old phone and address book

Not so long ago, almost every household had an address book. In our house, we kept one right by the phone (it was a landline, of course). We always knew where to find it when we needed to call a friend or mail birthday or holiday cards.

Mom’s address book was a bound book with a padded cover. The alphabetized pages made it easy to find a phone number and address and there was enough room in the book to write a person’s new contact information if they moved.

Even though most everyone keeps contact information on their cellphone today, I still love to use Mom’s old address book. Many of her contacts are still useful to me and there is plenty of room for me to add new contacts. I really like the designated “D” page for all of my doctors and there’s a spot for my work supervisor’s number on the inside cover.

When I look up an address or phone number, I enjoy seeing Mom’s distinct European handwriting on the pages. But in addition to sentimental reasons for keeping Mom’s book, I have practical reasons, too. If I lose or change my cellphone or the battery dies, that book is a valuable reference for my friends, family, and other contacts.

Luckily, Mom’s address book is still in good shape, so I’ll keep using it for the foreseeable future. But if I had to dispose of it, I’d want to keep it out of the landfill. Since it is a bound book, it cannot be recycled curbside, but I could shred and recycle the pages. There are also all kinds of reuse projects for old books. I especially like the idea of using the pages as part of a decoupage project.

I think it’s worthwhile to recycle or reuse at least parts of an item if not the whole thing. It all helps.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.