I am NO greenie. I mean, I want to be. It just doesn't happen. Our town got rid of their recycling program. Both my kids wore disposable diapers. I don't hesitate to throw things away. I tell you all this because we really don't use paper towels or paper napkins at our house. It wasn't a conscious decision at first. It evolved over time. And in truth, it's a BIG money saver. I still buy the occasional roll of paper towels for the windows but I may get some micro cloths and get rid of those too! Here's how we started:
1. When my first was born I started a rag drawer in the kitchen. It was a place that I put old towels, washcloths, and dishrags that had seen better days. We used this for yucky cleanups that took more than a few paper towels.
2. As the kids got older (and messier) we started using these rags to wipe up sticky hands and faces. I just threw them in a bucket near the wash and washed them all together. I would keep my eyes out for cheap washcloths to add to the stash or even my hubbie's old t shirts. We still had the trusty paper towels out on the counter. And we still used paper napkins.
3. Last summer, when we were in a very tight budget, if it wasn't a necessity, we didn't buy it. I realized that unless I could get paper napkins for free with a coupon, it wasn't worth the money. I had some cloth napkins from my mom and we just started to use those. I showed my son where they were and he gets them out for dinner. I don't do anything special to clean them. I'm not even picky about folding them. I guess if we had company I might iron them. I have some paper napkins in the closet. For a rainy day, I guess.
4. Next, I put the paper towels away. They are in the laundry closet. Out of site out of mind. Everyone in the house knows where the rag drawer is (even the two year old) and because they can reach it, they can clean up their own messes.
5. I recently made some more napkins and even send a cloth one (out of blue stripped flannel) in my son's lunch to school.
I know. Many of you are saying "I can't add one more thing to my laundry pile!" I think if I decided to go paper-free all at once, I would have agreed. Starting with just a small area has really helped.
I would love to know if you do this, or even if you start, what you think! If you have questions about it, let me have 'em. If you're really interested I might even give away a set of the green check napkins.