parenting · Saving the Environment

How my family ditched paper towels

I always believe that buying in bulk saves money. We used to buy the biggest package of paper towels with eight or ten rolls, so big that I had to store them in the basement.  Our paper towels had a use for everything you can imagine: wiping up spills, cleaning counters and the table, drying off produce, and of course, they were our napkins of choice.  It seemed like every time I went into the kitchen, I’d be ripping a paper towel off the roll for some purpose.  We probably went through a roll a week and it always seemed to be on our shopping list.

A few years back, we bought reusable napkins. They were dark green and some had a pretty print.  My husband always wanted us to use those instead of paper towels.  But they were stashed in a drawer for years and forgotten.

Finally this past January, he declared, “No more paper towels.” He folded the napkins into a basket and placed it on the table.  We began to use those napkins to wipe our faces and kitchen towels to clean up spills.  Despite my protests in the beginning – we are a family with young children who make a lot of messes – it has worked for us.

Now I reach into the basket and enjoy the feeling of wiping my mouth with a piece of cloth. I don’t miss the chemical smell and roughness of a paper towel on my lips.  I’ve thought about the money and trees we’ve saved with this one switch.  There’s been an empty roll in our paper towel holder ever since, and it won’t be replaced any time soon.

What have you been wanting to ditch or switch in your life?  Let me know in the comments below.