Dial ‘O’ for obsolete


You're booked! How often do you find a number in the phone book anyway? (Photo by funkeemunkeyland, via Flickr)

The front-page story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle about restricting phone book distribution was certainly timely: A few days ago I chucked our Yellow Pages into the recycling bin.

I realized that increasingly, when I needed to find a phone number, I found it more quickly and easily on my computer, my iPhone or my husband’s iPad.

I’d already tossed the other two or three phone directories we’d received during the year, keeping just one in the kitchen for reference. But I couldn’t remember the last time I opened it. When I want to find a restaurant or nail salon or florist, I search Yelp‘s listings and reviews.

Apparently I’m not alone. Many people no longer want or need physical phone directories. The Chronicle reported today that the City by the Bay could become the country’s first to bar phone books distributors and publishers from leaving the hefty volumes on doorsteps without prior permission. Consumers who still want the books could opt in by email, mail, phone or in person.

Predictably, the Yellow Pages Association opposes the proposal, to be introduced today by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. And is it a coincidence that also today, it will launch an upgrade to www.yellowpagesoptout.com, where consumers can request or stop phone book deliveries?

If you’re trying to reduce clutter, you definitely don’t need more than one phone book. Pick your favorite and recycle the rest. Or replace the one your shelf with the new one that lands on your welcome mat. And if you’re comfortable finding information on line, you might try becoming phonebook-free. See how you fare.

The worst thing that could happen is that you desperately miss your phone book. If that’s the case, email the Yellow Pages site, and the folks there will be delighted to send you as many as you like.

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About organizesf

Professional organizer June Bell (www.organizesf.com) combats clutter and chaos with sage advice, tested techniques and good humor.
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