Wednesday, February 6, 2013

goodbye paper, hello cloth

cloth napkin collection
Last summer, when I knew that becoming a one-income family was imminent, I started finding all sorts of ways to live more simply and inexpensively. Washing and reusing resealable bags more often was only the beginning.

For years, my friend has been encouraging me and others to rethink our use--and excessive waste--of paper products. Her rationale made sense, but I was lazy about following through and eliminating what was convenient and familiar. However, this past August, I drastically decreased our use of paper towels and it's been a wonderful change! I clean with all cloth rags and towels that are just absorbed in our regular laundry--no extra loads. I keep one roll of paper towels tucked away in a cabinet to use for soaking up bacon or hamburger grease, but other than that, I don't use them at all. Hurrah!

After my mom bought me a stash of cloth napkins for Christmas, I eliminated paper napkins from our home. And, like the cloth towels and rags, they are easily absorbed into our regular loads of laundry and I don't miss them one bit.

When we're at home, I've even started wiping Mason's runny nose with burp cloths that he no longer needs or uses. They are more absorbant and gentler on his irritated nose than Kleenex, not to mention less wasteful, and I appreciate geting more use out of the beautiful cloths that were monogrammed specifically for him that no other baby will ever use. I even use fewer tissues now, too!

Now, if I can just find a way to ration toilet paper, we would be all set! (Just kidding!)

Have you reduced or eliminated any paper products in your household? Which ones? How's it going?


Mrs. said...

That's so funny -- we're just about to run out of first Costco-size quantity of paper napkins. We bought them last February, so we've gotten a good year out of them. But still, I never thought about switching to cloth!

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

Woo hoo!! I LOVE converting folks to the green side :)

Here's a tip to file for the future...when Mason starts school, buy some cute kiddie fabric and break out your sewing machine to make him some smaller cloth napkins in a fun print!

Nine times out of 10 the napkins, towels, rags, etc. are incorporated into our usual laundry but every now and then I do a small load of just napkins, etc. That's my favorite load to do because they are SO easy to fold!

SusanL said...

I've never thought about switching. What a difference that would make for us! Thanks for the great idea:)

Amy- Taylors East said...

Not that your switching to cloth diapers, but I would recommend ordering a dozen flannel wipes. I use them for diaper changes too, but often we use them as tissues for Carter. He hates getting his nose wiped, but the flannel wipe is much softer on his nose. :)

Thrift Store Mama said...

We use dishtowels at the sink and hand towels in the bathroom (unless someone is sick, then we use papertowels). Our cleaning lady uses rags for cleaning, but I just can't switch over to cloth for paper towels and napkins. I wish we could, but the husband would never go for it.

However, we do compost all our food scraps and our town has single stream recycling so we only put out 2 bags of trash per week.

Lorelei said...

I like your napkin stash! We switched over to cloth napkins a year or two ago. We were given several at our wedding and it took a year or two to even consider using them as napkins! We also use those white cloth diapers/burp rags to wipe A's nose and face/hands after dinner. I haven't totally swtiched over in the kitchen, but I do about half cloth/half paper towels. And cloth diapers and wipes when we are at home has also cut down on the trash! It's all going great, but with a kid...some of our pretty cloth napkins are getting so dingy. I think I will take another commenter's advice and make him some of his own napkins! I enjoy this topic, thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

We switched to cloth about two years. I adore using cloth instead of paper. It saves us money and they are so much more useful than the paper versions. I also have cloth sacks for snacks and cloth hankies for when we're sick.