one of many products from Japan's MicroWorks design studio, created by Shunsuke Umiyama, whose motto is "No Humor, No Design!" While most of MicroWork's designs, including furniture, accessories, and décor items are sold through museums and Japanese "design stores", if you simply must own a Book Pack, inquiries in English may be emailed to .

BrickBox is the brainchild of industrial designer Anxton Salvador and illustrator and graphic designer Roger Zanni. The Spanish design company has zoomed light years beyond the dorm room "milk crate" concept to create patented stackable elements that can be used for transport or to combine into modular bookcases of differing heights, widths and layouts. Remember the old Saturday Night Live faux commercials? "It's a floor wax! It's a dessert topping!" Well, BrickBox could create a commercial that announces: "Es una caja! Es un estante!" (Well, at least Google Translate tells me I've said, "It's a crate! It's a bookshelf!")

BrickBoxes come in two sizes. The large BrickBoxes measure 54cm long x 36cm wide x 27cm deep (21.26" L x 14.2" W by 10.6" D), hold 4 kg (8.8 lbs) and are the main building blocks of each bookcase design. The smaller BrickBoxes are used to help create even bookshelf edges for a brick facade pattern, hold 3 kg (6.6 lbs) and measure the same width and depth as the large version, but at 27cm are half the horizontal length.

The layers of BrickBoxes fit together with small nylon plugs that affix the upper portion of the lower BrickBoxes to the next layer above. BrickBox walls are packed flat and a Phillips-head screwdriver is necessary to put together each box, but no nails, screws, or tools are required for creating a safe, sturdy stackable bookcase from the modular boxes. Easy assembly and disassembly make this a perfect option for dorm-dwellers, apartment renters and anyone who likes to frequently change the shape or look of their décor.

Creativity is a key BrickBox advantage, as one can modify more than the height and width of the shelving. Options include rectangular styling (with or without wheels), laddering and 90° angled layouts, but Paper Doll was particularly intrigued by the idea of reversing some bricks, such that the unit serves as a room divider with open shelving available in dual directions:

The patented BrickBox modules are manufactured in Spain out of 12mm birch plywood from certified forests and laminated with a white coating. Each BrickBox comes with a packet of screws for putting together the box, and nylon plugs for secure stacking.

Unfortunately for my North American readers, pricing is listed in Euros (from €39.95/Large, €32.95/Small), by country, with costs adjusted to include shipping to more distant locales. If you (likely) reside in nations other than those listed, contact BrickBox at for alternative solutions.

Karton, is a fascinating Australian furniture company that takes paper design to the next level. Previously, we've discussed paper furniture like the inflatable paper sofa, but Karton's line of 100% recyclable, heavy-duty, truly attractive cardboard beds (with drawers!), tables and storage pieces are as functional as they are convenient and intriguing. As Karton's website states,

"Discover the flexibility and convenience of a dining table you can carry across the room, a bed you can flatten when your guests head home and a kid's table that relishes a lick of paint!"

While the bedroom, office and wall storage sets

are what originally caught my eye (especially that Paperpedic Bed with under-bed storage and a load capacity of 2000 pounds!), Karton's delightful Barnyard Method line of shelves for keeping books, magazines, DVDs and CDs tidy keeps Paper Doll enchanted.

The Barnyard Line comes in three styles:
  • The Ram is 64cm W x 74cm H x 102cm D (25.2" W x 29.13" H x 40.16" D) in Kraft (traditional cardboard coloring) for AU$72 ($76.25).
  • The more compact Ewe, at 76cm W x 56cm H x 50cm D (29.92" W x 22.04" H x 19.69" D) comes in Kraft or White for AU$55 ($58.25).
  • The Kraft-colored petite, desktop-size Lamb, at 13cm W x 18cm H x 14cm D (5.12" W x 7.09" H x 5.51" D sells for AU$12 ($13.76).

All Karton products fold into place, requiring no tools or hardware of any sort, and are easily disassembled. If you like, Karton's designs can be varnished or painted with water-based polyurethane finishes or paints to better match your home décor.

Sadly, Karton's very cool products are not yet available outside of Australia. However, if enough Paper Doll readers spread the word via Twitter and Facebook, Reddit and Digg (hint, hint: see the social networking links below each Paper Doll post), and perhaps plead with Karton directly at , maybe they'll soon find a North American distributor.

posted on: 6/21/2011 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by Janet Barclay - Organized Assistant on 7/6/2011 7:31:29 AM:

I love all of these, and I think the Barnyard shelves would look lovely in a child's room.

by Simon on 9/23/2012 7:16:20 AM:

Instead it often leaves you thinking "my computer is broken. seagate hard drive repair The article reported that it would cost about $200,000 to re-key the data from their paper backups in over 300 boxes.

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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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