It’s no secret that I like trees. They’re kind of my official mascot (if I ever get a tattoo…). And not because I’m a tree-hugger, which I am. It’s because they are just about my favorite thing ever.
Growing up in disposable paper land (i.e., our culture), I learned to compartmentalize this. I loved trees on the one hand and on the other, I sneezed into, wiped my butt with, and wrote all over the remains of a small forest.
You’ve probably guessed by now that I switched from paper towels to rags. This change happened a long time ago, but it was incomplete. I am faced with some stubborn holdouts. Re-greasing our cast iron cookware and picking up cat puke were notable exceptions to cloth use. But no more. If I keep paper towels in my home, they will get used by someone. So, my husband gets to keep his personal stash with his paints. (He’s a good sport living with me.) And I’ve learned to re-grease with a clean rag. As for the cat puke, well, the toilet paper will still be stocked and puke can go to the toilet.
We have a system to our rags and the trick for anyone going to cloth is to develop theirs.
We bring in our freshest (new) towels for baby faces, bathroom, and kitchen. When these get rattier, they get down-graded on the chain: baby wash cloths become diaper wipes, bathroom towels become floor towels. Old kitchen cloth becomes cleaning rags (as do wash cloths).
Our nicest cloth napkins are used at the table. When they get a little too “loved”, they end up in travel kits (lunch boxes, my purse, the zero waste car kit). I suppose they could also be hankies.
I’ve found it necessary to keep the nice ones in a separate container from the rags as, for some reason, I am the only one able to discern which one’s we’ve kept too long to call “nice”.
A Year Later…
This system is still going strong. I haven’t bought more paper towels in over a year. As far as I know, there is one roll still being used by my husband for painting. When he runs out, I’ll suggest that he try old t-shirt scraps and see if he’s willing to make this switch permanent.
The cat and kid puke/feces? Travels to the toilet in toilet paper. Toilet paper has become our only paper product disposable. We use it for these few occasions, when we’re sick and our hankie stash has been sent to laundry, and for guests to use at their discretion. We use toilet paper for its intended purpose, but I’m not against trying “family cloth” again at some point, either. (Though we would still keep toilet tissue for guests even if we make the switch.)
How About You?
Have you broken up with disposable paper? What tricks do you have for us? Let us know in the comments below!
Until next time, keep that talk walking!