20 Not So Creative Uses for Phonebooks

Haute Couture
Yesterday, I noticed a portrait photographer friend lamenting on Facebook about the irrelevance of phonebooks. Her complaint was touched off by finding a stack of them sitting outside her photography studio. She wrote: "Thank god! Cuz I needed another phonebook!" She continued: "...can we stop the phonebooks already. I would hate to be the tree that gave my life for a dang phonebook..." 

Pencil Caddy
As the ensuing comments revealed, she found many a sympathetic shoulder. In fact all of them were in agreement, that is all except mine. I wrote: "I don't know what my portrait studio would do without my phonebooks! How else would I be able to pose my clients at all different height levels, or help a standing client look more natural by putting one or two under their foot, or for propping up a host of objects. 

For Mark Jordan Photography, phonebooks are more valuable than duct tape! After wrapping them in clear packaging tape, they're the bricks which support so much of what I do around my photography studio! Thank God for the phonebooks!"

The Outhouse (at Golf Clubs?)

To this, a Facebook commenter suggested we "check out" an article written on the uses of phonebooks. Like the dutiful Facebooker I am, I did - it wasn't all that bad. Always looking for 'cutting edge' information for my blog, it occurred to me you might enjoy it as well. To wit, following are a few more, not so creative ways for managing your phonebooks: 

  • Opt Out: Go to and register to be taken off the distribution list for white and yellow page phone books.
  • Recycle: Less than 10% of all phone books printed are recycled, even though they can be recycled into everything from ceiling tiles to cereal boxes. Go to to find your nearest phone book recycling center.
  • Repurpose: As they say, "One man's trash is a Green Cheapskate's treasure." Here are some creative reuses for old phone books and Yellow Pages.
  • Child Booster Seats: Cover them in fabric remnants.
  • Press Autumn Leaves/Plants: Better yet, have the kids sit on them at the same time.
  • Flip Books: Here's a fun art project!
  • Phonebook Chair
    Recycled Bag
  • Window Wipes: Perfect for cleaning windows with a simple mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Phone Book Step Aerobics: Duct tape them together to use in stair-stepping exercises.
  • Fire Starters: Perfect for the fireplace, grill or woodstove.
  • Garden Mulch: Shred 'em (a few pages at a time, Uncle George): they're great biodegradable weed blockers.
  • Origami: Recreate the Tale of 10,000 Yellow Swans with a single book of Yellow Pages!
  • Pencil/Pen Holder: Here's a nifty craft project idea.
  • Papier Mâché: It's not just for the Jr. High science fairs anymore.
  • College Dorm Bed
  • Packaging Filler: Balled up or shredded.
  • Wax Paper Substitute: Use to separate baked goods and items in the freezer.
  • Paper Dresses: Careful, or his fingers may just do the walking through your Yellow Pages.
  • Make Your Voice Heard: Sign a petition to the Yellow Pages Association insisting that they move to an "on-demand system" of distributing directories (i.e., you only get one if you ask for one).

Mark Jordan
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