Friday, September 5, 2008

Frugal Friday: Hand Towels and Cloth Napkins

As a rule, I try to stay away from anything disposable. Yes, I know, I have three kids in disposable diapers, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to go the cloth diaper route this time. I've done it before, but I only had two in diapers then. Sorry next generation. :( Anywho, as a way to save on paper towels, we have some house rules on how to clean up stuff.

1. If you have to clean up a spill in the kitchen, use the dishrag we usually have draped over the sink

2. If you have to dry your hands after washing, use the hand towels we have draped over the oven handle.

3. The only time papers towels are to be used is when cleaning the babies' faces or hands.

In order to encourage the kids to follow these, rules, I store the paper towels in the top shelf of one of our cabinets above the sink to make them extra-inconvenient to reach, therefore, hopefully causing the kids to think twice before using them.

Another product we try to avoid using is napkins. Instead of buying paper napkins, we use cloth napkins for every meal. I found eight sets of eight white napkins for $1.99 each at the Thrift store. I have also found several different sets with colorful patterns for the same price that we use when company comes. Not only does it make us feel elegant, but we are helping the environment while teaching our kids good manners! I looked in my basement were we are currently storing all of our belongings so I could take some really cute pictures of my napkins sets to show you, but I couldn't find them. So.....here is a really cute Google image similar to one particular set I have. What about you? Do you like to use cloth napkins? I would really like to know...



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33 comments:

Melinda said...

I am with you on the paper towel thing but I don't use cloth napkins. After seeing the type of napkins you have and the price you paid, I might reconsider. Those were so cute. You are on top of so many things....kudos!

Melanie said...

Hi! I just found your blog through BW. Where are you in Mexico? I grew up in Oaxaca and I miss Mexico so much!

Melanie

rachelle said...

after being SO tired of refilling the napkin holder i cannot believe it did not occur to me to use cloth napkins. what! this just may be life changing. and here's the irony: of course i use them for company. and i was even going to sew a cute one for mady's lunchbox in that five minutes when she was in preschool! wow. helloooo! thanks jen! off to sew adorable napkins~

Melanie said...

You have really beautiful kids, btw... =)

amysfinerthings said...

I've thought and thought about using cloth napkins... this may put me "over the edge." Thanks!

Rachelle(aka mamabear) said...

Hi-
I have always wondered about doing cloth napkins. We have nine blessings and never enough napkins!!!

They seem to use them for everything!
Have you ever made any?? If so are they easy to make? I have a ton of extra fabric from my girls dresses...

You have a wonderful site.
Oh by the way hello to your reader named Rachelle :-) , I have never find/seen anyone with the same name!!

Blessings-
Rachelle (Mamaslittlebears.blogspot.com/)

Angie said...

I have tons of cloth napkins that I've bought for cheap, but we only use them for nicer dinners. Why? I don't know. Do your napkins get all stained and gross? I'd worry about them not looking very good anymore after a couple of uses with kids. Especially because I don't do laundry every day and they'd sit there for a few days before getting washed. We do use towels and such to clean. I have a "rag box" it's cute and decorative in my kitchen and full of rags that the kids can clean up messes with. I'll have to post a pic on my blog sometime.

Sherry said...

We just started using cloth napkins and rags this week. I want to get a few more, but this is definitely going to save money and the environment. :D Love the cute napkins!!

Micah and Katie said...

I love using cloth napkins as well. Sometimes we use them as a place mat as well. Just this week at a local thrift store I picked up 3 sets of 4 for $1 each!! What a deal. I plan on doing something with them and giving them away as wedding gifts.

gerberdaisie said...

We only use cloth napkins here. I got all mine as wedding/shower gifts, but I'll check out the thrift store when I need some more.

Thanks for the good tip.

Mayet said...

We usually use cloth napkins and hand towels are within reach. For the time being it's just me and my husband--our baby's 9 months old.

Suz said...

I've not started this myself, but would like to. A little afraid of the stain thing, but also don't have much room for storing them... I'll be thinking about it though. Thanks :)

the dutson five said...

Good ideas! We seriously go through an entire roll of paper towels every few days... Oops! And it's mostly my fault, too. I use them more than anybody in the house.. I'll have to check out some cloth napkins.

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

I LOVE your ideas about the cloth napkins! I have several sets BUT never use them! I may pull them out now! BUT we go through some paper towels at my house! I can't STaND a WASHCLOTH! And clorox wipes! I need stock in those companies!

Carla said...

Before there was such a concern, we used hand towels and wash rags because we couldn't afford paper towels. My kids would go to others houses and completely enjoy the thick yummy paper towels. Still don't have any. We do have paper napkins-I 'reuse' them in the compost pile so I'm not feeling TOO bad. YOUR towels and napkins are very pretty! My kids would have felt bad about using something so pretty! Neat post!

Mom is Broke said...

