Monday, December 19, 2011

Do you ever worry...

... about the two big "E"s? I'm talking about the Economy and the Environment, of course.

I've been reading some blogs about frugal living lately, and one of the big categories in a house and budget that suck money and resources is cleaning supplies, specifically paper products. Every single day in my house we use:
  1. paper napkins
  2. paper towels
  3. paper diapers
  4. and paper... well... just regular plain ol' paper.

Since I'm a grandmother and not a young mother there is no way that I'm going to deal with cloth diapers. Actually what I'm not going to deal with is the rinsing and the wringing and the soaking in the diaper pail that is an unavoidable part of cloth-diapering.

(I will also say here that some truly frugal and die-hard budgeters/green people use washcloths rather than toilet paper but that is out of the question. I mean, really, that is so not happening here that it's not even an available topic for consideration or discussion. Toilet paper is required here.)

But I'm thinking that cloth napkins and a big pile of clean, white cloths with which to dry and wipe in the kitchen might be a frugal and "green" alternative. I already use cloth dishcloths and dish towels, but we also use a lot of paper towels. A basket of white cloths on the counter ready to mop up spills, wipe faces, dry hands, etc. might be a good idea that could work for us.

So I did what women in the 21st century do - I went online looking for cloth napkins. But I somehow just KNEW that when I was looking online to buy cloth napkins (the ONLY two reasons being so that I can stop spending money on paper all the time and to stop throwing away so much of that paper after a single use) that when the appropriate category is listed as "Table Linens" that is not the kind of site I'm looking for. And sure enough - $56 for 6 napkins.

I went to a different site and found some that were more affordable that I like okay. I didn't buy them yet - I'm waiting. Waiting to see if I want to make them instead. With some couponed fabric and my sewing machine they might be even cheaper.

I'll let you know. Because I just know you are waiting to see how this turns out.


  1. Yep, I'm waiting! :o) Thank you for blogging!!!

  2. Yep, you can make them for much less. Actually dishtowel material is readily available for not too much.

  3. and if you're not going for fancy hemmed/ironed ones, serged edges will probably work great.

  4. I did a trash can audit awhile back and realized we used way to many paper towels. I cut up old tshirts for cleaning rags and knit some pretty cloths for kitchen spills. I found some microfiber yarn and am making cloth napkins for dinner time. I think it has already saved us money and they take up so little space in the wash it doesn't make an impact on the number of loads of laundry we do. :)

  5. You could knit the cloths fairly cheaply actually for a paper towel substitute. That sugar and cream cottony yarn, you know? And those would be so cute and absorbent. You could even knit them from leftover cottony yarn if you did stripes. I would never do cloth diapers. Not only did I watch my mother scrub out WAY too many when I was growing up and see the stained ones soaking, being unattractive and making a stink, there's another justification. The thing about cloth diapers is, sure you save the diaper materials, but what about all the water you use to clean them? We have to save water too, right? ;)