April 22, 2010

rag time

april 2010 003

Happy Earth Day! I decided I was going to stop using paper towels last year in an effort to save money and be kinder to Mother Earth. We were going through about 6 rolls a month and I’m kind of a paper towel snob (Viva or nothin’) so it was costing a pretty penny. I took the paper towel holder off my counter and put a bunch of old rags in a bucket under the sink. For the first few weeks, we all automatically reached where the paper towels were, but we slowly got used to reaching under the sink for a rag instead. I’ve found that they actually do a much better job of cleaning messes. They can be old burp rags, dish cloths, towels that accidentally got bleached, old t-shirts, etc. The dirty ones go in a bucket on top of the washing machine to be thrown in the next load.

Don’t have many rags? Go to your bathroom, pick up an old towel (off the floor, of course it’s on the floor. Towels hung up properly are a scarcity in this house) that you’ve been meaning to replace and cut it up. Then, take the money you would have spent on the 6 packs of paper towels and buy yourself a new, fluffy towel for your bathroom.

I have to disclose that I do have 1 roll of paper towels hidden in a secret spot for extra messy spills involving bodily fluids or cleaning toilets, but we’ve cut waaay back on paper towel use and just not having them out on the counter was a huge step.

Have you taken any earth-friendly steps in your house?



38 comments:

  1. I love paper towels. I can't help it. They enrich my life so much.

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  2. LOL...love the acknowledged towels on the floor!
    I hope you don't mind but I linked your blog to mine yesterday to direct my favorite readers over here!
    I think they'll enjoy it as much as I do!

    Green in my house? I use cloth napkins alot too!

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  3. I use cloth napkins, and I use the $1 totes at the grocery store...when I remember to take them out of the car!

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  4. I too quit using paper towels over a year ago, I use homemade crocheted dish cloths, made from 100% cotton from my shop (www.kpaints.etsy.com) and I don't know what I would do without them. No more stinky sponges for me. Love the use of old towels, old t shirts also work real well. Keep on posting, love your blog.

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  5. I've been trying to train my husband on this since our daughter was born over a year ago. He has had such a hard time catching on that I drifted away from the goal, too. This post has renewed my drive to "go paperless!" Thanks!!!

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  6. I never understood why people buy paper towels... What do you use them for??? I only use them when cleaning the bathroom, because even though my laundry is dirty, I don't want a toilet rag going in the same load.

    Earth day! Ahhh, I love earth day. I love people being more aware of trying harder to be kind to the environment. I'll have to think of what I could do today to make a difference!

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  7. I can't part with my paper towels yet. :)
    But I did notice an old burp cloth/diaper in your stack from Sister Bergloff! :) She gave me some too when Parker was born. Those were the best and I still use them as rags too. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

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  8. I want to switch to cloth napkins, but wouldn't I have to buy 50 million if we use them at dinner every night??

    Amy, you have such a sharp eye! Yes, those were the best gifts ever!

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  9. We've had to make the switch too. I also use paper towels for meat messes. I'm glad I'm not the only one going through paper towels withdrawals.

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  10. I'm thinking this might be a goal for my family, we go through way too many rolls of paper towels. My daughter is known for grabbing one for every little spill she makes. The hardest part will be training my husband not to use the good towels to clean up a mess! Thanks for the great post!

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  11. I atually giggled at your 6 rolls a month comment. We use more than that a week. I was just thinking the other day that we need to cut back somehow. I will have ot put some pretty dish cloths out on the counter and see how it goes. Thanks for the push to do it NOW! :-) Love your blog!!

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  12. I did this about 6 months ago. I always thought I couldn't do it because I had twin babies/toddlers. But I read someone who had a lot more children than I do that had done it so I jumped on board! Now if I could just my husband to. Me and the kiddos will eat dinner with cloth napkins and he will have a paper one. Ugh! I even stopped buying them and he hounded me about getting some so I caved. I want to have at least one roll on hand for the times they are needed for sure. Will get him there eventually!

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  13. Good for you for giving up paper towels. I don't know if i could do it. I am going to switch over my banking account to only send me electronic statements.

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  14. Yep! This is my system too.... We do have paper towels, but rarely use them. The 'ol rags just seem to work better.

    Warm blessings,
    Spencer

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  15. We have been paper towel free for 2 years strong. When someone asks if I have any paper towels I tell them I don't buy them and I get a look as though I was crazy!

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  16. I had to hide the paper towels from my honey.. we are using rags and cloth napkins now (napkins reused until officially dirty).. Funny looks come from my friends for the dirty rag hamper in my kitchen :)

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  17. We don't use paper plates, we reuse and repurpose cans and plastic bottles, and are moving towards homemade cleaning products.

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  18. I mostly use rags for cleanup. (And, with 4 boys there are many occassions for cleanup. I do occassionaly use paper towels, but not very often. They are nice for cleaning up cat vomit (I know. Ick.) because then I just throw it away.