I use cloth napkins in the kids lunches at school. I too found some plain purple and white ones at the thrift store a couple of years ago. But this past Labor Day (50% off day) I found some fun ones with sunflowers, snowflakes and cows on them. The kids will never know what will be in their lunches from day to day. Just trying to make it a little more fun for them ;)

Amanda B. said...

Really good idea about the paper towels- we use way too many. BTW- I have been keeping my eyes out for part II of having twins. I found out even my mom has been reading your blog (hopped over from mine!) and she is curious as well. :)

TheGlutenFreeHomemaker said...

I have recently been thinking about going the cloth napkin route. I've been looking for ones I like on clearance, but haven't found any. I think I will try the thrift store. Thanks for giving me a push on this one.

The Mommy said...

I actually found your blog because you have an ad on my blog from Project Wonderful! I'm so glad that I did! I have four kids, and I'm certain we're not done yet...we love big families. Anyway, I think this post is just lovely. I am trying to reduce our use of disposables as well, and I love how you have put the paper towels out of easy reach. I have mine on a dowel dispenser in my kitchen and they are just TOO EASY for everyone to grab! I think I'll put them up out of reach from now on. Thank you for your post, I'm so glad I've found you!

Teresa said...

We do the same here! Besides costing less, don't cloth napkins look so much prettier!

Melinda said...

Hey Jen,
I am with Amanda B. It is time for part 2 to your twin story. Enquiring minds want to know!!!

connie said...

Hi Jen! What a fun surprise to hear from you. Such a fun and informative blog...I'm still new to the blogging world and am having a blast. Darling fam!

Melissa said...

I am always reminding my husband which towel is for what. This towel is washing the counters, that one for wiping the kids off, that one for drying your hands.

Christine said...

I haven't done the cloth napkin thing. I hate laundry too much and the idea of adding to it makes me ill. My MIL only does cloth napkins and she made hers. She just cut the fabric into 16 inch squares and serged around the edges. She has them for every holidy and season and mood. They are very cute. Still can't get past the laundry thing, though - haha!

Derrick and Laurice said...

You put me to shame! I use disposable everything and wouldn’t even attempt one cloth diaper!

Nikki said...

I just found your blog today and was so surprised to see a link to the thrift store. I LOVE that store! I go there every weekend looking for books for my classroom (I teach 6th grade). Well, I look for books for me, too, of course. But last weekend, I found a brand new pair of 9 1/2 (my size!) awesome green suede loafers! For $4.95! What a steal! And I bought my daughter's first riding jacket there--a brand-new with-the-tag-still-on Liz Claiborne. For $7.95! That place is so much fun! I'm sorry I rambled--I am just so excited to see it on someone's blog. there. I'll take a breath now.
And when I go there Sunday, I'll carefully peruse the household items for cloth napkins.
Finally, once I found a brand new pair of red Cole Hahn loafers for $19.95 (another steal) but they were a size 5 or something. Oh! And just this last winter, my daughter got a pair of gently used Doc Martens boots that she wears to the horse farm. For $4.95!

yoshi3329 said...

We use cloth napkins all the time. We save a lot of money that way. I glad that we switched, thought sometime we still use paper napkins.

great blog!

http://www.adlynmorrison.blogspot.com/

Salsa Mama said...

Cloth napkins are a good idea. We have some Christmas ones, but I am going to try finding some cute ones to use all the time. Great idea! We don't use paper towels all the time, I consider them kind of a "luxury" item. Sometimes we have them, sometimes we don't. I have a bunch of old washcloths and kitchen towels that we use for our (constant) spills and counter cleaning. I don't use paper plates or cups very often either. Usually only for lots of company or a party. I also have used cloth diapers, and loved it, but am using disposable this time. You can only do so much! :) Oh--one thing I do have to use is Clorox wipes for cleaning my toilet. I can do the rest of my cleaning with a rag, but not my toilet. Thanks for the napkin idea, I think my kids will love it!

Tiffiney said...

I to hate spending money on napkins and paper towels...I really need to use cloth napkins and have been thinking of doing so..are they easy to get the stains out of?

Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva said...

I no longer buy paper towels for my household. We were going through way too many, so I decided to just stop buying them all together. My solution? I have a dish towel hanging in the kitchen on the stove at all times for me to use. And I gave everyone in my family a hand towel of their own to use when they need to dry their hands or wipe their face. I wash these every few days. So far, it has been a month since I bought a roll of paper towels, and no one has complained.

High-Heels And A Sippy-Cup said...

I have really been considering using cloth napkins myself lately. One question what about at lunch time when you don't want the little ones to use their shirts as napkins? Do you use cloth then too?

Great post!

Jeanette said...

We have pretty much cut out paper towels but have not converted to cloth napkins. We don't really use that many napkins anyway.

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I am new here via http://candyheartsandpaperflowers.blogspot.com/
and like what I see. We use cloth here too. It's just so easy to toss them in the wash and they always look so nice.