1. Cloth napkins
I made the switch to cloth napkins last year and have never looked back. I started with a dozen cloth napkins my husband and I received found at a garage sale, but have added to my stash over the years. (The frugal side of me loves finding cloth napkins at bargain prices.) I love that they wear well – they’re sturdy for dabbing food off of faces or wiping off sticky hands. And after they’re washed and dried, they look like new.
2. Dish cloths
I’ve always used kitchen towels, but within the past couple years I’ve started using dish cloths, too. My mom had influenced me to stick with disposable scrubbers and sponges, but after being disgusted at the thought of germs, I bought a pack of dish cloths. I love using them. It’s so easy to wash a sink full of dishes with them, clean up messy counter tops and tables, then stick them in a load of laundry so they can be reused.
I’ve noticed a paper towel commercial has tried to discredit dish cloths by claiming they’re covered in germs– that would be true if they were reused and rarely washed. Just be sure to wash and dry them after each batch of dishes, and you’ll have a clean, cheap, and reusable solution.
3. Reusable glass containers
After investing in a couple sets of reusable glass containers, plus lots of leftover canning jars, I’ve virtually eliminated using plastic wrap or aluminum foil. I used to depend on the disposable containers to cover leftovers. Originally I bought the glass containers so I could throw away every plastic container in my kitchen in an attempt to get BPA out of my home.
Now that I’m exclusively using glass containers, I also save glass food jars and bottles. The shapes and sizes can be a little odd, but they’re free. And I’ve found they’re perfect for storing homemade dressings, soups, and sauces.
4. Cloth diapers
My children were not cloth diapered but I sure wish I had. We would have saved SOOO much money. With all of the different varieties of cloth diapers that are available, many really are as easy to use as disposable diapers. Surprisingly, the laundering process isn’t disgusting. (I promise) The environmental benefits are huge – you’re not adding tons of diapers to landfills.
For generations, people wiped drippy noses with handkerchiefs – I knew I needed to try, too. During cold and flu season my family still uses paper tissues if we’re frequently blowing our stuffy noses. But for sniffles or a good cry, I love using handkerchiefs because they’re so gentle. And I adore my late grandmother’s hankies, because they’re so pretty and vintage looking.
What ways have you reduced paper and plastic use in your home?
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