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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Happy 4th Anniversary, Paper Doll Readers!

It's hard to believe that I've been providing strategies and advice for getting your paper organized for four years.

In the past year, we've covered everything from the Gift Card Revolution to common paper management mistakes, from organizing and dealing with tax paperwork to bill-paying strategies. We've talked about how not to be listless and how to adjust the vertical hold.

I love each bit of research that goes into my posts. This weekend, for example, I learned that up to 70% of the books in British households remain unread, which you just know will help me determine the direction of whatever I write next about decluttering bookshelves. (By the way, what percentage of the books on your shelves are unread?)

Every statistic, every organizing article, every blog post of my esteemed colleagues serves as potential inspiration for a post here. The more I read about subjects ranging from organizing to paper supplies to financial management, the more I realize that there's a never-ending supply of practical, useful material for this blog.

However, it's been a tradition at Paper Doll to use the anniversary post to share material that isn't necessarily about organizing paper, but appreciating it, or at least appreciating what others might do with it. Because, while keeping your paper organized is the bread and butter of Paper Doll's work, it's important for all of us to take a moment to delight in what else paper can mean to us.

For example, there may be the blend of practical and silly, like these Tetris-shaped sticky notes:

And then there's the art and artistry that catches the eye. For example, there's the miniaturization of paper art demonstrated by tinyworldinabottle on Etsy. I'm enamored with this itsy-bitsy park scene, entitled Tiny green tree and a family in a tiny bottle:

The most interesting paper-related story I found this year was a mystery that unraveled over time. It was a story of a paper crime. Or, if not quite a crime, then a reverse crime. Instead of a theft, the staff of the Scottish Poetry Library found a piece of artwork left behind! It began with a fragile poetree carved from hundreds of pages of a mystery book:

Nobody knew who left the piece behind, though an anonymous note addressed to the library's Twitter account was nestled into the tree, stating:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… ... We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)  

But this was just the start of Scotland's artistic and literary surprises. A few months later, staffers at the National Library of Scotland found a papercraft piece of art in the shape of a coffin and gramophone, carved from the mystery novel Exit Music, by Scottish detective novelist Ian Rankin. Yet another attached tag addressed that library's Twitter account, in support of libraries.

More mysterious left-behind artwork followed: the Scottish Filmhouse cinema, home to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, received a model of an oddly populated cinema, carved from books, and then the Scottish Storytelling Center found a dragon, carved from a Rankin novel, snuggled into a window bay. 

The blog Central Station had a full take on the year-long mystery, with dazzling photos, and then just a few weeks ago, the Edinburgh Evening News identified the mysterious reverse-thief and artist.

Speaking of art, we've recently explored one piece by "found art" paper artist Jennifer Collier,

@2011 Jennifer Collier and Unit Twelve

but there's so much more to know. (Seriously. Surf Collier's site and try not to crave putting one of her pieces on display in your own space.)

As much as I love blogging about paper, sometimes I still find myself at a loss. It's not that I don't have topics on my editorial calendar, but sometimes I just don't feel like writing about whatever topic I previously selected. This is when I call on Paper Mommy, and ask her to help me brainstorm a paper-related topic. Invariably, at some point in the discussion, Paper Mommy suggests "toilet paper", usually in a funny accent, and that helps melt the brain-freeze.

Given that, I'm sure she'll be amused at the next item that caught my eye, from MyBadPad's post about 21 Cool Toilet Paper Roll Creations. I just had to share the intriguing toilet paper sculptures that look surprisingly like Andy Rooney:

I can't get over the idea that the audio track behind these sculptures should be saying, in an annoyingly whiny voice, "Have you ever noticed that bloggers like Paper Doll always take things to ridiculous, off-topic extremes?"

Strategies, services, products, regulations, solutions...the purpose behind all of my practical blog posts is to help you readers organize your essentials so that you have space and time for the charming delights of life. For me, at least, one of those delights is the opportunity to surprise readers with something special.

Back in April, I shared the fact that our friends from Rubbermaid had debuted a really nifty and attractive product at the National Association of Professional Organizers' Annual Conference and Expo...but that I wasn't allowed to talk about it. It was:

News about the product was embargoed, first until August, and then until October. Patience, like brevity, is a virtue that Paper Doll lacks!

But it's secret no more! In fact, next week, as we start the FIFTH year of Paper Doll, we'll be celebrating with a contest. I'll be sharing the nitty-gritty about the nifty product, and readers will be rewarded with a chance to win one of my favorite 2011 new products.

Until then...thank you for reading, whether you've stuck around for four full years or are relatively new to the Paper Doll neighborhood. Happy anniversary to us!

posted on: 10/11/2011 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by dava on 10/11/2011 11:17:02 AM:

The percentage of unread books on my shelves is tiny. At the moment there is only one - and it's next in line! As odd as it is for a bibliophile to admit, I have become an ebook junkie to the point I don't enjoy dead tree books as much. It's weird and something I never imagined would happen. Please tell Paper Mommy thanks for always suggestion toilet paper - those sculptures are amazing. In fact, every piece of art in this post is amazing. Congratulations on reaching a milestone! Your posts continue to inform and entertain.

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 10/11/2011 6:34:38 PM:

Dava, thanks for your lovely words, and I'm sure Paper Mommy will see what you've written. I have only a handful of unread books. (Poor, poor Moby Dick!)

by Susan/Carrollton on 10/12/2011 4:06:14 AM:

Happy Anniversary, Julie -- and many more! Thank you for bringing us such informative and entertaining articles each week. I admire your many talents and I'm thankful you share them with us.

by Janet Barclay on 10/12/2011 7:22:00 AM:

You make me wonder if books are like everything else - that we read 20% of the books we own 80% of the time. Feel free to research that and blog about it some day. :-) Happy Blogaversary!!

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 10/12/2011 5:17:36 PM:

Thanks Susan and Janet (and Dava, again). Having loyal viewers (and commenters) makes this all worthwhile. And Janet, applying the Pareto Rule to books might be worthy of more than a post -- maybe an entire academic research project!

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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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