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Six Great Ways to Reuse Old Phone Books

Updated on March 7, 2012

If you’re like me, you still get those huge yellow and white phone books delivered to your door every year. With the power of today’s internet, I can’t grasp why these books are still around. I realize that some parts of the country have stopped publishing them, but not mine! So if you’re still getting those pesky books that no one uses anymore, here are six things you can do with them besides tossing them out with the recycling.

Booster Seat

You’ve probably seen several movie and TV characters utilize a nice thick phone book to help them reach the pedals of their car. If you are a lacking in height or are just in need of some extra help reaching the accelerator, a phone book may be the solution for you. Keep in mind that a phone book really is only a temporary solution to the problem. If seeing over the dash or reaching the pedals is an issue for you, then you should consider some of other things for a long term solution such as eating your vegetables or driving a different car. Also, phone books should not replace child booster seats; unfortunately, they just don't meet standard safety protocols.

Phone books can also help boost people up at the dinner table. This is a great way to use them. Just stack a few phone books up on a regular chair, secure them with tape, and set your little person on them. Now they can easily enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the rest of the family.

Monitor Stand

If want to lessen the strain on your neck and raise your computer monitor to eye level, old phone books are the perfect objects to do the job. Because phone books are dense, they can actually support quite a bit of weight without losing stability. In addition to this, you can get the exact height you need by stacking up multiple books or tearing out excess pages.


If you don’t like the junky look of a stack of phone books under your monitor, feel free to “gift wrap” them in plain black or white paper. If done properly, no one will even know what's really there.

Impressing Your Friends

Want to know what one of the most impressive (and easiest) feats of strength is? Why tearing phone books in half of course! Phone books are a great tool that you can use to impress your girlfriend, parents, boss, or even kids with. All you have to do is tear them in half like a caveman on steroids. It’s actually pretty easy to do. Instead of writing detailed directions on how to shred books like a bodybuilder, check out the video to the right.

Fire Starting

The paper that phone books are made out of makes really great tinder to get a fire started. Simply remove 20-30 pages from the book, crumple them up, and stuff them in and around a bunch of wood. The phone book paper is easily ignited and can generate enough heat to get even some of the most stubborn tree branches going. You can also add a little bit of vegetable oil to the paper as well. This can aid in the fire starting process. If a good old campfire isn’t your style, then perhaps you would like to tackle the dangers of barbecue grilling. Crumpled phone book paper can help reduce your reliance on lighter fluid when trying to light old charcoal briquettes.

Hiding Things

Why ruin a perfectly good Bible or Dictionary trying to hide something valuable inside, when a phone book can do it just as well? All you have to do is turn to page 50 or so in a fairly thick phone book and start cutting the interior of the pages out. Leave about 1-2inches around the book's perimeter so that it will still have the appearance of being real when you are done. After you have removed the necessary pages to get to the depth that you want, it’s time to glue some of these pages together. You should also consider adding pieces of cardboard to the interior parts of the phone book to add some stability and strength to it. Luckily for us, phone books are pretty much universally disliked and the chances of a burglar ever opening one up is about as good as finding out that superman really exists.

Packing Filler

Have you ever needed to ship some fragile gifts and had to spend your hard earned cash on packing peanuts? Well now you don’t have ever do that again if you have an old phone book lying around. There are two ways to turn the phone book into great packing filler material. The first method is simple and only requires that you crumple pages up and stuff them in the box with your gifts. The second method requires you to put the paper through a shredder before placing it the box with your out going gift. Either way, you can rest assured that your gift will have a high probability of reaching its destination unbroken.


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    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 5 years ago from Arizona

      Calculus - Hey, origami is great idea. Next time i run accross a phone book I will be sure to creat some swans and and roses out of attorney listings.

    • profile image

      calculus-geometry 5 years ago

      Ha ha, I actually kept one around one year precisely so that I could impress someone by tearing it in half. If you're an origami lover, the thin paper is excellent for folding intricate figures that are too hard to fold with thicker paper.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      wanzulfikri - Thank you! Since this hub is doing so well, perhaps I will write about more creative ways to reuse old stuff.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      zanaworld - Thanks! There are probably 100's more uses for phone books. I just wrote about the ones I have used myself, haha.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      Daniella Lopez - Thanks, I'm glad you found this hub enjoyable to read!

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      Goonoo Munawwar - Thanks for the positive feedback. We live in a disposable and materialistic society. Hopefully people reading this will be inspired by the fact that pretty much anything can be reused for something else.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      brandasaur - They have to be good for something don't they!?

    • wanzulfikri profile image

      wanzulfikri 6 years ago from Malaysia

      A good hub with some creative ideas to top it all. Love how you recycle the used phone book.

    • zanaworld profile image

      SA Shameel 6 years ago from Bangalore

      I used old phone book in one way only. Now I know 5 more ways to use the old phone book.

      I am voting up for the same.

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez 6 years ago from Arkansas

      Awesome hub! I especially enjoyed the part about tearing them apart to impress friends. Voted up!

    • Goonoo Munawwar profile image

      Goonoo Muhammad Munawwar Muazzam 6 years ago from Triolet, Mauritius

      This is a very useful hub which makes our lives easy and also protect our environment. Thanks for this hub and I'm going to vote it up and rate it and above all, I'm going to bookmark it for future reference!

    • brandasaur profile image

      brandasaur 6 years ago from Planet X

      Ohh, Now I know how to reuse our old phonebooks. Anyway, thanks for this hub! :)