This week the challenge is to reduce the amount of paper products we use in the house. For an entire week we have been asked to banish paper towels and napkins from our lives. To learn more about this challenge read today’s post from Reduce Footprints.
This may seem like a very difficult challenge to tackle, but don’t fear there are plenty of ways to get along just fine without them.
I haven’t had paper towels or napkins in my home for many years. I will share with you how I made that possible. Here’s a look at some of the napkins I use.
These are just a couple of the cloth napkins I have on hand. The blue ones I received free when purchasing a gift from a local pewter company, and the two in the front are cross stitch patterns. Everyone has a favorite fabric or design so having a wide assortment of textures works well for me.
This next one was a bread cloth I made using cross stitch. When invited to dinner I would make a loaf of bread and line a pretty basket with this cloth then wrap around the bread. It was a lovely way of presenting it to the host, but also a plastic free way of storing the bread. It has been adopted by my grand-daughter as her favorite napkin.
Instead of keeping my silverware in the only kitchen drawer, I store among other things the napkins, right in front so they are handy and easily accessible to the little ones.
That takes care of napkins, but what about paper towels? Here is my basket of rags.
Being that my apartment is small, I only have one basket of rags any longer, which is stored under the vanity in the bathroom.
My rags came from many sources, none of them store-bought, here are just a few ways my basket grew.
- old clothes too worn to donate or create something new out of.
- towels so stained or having holes in them (which are great for soaking up larger spills)
- sheets which were worn badly enough to have “developed” holes in them or so stained I was embarrassed to have them on the bed.
Don’t have a basket of rags or old sheets you can cut up? Not to worry there are plenty of other ways to build an instant rag collection.
- If you have a local thrift store, ask them for clothes which are so soiled they won’t sell them. These items go directly into the trash. While it’s great to pass on what we no longer need, they need to be in a condition worthy of continued use. The thrift store would be happy to let you go through the donations they can’t use.
- Yard sales, many people offer a bag of clothing for a small amount, such as $2. Often times clothes weren’t inspected in proper lighting in preparing for the yard sale and once in the light of day will show obvious stains or holes. Feel free to ask for these or offer less than what they are asking.
- Ask family and friends if they have items they plan to toss out, you’d be surprised how many have a towel they can’t stand because it is frayed and would be glad to pass it on to you.
- Look again at your own cabinets. How many towels do you have that never get used? If you have even one or two it will be enough to get your started. Simply cut them into different sized pieces, to accomm0date different tasks.
- Don’t limit the fabrics you are willing to clean with. Crafters/quilters will often have scraps they no longer want.
If your home is larger than mine is, most are, it is easy to stash a bag or basket in a small corner of a cabinet filled with rags, just make sure they aren’t too hard to get to or you won’t use them.
Once you make the switch you may wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. You will no longer need to check before shopping to make sure you have enough paper towels or napkins, it will save headaches and quite a bit of money.
Do you still use paper towels? Have you considered switching?