In 2008 I began to look for ways to save a little money. I was in nursing school and had to drive an hour one way just to get to class. As you can imagine that wasn’t cheap!
I began experimenting with coupons trying to save money on food and household goods. Using coupons and watching the sales made me more aware of the price of different items we used every day. It also caused me to pay more attention to how we were using those things.
One area where I noticed that we were spending a lot of money, and then throwing it in the trash was in the kitchen. We went through a lot of paper towels, paper plates and plastic cups, and by “we” I mean mostly my husband. He never seemed capable of using just one or even two paper towels to dry his hands, it was more like five or six waded up. It drove me crazy. Since the cups were also disposable it was way too easy to get a new one versus keeping track of the one you already had. It was such a waste.
So I decided to stop the hemorrhage of money… and paper products. I threw in the paper towel and refused to buy anymore. My husband was not thrilled at first, he balked at the idea of our new paperless kitchen. He pointed out that we would have more laundry and dishes to do, and he was right. But he failed to realize the amount of money we would be saving!
My Paperless Kitchen
Stop Buying Paper Products. For such a simple statement, it can be a hard thing to do. We are so reliant on paper goods that it almost seems second nature to just toss them into the grocery cart once every couple of weeks. However, the quickest way to start a paperless kitchen is to stop buying the paper products to begin with. Once you have made the decision to make the switch it is easier to get started than you may think.
Use Cloth Napkins For Every Meal. You can quickly and easily build up a small stock pile of cloth napkins once you stop buying paper napkins and towels. Simply use the money you would have spent to purchase those items and instead purchase cloth napkins. I personally keep about 2 dozen on hand for our family to use. I simply toss them in the wash, when they are dirty and clean cloth napkins go back in the drawer to be used for the next meal. Every couple of days I have freshly laundered cloth napkins to use.
When we have company I use a separate set of napkins that are a bit fancier. Holidays have themed napkins that only come out during the season. I find that cloth napkins turn even the simplest meal into a special event.
Cloth napkins can often be founds on sale, or even made yourself very inexpensively. Just think of all the money you will be saving by investing the $15.00 dollars you would have spent on a large package of paper towels into the cloth napkins you will be using over and over again.
Finally for those of you who are concerned, like my husband was, on the cost of washing the napkins remember my homemade laundry detergent is only $0.04 per load. You can’t get much more economical than that.
No More Paper Plates Or Plastic Cups. Remember those pretty dishes you got as wedding gifts or just couldn’t resist purchasing yourself. It’s time to get them out of the kitchen cupboards and start enjoying them once again. Sure, paper plates are quick and easy but it doesn’t take that long to wash Corelle dishes by hand or stick them in the dishwasher. The savings here add up much quicker than you may realize.
For cleaning and other dirty jobs I use old washcloths, cloth towels or bar rags depending on the size and type of mess. Then I simply put them in the laundry to be washed by themselves or I toss them out depending on their condition after the job is done.
For drying clean hands and dishes I simply use my nicer cloth kitchen towels. I typically change them out every couple of days or sooner if they get dirty. No more using 5 or 6 paper towels to dry clean hands!
Having a paperless kitchen was one of the first frugal decisions we made as a married couple and it has been a great experience for us. Not to mention how much cash doing this one thing has saved us over the past 6 1/2 years.
Finally, enjoy the savings your new paperless kitchen is going to bring you for a long time to come!
Do you have a paperless kitchen?
What are some of your favorite tips to making it work for your family?
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