"For I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in You...You make it Beautiful Somehow"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Un-Paper Towels


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              (image source)                                    (image source)


With our move to Houston only five months away, I have began to think about what will be changing in our lives. One of the big and more obvious changes is going to be in our finances. Because of this, I have began to look for ways that we can change our lifestyle now and save money.

One way that I have already started doing scrimping, is by switching mostly to cloth. I made the switch to cloth diapers and wipes back when Luke was born, and I have always used cloth napkins for "fancy" dinners at our house. But, while perusing Pinterest I saw this post from "One Good Thing", by Jillee (awesome blog to check out if you are wanting to make your own products), to replace your paper towels with cloth! They are called "unpaper towels". It was one of those...now why didn't I think of this before...moments! I was immediately hooked.

I hate the idea of buying something that I can only use one time and then have to throw away. So this just seemed perfect for me! Now, you can buy unpaper towels already made! I especially love these and these on Etsy...they are so colorful! But, one of the big purposes for me doing this is to save as much money as possible.  So I started looking around at what I had on hand. I remembered that I had two birdseye cloth diapers left over from when I had made cloth wipes. I grabbed those, cut them to the size of a paper towel, and serged around the edges. Now you could leave your edges and they will fray a bit, but I wanted mine to last as long as possible, so I went ahead and serged them. It only took about fifteen minutes.

This gave me sixteen towels. Sixteen was good, but that would last me about...oh...one day, maybe two. I didn't want to have to wash them that often or worry about running out. I was just going to buy a new package of birdseye diapers, but they are $12 for 10 of them...which isn't bad. I just didn't have that much to spend on that particular day. So I kept looking around and found flour sacks at the Dollar Tree. Perfect! I bought five of them which gave me forty towels. Now that should be plenty. Hopefully.


These towels work perfectly! So much better than even the expensive brands of paper towels. Once I have used a towel I place it in the pink basket on my counter. Then at the end of the day, I empty the basket in to the laundry with the rest of our shower towels. If I am running low on clean ones, I go ahead and run a load of towels that night. It really has been so easy!

I am so excited to not have to worry about putting paper towels on my shopping list again! One less thing to buy when I go shopping...and that makes me happy :-)

What are some small things your family is doing to save money and resources?


Linking to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways


14 comments:

  1. Lorissa, I think this was just the push I needed to get me past the paper napkins. I just cut up an old T-shirt last week to use for spills and whatever, but I just couldn't seem to let go of the paper napkins. Now I can use flour sacks! Blessings from Bama!

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  2. I just saw unpaper towels on pinterest, went directly to etsy to look and see what material people were using. I like the birdseye. My MIL gave us cloth napkins in bright colors when we were first married. We still use them most of the time and I never buy paper napkins, but paper towels...
    Even though there are lots of dish towels and terry cloth hand towels in the kitchen, Most of the time it is the paper that is reached for first. I need to break that habit! I'll head for the fabric store this weekend!

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  3. Bama Girl, I also use old t-shirts cut up for things like cleaning the bathroom. They work great! I do like using the birdseye, but I like using the flour sacks better just because they don't wrinkle as easy. I can just pull them out of the dryer and they are good, where as the birdseye I smooth out a little before folding. Not a big deal either way though. I also had a lot of towels in the kitchen Viki, but would always grab for paper towels. Making these has definitely helped me kick the habit :-)

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  4. thanks so much for this tip. i have been wanting to go paper towel-less for a couple years but never found the perfect solution. i am heading to the dollar store for flour sacks!
    i try to look in the holiday sections after the holidays and you can usually find cloth napkins at a good price
    one tip for icky messes is to use newspaper to clean up things like broken eggs

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    1. Thanks Susan! Awesome idea about the newspaper!

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  5. I already use floursack towels and old T's, cloth napkins and such, but would love to know where you found that cool little basket to keep them in. That would look 1000 times better than the folded stacks on my counter!

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    1. I found the metal basket at a thrift store and the pink woven one at the dollar tree. If you have a dollar tree in your area they have a very good variety of baskets. Thrift stores are also a great place to find unique ones. :-)

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  6. Visiting from Frugal Days...This really is a "why didn't I think of that before" idea.

    But I had to giggle when I read that you dump your used towels in the laundry ....with your shower towels. Can I offer some food for thought. (And this is coming from my mom, who had to do laundry for our family of 8). Why wash shower towels every day? You're only wiping water off your just-cleaned body.

    In our house, each member gets an assigned color for a washcloth, hand towel, and shower towel. You use "your" linens for the whole week, hung to air dry, and they get washed once per week. Imagine the soap/water/electricty you can save!

    Just a thought. Now, I'm off to the sewing room to find some flannel scraps to make my own unpaper towels. Thanks for the idea!

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    1. Oh yes we definitely try to reuse our shower towels a few times before using them :-)I am trying to get my family to reuse their towels more than once or twice though to save even more.

      Thanks for the ideas...I especially love the color coded idea!

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  7. I use old cloth diapers for SOOOOOO much around the house! They are made to be absorbent, so they make awesome cleaning towels. I also have old baby shower towels that we no longer use, and I've turned them into cleaning rags as well.

    Thanks for posting!

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  8. I moved to houston last july from utah....we have had so much fun being snowless.


    I have been paper towel-less for over 4 years- we usually use just dry washclothes for everything. Only time i really wish for paper towels is when I cook bacon or fry something (for draining off the grease), a kid gets sick or the cat barfs....eww!! I have thrown many of my washclothes out because I didn't want to deal with cleaning them- i'm sure some of you can understand. I have thought of just having back up paper towels stowed away for just in case situation.

    Thanks for the great idea- and have fun with your move- you'll be here just in time for the HEAT!!

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    1. I actually do use these for my bacon just like I would paper towels :-) I also have started keeping a stash of my hubby's holy socks and ratty rags for those occasions I need to clean something up that I just want to throw away!

      And yes...perfect timing for a move huh?! Right at the worst part of the summer!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Love this! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  10. I stopped buying paper towels and napkins for everyday use about a year ago it killed me to be paying that much all the time for something I was going to wad up and through away. I started having two towels in the kitchen one for drying hands the other for dishes. I do keep a roll of paper towels in the laundry room cabinet for the gross clean up jobs. I like the idea of having the un-paper towels, I have a tendency to use my cloth napkins for that but like the idea of having separate ones that I use like a paper towel instead of my napkins. I use cut up brown bags for draining oily items on. Thrift stores are a great place to find cloth napkins I find ones in great condition all the time, people buy them or are gifted them and never use them : )

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