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Monday, 30 December 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 12

Now I've recycled my tree's worth of paper, the last week of my paper challenge is going to be about reducing the amount of paper that comes into my office next year.

So, by looking back over the last eleven weeks, I've put together a list of habits that I'm going to try to change.  Here goes:

Envelopes - I will stop using new envelopes altogether.

Books -  I will limit my purchase of print books to those I buy for my work as I'll be using them again and again.  All other books I will get from the library or on Kindle.  I am also going to aim to give away ten books every month to charity, as I still have way too many for my bookshelves.

Business Cards - I will stop hoarding business cards and instead use my phone to connect to people I meet via social media, either on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Bills - I will keep up my household bills spreadsheet and once entered onto that the bills will be recycled.  Where paperless billing options become available I will sign up for that option.  I'm sure more and more companies will start to offer this.

Notes - I will aim to type up notes straight into my blog, but where that doesn't happen I will transfer them from my notebook or from the scraps of paper I often use, into the blog on a weekly basis. This will be a good way to ensure that I've acted on everything I've taken notes about and it will mean a clearer desk, and I hope, a clearer head!

Every year, when I finish my year end accounts, I will dispose of the oldest set of company accounts so that I am only keeping six years of paperwork.

Manuals and Instruction Booklets - From now on, when a gadget goes, so does its instruction booklet!

I'm no longer going to keep the boxes from any new gadgets or appliances.

That's my New Year's Resolutions sorted.  I hope I can stick to it!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Making the most of the Christmas Turkey

I do love turkey - and not just for Christmas dinner...

Boxing day had to be the classic cold meat and bubble and squeak favourite.  Then on Friday we had a choice of pies - Turkey and gammon with a white sauce and turkey and pork with gravy, both with a home made short crust pastry top.

Turkey and gammon awaiting its white sauce and shortcrust pastry top

For Saturday, something a little spicy ... a turkey tagine with couscous.
We have some turkey stock in the fridge to make into parsnip soup for New Year's Day and I've just put two more pots of turkey stock in the freezer to remind us of our lovely Christmas dinner on some frosty night of 2014.  I think we've made the most of our lovely turkey.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Paperless Office - Week 11

Today I've collected up all the envelopes that have been hidden away in drawers into one basket.  I've got sticky labels  at the ready and I'm going to go through and make them ready for use.  All the tatty ones will make their way to the recycling.

The last time I bought envelopes was about four years ago.  I think this lot is ample supply for the next four years!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 10

After nine weeks of slimming down the paperwork in my office, I've got to the really hard part now, where I have to tackle the things I actually have a reluctance to part with.

I've decided next on my 'hit-list' has to be the books!

I have to admit that I'm one of those books as wallpaper people.  There are books in every room of my house.  I have so many books that every time we've found a new space for a bookshelf it has been full in no time.

I can't bring myself to part with all of these books, of course, but I have come up with a reasonable compromise.  I'm going to select 50 books to go to my local 'community shop' which does a fantastic job raising funds for local charities and organisations within my village - every village should have one.  It really is a great example of how one person's trash is another person's treasure.

Now I know I'm going to find it hard to select 50 books to give away en masse, so I have set a rule.  As soon as I have posted this, I'm going to grab a couple of hefty carrier bags and I've given myself a target  of twenty minutes to grab and bag.  Otherwise I could be there for ever staring at my bookshelves in contemplation instead of sitting at my computer getting on with writing my own book!

Here goes...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

It is Christmas Shopping day for me today.  I have concocted a plan to make the whole process easy and fun.  And it's this...

My sister has a gift - she can make any present look ten times more inviting and special - by the way she wraps it.  So yesterday, I made a deal with her.  Today, I shop, tomorrow she wraps.

I've decided that this year's gifts will be foody or arty and they will all be locally made.  I'll be buying no wrapping paper, and I'll be choosing gifts that don't come in fancy excess packaging, because I have my sister to transform whatever I buy.

In the summer, I had a big sort out of Harry Potter's bedroom (the cupboard under the stairs - in case anyone reading this needs an explanation).  I sorted out all the bits of Christmas paper from years gone by, the collection of ribbons and bows, and tissue paper, so they are all neat and tidy and ready for my sister to get creative. We have spiced apple cake and nice coffee to help and we may even get out the Christmas music!

Christmas is so often a time of excess and waste - mountains of food, mountains of packaging.  But after a year of making a conscious effort to go Zero Waste, I'm not going to let Christmas change that.

My green Christmas shopping list for 2013:
  • Support local small businesses as much as possible

  • Avoid anything that has excess packaging
  • Avoid anything that is not reusable / recyclable once no longer required or if it breaks
  • Use last year's gift bags, or get creative with wrapping (thanks, Anna, for Tip 99 in my book!) 

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 9

Well, three quarters of the way through and I've smashed my target.  I've recycled the equivalent of a whole tree's worth of paper.

Last week out went 2kg of appliance manuals for all those gadgets I no longer have.  This week I'm going to tackle the sprawling pile of business cards.  The pile is supposed to look like this...

... which is pretty harmless in terms of an amount of paper and the space it takes up.  But then every time I try to find a particular card for contact details, it more more often than not ends up looking like this...

So, from now on I have decided to stop collecting business cards where possible and to use social media as the point of contact instead.

As a precursor to that I will be going through the stack of business cards and adding the relevant ones to my email contacts list, and as I do so, sending an email, Twitter or LinkedIn message to each one.