Wednesday, September 29, 2010

unpaper towels.

The only label I use to describe myself is CHEAP.

I am super thrifty and proud of it.

But, I definitely fall under the "greening my life" category as well. However, most of my greenishness began as an attempt to scrimp and save money but eventually evolved past the thrill of saving a few dollars.

As an elementary teacher and wife to a graduate student, I found it my job to put my thriftyness to good use. No longer was it enough to enjoy the off-season clearance rack at the outlet mall; it was time to make real changes. I began by examining my weekly grocery list to see what items we could live without.

Why buy something just to throw it in the trash?

Example, please.

I haven't bought paper towels or paper napkins in years. My sister might scoff and bring her own roll of paper towels to our house when she visits......but this was one of the first changes we made when money got tight.

My towel basket started small with just a few fresh looking towels in rotations. Several years later, I have amassed way too many random towels -- ratty bathrags, ugly burpcloths, cloth diapers I didn't like, cut up receiving blankets, nice hand towels that got in the mix and aren't so nice looking anymore. The list goes on and on.

Our system is simple: Clean towels that can be used on hands and faces hang on the refrigerator handle. Once a towel is no longer fit for hands or faces due to food messes or cleaning spray, it goes straight into the washing machine to be included in the next load. It helps that our washer and dyer are in the kitchen but I feel sure I will perfect a new system when my fantasy laundry room is built in 30+ years.

Easy, huh?

1. Grocery budget was cut a smidge by eliminating paper towels.
2. Dish towels are much much much better at cleaning than paper towels.
3. Reduce, REUSE, recycle.
4. It might be the teensiest reduction in paper towels sold at Kroger but I feel like I am doing my part.
5. Need I discuss carbon footprint of paper towel production/distribution and wasteful packaging?


7 comments:

childsplay said...

WOW...calling me out in the title of your blog...let's see what I can post about....It takes a little getting used to, but I too have taken to using more and more towels that are not paper...I just can't completely make the switch maybe b/c my laundry isn't as convenient??? I'll use that as my excuse....

TheDearmanFamily said...

Sorry. That was the only title I could think of that sounded remotely catchy and cute. I like catchy and cute.

You could have a little hamper under your sink for your dirty towels....

childsplay said...

No room under there, but I guess there would be if I got rid of all my toxic chemicals...I have a little drawer that is Martha accessible, she likes to pretend they are hats or blankets...so cute, love her...

Laura said...

That reminds me I am mentally working on a post all about my lack of toxic chemicals :)

The Whatleys said...

I love it! I am always looking for ways to "green" up my life too...plus, I am pretty cheap and this sounds like a great way to save some money. Maybe this will be my next venture. :)

Tricia said...

We haven't bought paper towels in years either and my parents poke fun too. Oh well!

Ted Dearman said...

I am so impressed with your 'thrifty' initiative that I am sending the book "Frugillionaire" to you. Hope you enjoy!