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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Paper Doll Says "Stick 'Em Up" To Stay Organized

With Labor Day behind us, summer is all but officially over. The kids are back at school and that sense of "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer" ennui needs to be packed away. It's time again to focus on tackling the clutter and the daily tasks, and one of the ways we motivate ourselves is by acquiring new, fun office supplies.

While a cute but non-functional tool merely adds to our clutter supply, Back-To-School (or Back-to-the-School-of-Life) is a great time to indulge in functional items that uplift, charm and prompt greater organization. Today, we're going to take a peek at a few items we can "stick up" -- right in front of our faces -- to keep us in a task-oriented, organizing mode.


At last month's NAPO-Georgia meeting, the product of the month was a curious little item. At first, it seemed like any other small dry-erase tool, not much different (except in size) from the excellent At-A-Glance® WallMates™ or other dry-erase boards we've previously discussed. But this little charmer was a tad different.

RE:writes offer a new kind of write-on/wipe-off surface. Rather than boards with hard backings, they're thin, flexible and can adhere to practically any surface without the aid of magnets, sticky adhesive or magic fairy dust. Our NAPO chapter Membership Director, Helen Preston, illustrated the sticking power of RE:writes by affixing one to (and then removing it from) the (metal) conference room door, the (wallpapered) wall and even the (be-sweatered) shoulder of a fellow NAPO-Georgia member. It was cool!

RE:writes, from It's Academic, are appealing from multiple perspectives:

They're already small, so they fit neatly in tiny spaces, like the interior of the door of your student's locker or inside the cover of an academic binder, and can be cut to fit even tinier nooks and crannies.

They're dry-erase, so they're re-usable without wasting scads of paper and they won't turn into cluttered floozies. Write your tasks or shopping lists, do the deeds, erase and start over!

They're re-positionable, and can be easily taken with you. Add your ongoing errand list on a RE:writes note at home, then stick it up on your dashboard so you don't forget any of your stops.

They use no glue or sticky adhesive, so there's no residue left behind, but because they're also not magnetic, they'll still stick to multiple surfaces, including the fancy new kitchen appliances, like stainless steel fridges to which magnets won't attach. Have an emergency phone list for the babysitter? Store it inside the kitchen cabinet door and just move it to the fridge when the sitter is coming over. No mess, no stress.

They adhere to practically any surface, so you can stick them on the mirror in your children's bathroom to remind them to brush, to your hubby's coffee mug to remind him to take his vitamins, and to a car window, to remind your sister to not push the automatic window button, because it'll make the defective window fall into the body of the car door. (That last one might only work for Paper Doll's ancient dollmobile.)

They're reusable. According to It's Academic's president, Bruce Shapiro, RE:writes have a specialized patent-pending plastic core that acts like thousands of tiny suction cups, enabling them to cling to almost any surface. This plastic core remains "grippy." If the surface gets coated with dust, dirt or other ickiness, RE:writes are washable -- just rinse with water, and once they're dry, they're ready to use again.

Each RE:writes package includes a dry-erase marker with eraser.

RE:writes come in 50 color and size combinations, and are available at OfficeMax, Walmart, Walgreens, and RiteAid, for a suggested retail price starting at $5.99.

RE:writes is a SheKnows Parenting Awards 2012 nominee.


Another new-and-nifty dry-erase option comes from domestic doyenne Martha Stewart. It seems Martha's partnership with Avery has really led to some prolific product development in recent months, and I was delighted to learn of this newest entry from my colleague Deb Lee, writing for Unclutterer last week. (That busy gal -- she recently acquired SOHO Tech Training into D. Allison Lee Professional Organizers' fold, blogs for her own Organize to Revitalize and for Unclutterer, and is on the Clutter Diet pro team and Rubbermaid's Professional Organizer Squad! And she's a mommy! When does this woman sleep? Good thing she's organized!)

The Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Adhesive Dry Erase Decals are, in many ways, the more aesthetically-oriented sibling to the ever-efficient At-A-Glance® WallMates™. Because they're adhesive sheets, instead of a large white board, you've got more flexibility for placement on virtually any non-porous surface -- stick them on plastic, glass, windows, wooden or metal doors, and drywall.

Intriguingly, the flexible sheets conform to both flat and curved surfaces. I'm picturing them on the rounded walls of the Oval Office, or curved interior plastic moldings of a private jet. (What? Paper Doll can't be aspirational?)

The decals come in a variety of styles, both pre-printed and blank. Martha and Avery came up with three squared-off, pre-printed varieties.

The Weekly Planner has seven simple columns labeled Sunday through Saturday. Plan meals, wardrobes (complete with accessories), family activities, tasks and to-dos, and so on. In red and grey on a white background, the horizontally-arrayed planner is 5 7/8" x 15 7/8".

The Important Numbers Sheet is perfect for when Grandma and Grandpa come to babysit, or for finding information when stressed or in a hurry. The red and grey theme, on a white background, is arrayed vertically and measures 7 7/8" x 11 7/8".

I spotted the Kitchen Measurement Chart on a client's fridge last week. There's a milk-bottle pattern with measurement equivalencies on the right and a large window for grocery lists or notes on the left two-thirds of the decal. In a red and grey theme on a white background, the horizontal decal measures 7 7/8" x 11 7/8".

In addition to the pre-printed sheets sold separately, the line also includes a package of all three.

Martha and Avery have also designed some blank decals with colored borders in shapes that, as Deb Lee pointed out, make them look a bit like giant gift tags. The "Flourish" pattern of decals are white, with grey borders. Buy one large decal measuring 8 3/8" x 10 7/8" or a two-pack where each measures 5 7/8" x 7 7/8".
The red border decals in the "Classic" design are straighter edged, with rounded cut-out corners, and can be purchased as large single decals measuring 8 3/8" x 10 7/8" or two-packs of 5 7/8" x 7 7/8" decals. All styles and sizes of the blank decals can be arrayed vertically or horizontally.

As they're dry-erase and re-positionable, you can use them repeatedly (though they're not washable), reducing your use of paper while maintaining order in your life.

To see them in action, check out the video, and be sure to read Deb Lee's first-person user review at Unclutterer, too.

Individual Martha Stewart Home Office With Avery Adhesive Dry Erase Decals retail for about $4-$5, with multi-packs priced at around $11.


Designer Pu-Tai created the Peeling Tales, a combination grease pencil/chinagraph marker and narrative-delivery system, as well as the Solarise lampshade, which depicts the London skyline while mimicking the effect of sunrise through a thermochromic color-changing outer layer. Spiffy stuff. Well, Pu-Tai has done it again (in collaboration with Ayda Anlagan and Paul Blease), only this time, the result is both functional and design-friendly.

Pocket, basically an upside-down sticky note with some extra adhesive on the sides, creates a tiny...well, pocket. It's simple in that sort of "why didn't didn't I think of that?" genius way.

The design is practically perfect for keeping a few dollars, a receipt, or a couple of business cards handy. I wouldn't mind seeing it in multiple styles, though, perhaps double-wide, and in a variety of colors.

If only it were actually on the market. Sadly, Pu-Tai is more concerned with aesthetics than production, and nobody is making versions of Pocket for sale. You can attempt to make your own with the help of this sketch from Plugin-Design:

But perhaps it might just be best if 3M would negotiate with Pu-Tai to add Pocket to the already expansive Post-it® line-up of pocket solutions?

Knowing what you have to accomplish and keeping that information front-and-center is one key to organizing your life. Setting auditory alerts and linking aspirational activities to established rituals can help, but to make sure you don't get held up by all the competing clutter and important things in your life, stick 'em up!

posted on: 9/4/2012 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by Deb Lee on 9/4/2012 12:09:44 PM:

As usual, lots of great info, Julie. I hadn't heard about Pocket -- at least, not that kind of pocket. ;) And, I love the concept...bummer that's it's not on the market. I would soooo use them on my main entry door. Appreciate the mention, too. =)

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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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