Tossing Paper Products
Over a year ago I made a decision to stop buying paper products. I wasn't sure how long it would take to get used to the transition.
I used to grab paper towels for everything. Drying my hands, wiping up water, spills... I used them for everything. Within a few days I would be grabbing for a roll and starting all over. Paper napkins was another products that was extremely wasteful. Every night when we would sit down to eat dinner one napkin was never enough. The napkins are so thin and small that you would end up grabbing 3 or more for each person. Filling up the napkin holder just became something I did every week.
After noticing how much I was using and how wasteful it was I knew I needed to make a change. For the environment and for our wallet. The first change I made was the napkins.
I went on amazon and found a pack of napkins that were a decent size, and came with enough to get us through a week without having to do laundry.
I found a 20"x20" 12 pack for $18. Sold. (Click image for link - they also have different patterns and colors)
When I first started using them I was nervous about them getting stained, and when I should wash them. I had to remind myself that they are Napkins. Not a wedding dress. After multiple meals of Spaghetti and Meatballs, Hot Wings, Tacos, and other delicious messy meals they went through the wash. They were clean, softer, and I was surprised! I actually liked them a lot better than paper napkins since they didn't rip and pretty much disintegrate after eating hot wings, and one was all you needed. I wash them once a week with other towels and rags.
The second transition was Paper Towels. This one was a bit harder to get used to. Since I would reach for paper towels so much for just about everything I needed to slowly move away from them in a couple stages. First, I bought some nice towels. Again, I went back to Amazon and found myself some Turkish Towels. These are great since they are nice and long and can droop over the sink. They not only are super soft but look nice too. This was a good start to not grab for the paper towels after I had just washed my hands, did the dishes, or if i needed to dry up the clean dishes in the dishwasher a little bit when putting them away.
I found a pack of 2 for under $20! (A great price for Turkish Towels since they are normally high quality and a little pricier) (Click image for link)
Once I got into the system of not reaching for paper towels to dry things, I went to Home Goods and picked up a pack or small towels (probably wash cloth size) for under $5. I used those to wipe my counters, stove, tables, anything that needed to be cleaned. At the end of the night, I toss it in the hamper and start fresh with a new one (depending on how dirty it actually got). After a while I would pick up these packs at Home Goods or Marshalls whenever I saw them since they were so cheap. Here are a few I found on Amazon too. (Click any of the images for links)
For the rags, I try to get a darker color since these will probably stain from cleanups. I normally grab my Thieves cleaner and use these everywhere. I clean my whole house with these.
When switching away from paper products its good to have a good system, so you don't run out or overload yourself with laundry. Since I switched laundry did not get overwhelming. It's usually an extra small load, or I add it in with other stuff since these are all small.
I found a basket/hamper to throw all my dirties in at the end of the day. I also wanted something that didn't look like a laundry basket and not scream "Dirty Laundry". Start little by little, and find what works best for you and your home. Even with starting with the napkins like I did and move forward from there!