This week many people in the New Orleans area received their copies of the Yellow Pages — a weighty tome that's completely useless for anyone with any working knowledge of Google.
So what do we, humans in the year 2011, do with this object that some older people in our families tell us was once used to "look up phone numbers"? You can recycle it: both the City of New Orleans and Phoenix accept phone books as part of their curbside recycling programs. If you don't want to recycle it, consider reusing it. There are plenty of fun ways to ascribe some purpose to this giant thing of paper you never asked for. You could use your phone book for ...
1. Arts and crafts projects! With a book containing hundreds of pieces of paper that are not at all relevant to you, the possibilities are endless for anyone with crafty inclinations. You could paper mache something — maybe a headpiece for your Halloween costume? This website has an easy, illustrated guide to get you started. You also could use your phone book for pressing flowers and leaves, which can then be used to make bookmarks or other sweet things for your mom.
2. Roach (and other large insect) killing. Phone books are heavy and cover a large area, so they are ideal for throwing at roaches if you have bad aim.
3. Gift wrap. Take the phone book paper and paint it, and now you have very thin, small sheets of gift wrap for tiny presents. You could also paint the paper, shred it and use it inside gift bags or packages with fragile objects.
4. Make your own paper. You can use the phone book paper to make your own paper that has a really cool texture and is great for notecards. Someone on Flickr made a photo tutorial with all the steps.
5. Hamster/bird cage filler. Shred the paper and let your small caged animal of choice poop on it.
6. Very small step stool for reaching things that are not too high up. Or use as a booster seat for a child.
7. Napkins! If you get desperate.
8. Pencil/pen holder. This website has a tutorial for a really adorable pen/pencil organizer for your home or office!
9. Set it on fire! (Not for arson, of course. For s'mores purposes only.)
10. Make a secret hollow book like in the movies! Here's a tutorial. Perfect for hiding money/secrets/a gun. Although it calls for a hardcover book, you might be able to figure out a way to make the book's cover sturdy.
... or, if none of this sounds fun to you and you'd rather just not receive a phone book in the future, you can opt out of future delivery here.