I hate paper (except when I love it)

Patrick Sanwikarja
2 min readMar 1, 2022


I still get paper mail almost every day. Brochures, voting ballots, financial statements, insurance policies, letters from the government. When it’s advertisements it goes straight in the recycle bin, but when it’s some official document I don’t know where to put it. I have opened envelopes lying around everywhere. The other week I got a speeding ticket which lied on the kitchen table for weeks, as a reminder to pay it before the deadline. I have a good system for my digital administration but not when the information is printed on paper. Not surprisingly, I tend to loose paper documents all the time.

Paper is so inconvenient. I hate paper.

Except when I love paper. The more life becomes digital, the more I appreciate good old fashioned paper. Not for administrative things. But there is nothing like a book made of paper. I read most of my books digitally now, as ebooks or audiobooks. But I find myself buying more paper books again recently. Not just because it’s nicer to read a book from paper, but also because some books I just want to have on my bookshelf. I am what I read. I recently visited a book store again for the first time in a long time and I forgot how much I love physical bookstores.

And I couldn’t do my work without paper. Well, maybe I could, but I don’t want to. I’m glad the “paperless office” turned out to be a myth. There’s simply no substitute for sticky notes and sketching on paper. Computers suck for raw creativity. And I still use a paper notebook to record all my notes. It’s not just that paper is a more effective medium in these cases. There’s also something about the feel of a pencil or a marker leaving a trace on paper. Digital technology will never be able to fully replace that. Can you imagine little children making drawings on digital tablets in the future? My daughter’s paper drawings are priceless. So is reading her bedtime stories from a physical book.

I don’t just love paper. I adore paper. Sorry, trees.