Monday, March 7, 2011


I know, I know. I should have adapted to this years ago. After all, I've had kids in school for nearly a decade. But I'm still constantly startled by the flood of papers coming out of folders and backpacks and covering the kitchen table every day: homework sheets, information sheets, quizzes, tests. Multiply all of this by four, and it's hard to escape the feeling that we are single-handedly responsible for the felling of a tree or two on a daily basis.

In the past I've recycled all the papers we didn't need to keep (and let's face it, most of these papers do not need to be kept), but there has still always been a twinge of . . . something. I mean, homework or the week's schedule just seems like such a sad life for a piece of paper.

So last week I decided to give them a second life.

We usually bring along little notebooks for the kids (and, well, both of us) to doodle in on sundays, but last week we ran out. And just like that, a new life opened up for the stack of papers piling up on the bookshelf.

Drawing books.

I thought "highly technical bookbinding" was a bit unnecessary for these, especially since they're eventually headed for the recycling bin anyhow (unless the doodles happen to be exceptional). Instead I opted for fold-and-staple.

I folded the papers in half, schoolwork on the inside. Then I stacked them five or six doubled sheets high, folded a drawing or painting (from the big stack of those languishing elsewhere in this house) on the outside -- placing the exterior fold over the non-fold edges of the inside papers -- and stapled the lot.

Took about five minutes to put together three books this morning. Took the girls about forty-five minutes to finish them off.

Fair enough.

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