Paperless Home Roundup

February 12, 2008

The blogosphere’s aflutter following Hannah Fairfield’s recent NY Times profile of Chris Uhlik, a man who’s committed to creating a paperless home. In an earlier post, I bemoaned the superabundance of paper in my own abode. The Dwell Daily asks its readers how they manage to control paper clutter. TreeHugger’s Lloyd Alter chimes in with a quote from the article, which weighs the diminishing demand for paper products against the subsequent increasing demand for energy to power paperless technology. Matt Wood at 43 Folders takes a different tack: while he concedes that paper isn’t the alpha and the omega archiving-wise, he does set forth its value as the “Platonic scratchpad we all need sometimes to shake out a good idea.”

I am torn. The tactile bond between me and my book is worth something, right? The IRS still wants paper copies of my tax docs, right? The ailing art of letter writing forges connections that email missives simply cannot capture, doesn’t it?

Yet I get agitated by all of the unclaimed chart printouts piled beside my office printer. I twitch at the denture care ads and ban saw offers that show up unsolicited in my mailbox. Do I need a ban saw?

And now, I uncover this piece at The Daily Score: “How Trees Cause Pollution.”

[Insert spit take here.]

Article author Eric de Place acknowledges that forests soak up a fair amount of our off-gases. But he also addresses the methane and CO2 that burning forests release, and, given the gloom and doom predictions of global warming–sponsored terrestrial hot flashes, these forest fires grow more and more likely each year. Per this insight, I guess we should log the lot of the No- and SoCal woodland (and some of those Ponderosa pines in Nevada, too).

Everywhere I turn, Science is working against me!

Update, 2/13: Apartment Therapy’s green-focused offspring, Re-Nest, takes on the paperless home issue, too. Apparently, they were successful with the scan-and-scrap method. Plus, they get all philosophical:

So far, we’ve emptied two enormous drawers of file cabinets, and it’s nice to have the space back. But what’s harder to communicate is the feeling. Those mountains of paper, begging to be sorted, somehow oriented us towards the past. These empty drawers and empty space? Somehow, we feel free to be creative.

Looks like this push to go paperless makes way for forward thinking.


2 Responses to “Paperless Home Roundup”

  1. Grant Wagner said

    Hi! I just found your blog today and have been browsing through it at my leasure today at work. I love it.

    I have some thoughts about your home paper problems, and some suggestions. (1) Get some of those small filing boxes. Paper, plastic or wood, it doesn’t matter. In fact, get exactly 4 of them. In one, you store all the perminate stuff you need, like home mortage initial papers, car mortages, insurace, birth certificates, passports, etc… If possible, make this one fireproof and HIDE it.

    For the other three, label them with some masking tape and a sharpie with the current year and the previous two (2008, 2007, and 2006) and in each one put all of your financial documents, including the tax returns at the end. Every new years (or as close as you get when you start cleaning afterwards), take the oldest one, recycle all that is in it, relabel for the new year, and keep going.

    It also makes for a nice party if you’re burning wood to stay warm if you burn it all in a wood stove!

  2. Thanks, Grant. I love the separation idea; organizing by year (and tossing the years I don’t need!) is a great plan.

    Now that it’s summer, and Mr. Living Small is done with school for the year, I may have a new project for the pair of us.

    Thanks again for the ideas!

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