Thursday, April 22, 2010

Moving to Cloth

For months now, I have been reading posts about people that have eliminated the use of paper towels and napkins from their homes. I didn't think it was something that we could do, but I did believe we could certainly reduce our reliance on paper in the kitchen areas.

I brought the idea of moving to cloth napkins up to my husband. He was not convinced that it was a good idea. He wasn't convinced that it would save us that much. First, we would have to purchase the cloth napkins. Second, he was concerned that it would create a lot of extra laundry and that there wouldn't be napkins available because they would be in the wash.

I thought it was possible and figured the best way to find out was to jump in with both feet, so I started scanning post holiday clearance sales for beige cloth napkins. I was only able to come up with 4 napkins, which would not be enough. Then when my husband was shopping the local Kmart that is going out of business, he was able to pick up a total of 8 more napkins.

I washed them up and put them in our napkin holder. I had to fold them in thirds and thirds so that they would fit. There are still paper napkins underneath, just in case we need them, but we have been using just (mostly) the cloth napkins for almost two months now. It really has been easy. My husband still isn't a big fan, but he uses them. Since I already do laundry almost daily, there really hasn't been a time where we were without napkins and since they are small and most days we only have one meal a day at home, it really hasn't increased the amount of laundry that we do. The 12 napkins that we have is working fine for us, but I will watch for clearance deals and maybe pick up a few more.

It has been a small step, but a good one for saving money and the environment. Next step, try to start using old washcloths for cleaning and dusting. I think that will be a harder one for me to fully sell - my husband uses paper towels to clean everything (love that he cleans!), but I grew up using dust cloths and wash cloths for cleaning.

This post shared at Frugal Friday.


Bethany said...

I haven't completed gotten rid of paper towels, I always have a roll.. but my usage is down completely. I use rags to wipe off the counters and such. Go to the dollar store and get a pack of towels and rags and keep those with your cleaning supplies then.. wash them off and throw them in your laundry! I seriously think it has saved me money since one day of cleaning could take a whole roll and a roll is $2 generally.. it adds up. It seems like its hard, but its not.

Niki Jolene said...

Hi there! I am dropping in from Frugal Friday.

I enjoyed your post. With our family it was much easier to do without paper towels. We have been using dish rags (bought in large packs from Walmart) and microfiber cloths for cleaning. I cannot sell myself on the napkins though. I just can't find enough of them cheap.

Stop by and see me when you get a chance over at Free 2 Be Frugal.


Amy -Cutting Coupons in KC said...

We have been using cloth napkins for almost a year now. Here is what I did:

David said...

where is busy mom???money saving tips

Mom2fur said...

Good for you! I've found some great buys on napkins at Target and I've made a few of my own, too. They really don't add much to the laundry since you can just throw them in with other things.
My husband is another one I can't get on board with cloth napkins. I think he thinks they are a 'snob' thing that only rich people do, LOL! But he'll come around someday, I'm sure.
BTW, never throw out old t-shirts or socks--they make great cleaning and dusting rags!

Unknown said...

I have purchased a bunch of cloth napkins at our local goodwill store. 4 for $1 is my kind of price!

We use our cloth napkins 2-3 meals usually. It's mostly our little guy's that gets put through the wash the most!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to reinforce the ideas listed. My source of cloth napkins has been yard sales, thrift stores, and some that I made myself. Although I don't have any napkins in a solid color, my collection includes 12 each for spring, fall, and 16 for Christmas (8 of them homemade). I think I will try to remember to look for some solid color napkins (preferably a dark color; I think stains would show too much on lighter colors).
Thanks all for sharing your ideas.