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  19. Great idea! I too, am a Viva snob (its just soooo nice) and yes, they are a wee bit pricey. I will have to try this, not only good for ME, but for me too! Especially my pocket book! Great post.

    -c
    yapping cat

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  20. You always have such great ideas and examples! This is another good one!
    I use rags for cleaning instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of paper. Also,I bought a high-pressure steam cleaner so I could eliminate many harsh chemical cleansers in my home. I too use cloth bags for shopping and am getting better and better at remembering to take them into the store!

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  21. We keep a recycling bin right under our sink so we avoid the "I'm too lazy to recycle this" excuse. We always have kitchen towels out to use, but when I am drying off food or dishes the towel either has to be never used or I'll use a paper towel- the thought of using a dirty towel on something that will touch- or is- food is gross to me. I also LOVE the reusable grocery bags. Our grocery store sells them cheap- and they are quality, and I use them for everything! Esp. for toting toys and snacks on road trips!

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  22. i cut down on the usage of paper towels, stopped buying bottled water and recycle. planning on building a compost in my backyard. just a small on since its just me the hubs.

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  23. We have cut WAY down on our paper-towel usage, down to 1 roll/month. We go through a lot of dishtowels!

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  24. I made the switch to rags a few months ago and also to cloth napkins. It has been great! Oh, we also use cloth diapers (and sometimes wipes).

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  25. We use microfiber cloths for cleaning and flour sacks/cloths for cooking and most everything else. We also use cloth dinner napkins. So easy to just toss into the washer and not have to worry about replenishing the stash of paper towel rolls (we were always running out and/or forgetting to buy them on shopping trips!). For us, using cloth is more about convenience than it is "being green."

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  26. Good Job! It doesn't take much effort to make a big impact and if everyone would cut back a little bit, we could make this a better place for our children and grandchildren!

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  27. Oh, man, I feel guilty because I just broke down TODAY and bought a 15-pack of paper towels from Sams. After 1 month of no paper towels. I tried, I really did, but I found I was doing so much laundry washing those rags!That seemed wasteful to me too, so I gave up and got them durn towels today...maybe I'll give it another shot- you inspired me...

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  28. Great idea! I have been out of paper towels for like a week and my family has had to deal with using dish towels.

    I'm trying to avoid Costco - I spend so much there!

    XOXO
    Jen

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  29. I started using "rags" for cleaning and mopping up years ago though I have found that a one time investment for bar mops or store bought rags worthwhile. We use perhaps 1 roll of paper towels a month so between that and using cloth napkins for 30+ years I figure I've saved a couple of trees. =)

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  30. Oh I wish I could do the same! I think everyone would be on board except my boyfriend. He is a paper towel junkie. He wipes our little ones mouth everytime she takes a bite, literally, it drives me bonkers. I always do my best to stay away because you are right on the Viva! There is no other PT that even compares.

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  31. thanks for idea and extra push to help good 'ol mother earth. :) I'm a thrifty mommy so this is a great thrifty tip. THANKS! :D

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  32. Good for you!! We went paper towel free 6 years ago and never looked back. I use rags ( cheap target washclpths and/or repurposed cloth diapers, etc) for cleaning and wiping the kids' hands. Re the cloth napkins, I have found that having 3 sets per person is fine. We keep them on our chairs and use them a few times unless they are actually soiled. Personally I'm addicted to cloth napkins so I have WAYYY more than that now. Get all cotton or they're just weird feeling. Best place to get them is target when they clearance out current season table linens. You can get 4 packs for 2.50. Or make your own with cheap muslintype fabric at $2/yd at hob lob. For our everyday napkins I didn't turn and gem - just ram a stitch about a half inch inside the raw edge to control fray. Not beautiful but perfectly functional. These were my first cloth naps andstill going strong years later. I keep one nicer set for company, the others get used daily and washed in whatever the next load is. It's am easy switch.

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  33. Thank you for your neat post on resizing your pictures. I knew about the 800, but never knew what to do to get them somewhere in the middle. Really very informative.
    Thanks a bunch.......
    Connie :-)

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  34. There is a problem with my URL. You can use anything else.

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  35. Like you we cut back on paper towels. We also stopped buying paper napkins years ago. I love cloth napkins, and we use them now. I found a bunch of natural color linen napkins that just fit in our kitchen and we use them every meal. They wash right up and I don't miss the paper one bit.

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  36. Just in the interest of economy, I found that I can purchase cloth napkins at flea markets, sometimes 12 for $10. collectible/antique stores; got 8 for $5.00 and Tuesday Morning had a great buy last month. We use them until grubby or when I'm throwing in a load of laundry. It took a while to break my hubby of paper but he refolds his napkin every night now, LOL, and my kids will recall when they got certain napkins, their Marimeko ones were Xmas gifts from their grandfather and my grandsons use them now! =)

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  37. We've been using rags all along! I buy (I use that term loosely. I stock up on them when Marcal puts out their free coupons) paper towels, but use rags for most everything.

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