Going paperless in the kitchen

By Ashley Devonish | Category: Creating a Home, Organize Me!, Recipes & Kitchen Tips

A few weeks ago, I shared that I was enjoying my new ebook:  One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler. As the title suggests, I am working my way through it one project at a time.  One of the more recent projects I have tackled is “Make Your Kitchen Paperless.”

Why bother going paperless?

As Tsh writes, “A kitchen on autopilot uses a lot of paper.  Paper towels and napkins can slip through your fingers, and you’ll unintentionally increase waste instead of curbing this relatively easy problem.”

We have been using cloth napkins for the last few years.  We keep them in a basket in our kitchen and pull them out as needed.  They don’t all match and some have stains.  However, I love the simple elegance they bring to the table and the waste that they prevent from going in the trash.  That said, despite our paper napkin usage, we have continued to use our paper towels quite a bit more frequently than I would ideally like.

How we made the switch to cloth with less pain:

For this particular project, it was my husband that had grown more “dependent” on our paper towels.  In sharing my desire with him to find ways to cut down on our use of paper towels, I was thankful to find that he was willing to join with me in this effort.  Although he was hesitant to eliminate them all together, he was supportive of moving our paper towels from the countertop to the bottom of our pantry–still accessible if really desired, but out of the way where they won’t be reached for simply out of habit.

I then added a basket under our sink filled with small rags (which included old wash cloths and stained T-shirts) that can be used for any number of clean ups which previously would have called upon paper towels.  (In case you are curious, the large silver bowel under the basket of rags is kitchen scraps for our egg laying hens :) .)  While I was at it, I placed a basket of rags under our bathroom sinks as well, along with a squirt bottle of homemade window cleaner.  This provides the perfect opportunity to quickly clean our mirrors as the need arrises without extra fuss or hassle.

This small, yet simple change has resulted in a noticeable difference in our overall paper towel consumption, yeah for simple solutions that save money and resources!

How about you? Is your kitchen paperless?

This post is part of the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.

Ashley Devonish

I have a passion for helping moms and encouraging them in their journey through motherhood. I invite you to journey along with me!

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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012

13 Responses to “Going paperless in the kitchen”

  1. Not gonna lie~ when I heard you were going paperless in the kitchen, I thought that meant you got rid of all paper clutter, like your calendar. Now that I’ve read this, it makes MUCH more sense why should would devote an entire ‘bite’ to losing kitchen paper ;)

    I have gotten in the habit of using towels for most things, but I still haven’t purchased any cloth napkins. Do you have any particular brand that you are fond of or can recommend?

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Kira @ Kissing the Joy, I thought of that later (how it might sound like writing paper is now missing from my kitchen), sorry to confuse you there girl:)!

    For our napkins I acquired some from family members and for a few years a friend of mine from collage gifted each other cloth napkins and table cloths as gifts.

    I was at the thrift store today and am pretty sure I saw a selection there. That is probably where I would start. I think it is kind of nice if they are not super perfect because then you are not “scared” to use them ;) .

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  2. We’ve have been paperless in our kitchen for about four to five years now. We only keep a small roll of paper towels in our laundry room because my hubby insists on having them for when he fries bacon. So, we go through one roll every four months or so. We do use paper napkins when we have large numbers of people at our house. I can’t imagine it being easy to have cloth napkins for over 20 people at a time who are constantly moving. But, maybe I should try at one of my next family parties.

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Kayla H, good for you! Yes bacon. . . LOL. I have built up a pretty large number of napkins over the years so it isn’t a problem for me to use them for a large crowd. However, it seems like we acquire paper napkins without even trying from times we might stop to get food in town (like fast food). Perhaps you have the same thing? Perhaps you could save these up for times like you mention and avoid having to buy them if you were using cloth the rest of the time. . .

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  3. Awesome! We are making the switch but the opposite of how you experienced it. We have always used rags instead of papertowels, but we have always used paper napkins for mealtimes. :) I was recently able to pick up some napkins at a good clearance price and we are attempting this changeover.

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Anna, :) that is funny, lets meet in the middle! I am glad you were able to find a good deal on the napkins and I love those kind of purchases that are more like one time buys that will last for a very long time rather than repeated purchases. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Anna

    While I congratulate your enthusiasm for convert ing to a paperless kitchen I cann’t but wonder what it is doing to the cost of your eleticity bill, the use of detergents and the use of chlorox. have you check it?

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Tyler john, Good question. Our napkins are often used more than once before the warrant a wash (we often do not even need them). The rags I am using are small and I simply include them in with my other laundry. I have front load washers which are very efficient, hold a lot of laundry per load and I don’t run them unless they are full. I use soap nuts for my laundry soap which is very gentle and eco friendly and do not use bleach. I am pretty confident that the benefits are heavy on the side of using cloth in this case.

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  5. Always good to be questioning the value of our actions and not just blindly following along, Tyler John. I don’t think it is doing too much to my electricity bill nor my detergent usage (10c per load or less on detergent so it isn’t a big concern compared to the $5 or more per month I was spending on napkins) since I’m throwing these items into the laundry loads that are already going into the washer. Not even one extra load per week. No Clorox being used at our house. Our electricity costs in the northwest are pretty cheap, I have discovered. My husband keeps track of these things and calculates how much it would save if we got rid of extra freezer or used the dryer less, etc. and it never works out to be enough to spur me to do those things.
    I have also been finding that the kids can share larger napkins and if they are hardly used one meal they just stay on the table for the next meal….same person using them. I’m not too germophobic nor too neurotic about having the table completely cleaned off.
    I will say that I was stressing over the use of the white napkins for meals that had food items that stain…raspberry jelly or spaghetti sauce, etc. I found some cushy dishclothes at Target on clearance (2 for $1.04) and bought up 8 of those to use at the table! When I have to replace napkins I might go for dishclothes!!! Thinking outside of the box here.

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  6. @Anna, great feedback Anna, thanks for adding your perspective and insight! I like your dishcloth idea as well!

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  7. I actually prefer clothes over paper even before reading this post. I am too clumsy that I am afraid of spilling down some paper waste when I try to cook (which is very rare) and I do not want to feed my children with paper!

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  8. Alternatively, I am looking to find some ways on how to create kitchen rags from old clothes as I have a sewing machine that I wanted to try out.. any ideas?

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Grace Sevilly, I am too simple to sew my rags, I just cut them to size and use them as is:)!

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