Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days:: Go Paperless

I've read articles on creating a paperless kitchen, and the idea intrigues me.  Yes, you have to spend money to save money (by investing in plastic plates, extra rags, cloth napkins, and more).  But then again, not having to buy paper plates appeals to me.  They always seem so pricey for something we just throw them away! 

You don't have to go "hard-core" to go paperless.  Pick one place to start and see how it goes. 

This past summer, I made a conscious decision to use less paper plates.  We still had them in the house, and we still used them occasionally (especially when we had extra kids at lunchtime and when we were camping).  But overall, we were using Tupperware microwave luncheon plates and melamine plates (Dora and Lightning McQueen, in case you were wondering) more often than paper plates.  This experiment didn't require me to spend any money, because we already had those plates in the house.  As well, I run the dishwasher every night anyway, and I fit those five extra plates in with no problem at all.

I don't think my family is at a good age to move to cloth napkins.  Maybe when my two- and five-year-olds start using just one napkin at the supper table instead of three, I'll be ready to try it!

I use Ziploc bags in my freezer and when I pack lunches.  They are convenient and cheap, but I know that if I invested in more sandwich keepers and small containers, I could cut down on my use of Ziploc.  But then again, how many containers do I really have room for?  This is something I haven't decided on yet.

And now we come to my beloved paper towels.  I use a lot of paper towels, so I know that if I switched over to rags, I'd see a significant savings.  I always make excuses like "Where would I put all those rags?" and "Does the extra load of laundry each week negate the savings?" but I know that one of these days, I'm just going to have to try it and see how it goes.  If/when I make the switch, I'm hoping to do it like this.  A pretty canister on the counter filled with fresh, white rags will sit in place of my paper towel roll.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Sigh.

Switching to a completely paperless kitchen will definitely save money in the end.  Going halfway and doing what you can will save you money too.  Something is better than nothing!

Do you have a paperless kitchen?  Have you ever thought about moving in that direction?  Can I really switch over to cloth napkins when I have a two-year-old in the house? (please say no!)

Looking for more ways to Save Money in the Kitchen?  Head over here to read the rest of the articles in this series.  I'm not out of ideas yet, so stick with me for a few more days!


  1. We also try to go paperless in the kitchen. I started using cloth napkins a couple years ago, when my daughter was two, and it was no problem at all. She actually prefers cloth napkins because they are so much bigger and work better than paper. As for paper towels, I have a rag drawer and lots of washclothes so I rarely need to use paper towels.

  2. I do have paper plates and paper towels in the kitchen/pantry - but rarely use them. Paper towels I use for milk spills since a rag will reek quickly even if rinsed. We don't use napkins or cloth napkins but have 1 to 2 clean washrags at the table if someone needs them. Paper napkins I keep on hand for when we have company over only. I had never heard of going paperless. I would say we are a paperless family for the most part. I only do laundry once a week and make sure I have very full loads (granted it usually takes 2 days to finish it all up), so having alot of cloth napkins for everyone to use everyday I don't think would be cost effective for me. I'm a huge penny pincher out of necessity now and even before it was necessary I was very careful about what I bought and how much I used. I do buy the huge box of cheap paper plates at Costco though and store them in my garage and they last forever. One useful thing for paperplates is to use them as a cover in your microwave. Yes I do reuse the plate until is pretty splattered. I know some would think that gross - but when you must pinch - you pinch in places you never thought you could or would pinch. :-)

  3. My situation is a lot different that yours in that we only have two adults in our home. But I was getting so tired of spending money on paper towels. They are not cheap. So my husband and I brainstormed on all the ways were were using paper towels. I also decided at the same time to quit using paper napkins and try to cut down on ziploc bag usage.

    I did have to invest in the following to make it work: lunch containers, microwave splatter covers, silicon microwave mat, cloth napkins (I use any kind I can find on clearance - even holidays), wood basket for holding napkins in the kitchen, bar towels on Ebay for cleanup, a plastic container to put under the sink to throw the rags and napkins in. I also bought 3 flour sack towels, cut in fourths and zig zagged the two ragged edges. This made 12, and along with the 12 bar towels and 20 napkins, seems to last the two of us quite a while before we toss them in a load of wash. If they are extremely messy they go into a load of wash right away.

    We are not putting our bacon on paper towels anymore to drain (not healthy probably). I still use a paper towel to pat chicken dry becasue I'm not comfortable with a rag on raw chicken and then going into a basket.

    I think we still might use paper towels on the fireplace windows because that is such a messy job. I don't use paper plates for cutting surfaces anymore and that's really all I was grabbing a paper plate for.

    We're just getting started, but have noticed great improvements already. Good luck!

  4. I too, only have 2 adults in the home. I use paper towels sparingly and have a lot of towels and rags (huge drawer). At mealtimes I just take a towel to the table and we both use it as a napkin!! When guests come over I bring out paper napkins and my husband thinks it is a treat! LOL I use very little plastic bags and have many drawers dedicated to tupperware and other storage containers. After awhile it gets to be normal to use paper and plastic less. I tease my husband that the bathroom is next for going paperless! :)

  5. I use a cloth napkin, Eric uses nothing (!), Nathan uses his shirt (!) and for Natalie I use a wet washcloth. I like this last option for younger kids because it's not disposable but it's very easy to clean both the kid and the cloth. I just use the cheapest kind of baby washcloths.

  6. You should check out the Practical Mom shop on FB!!

    She makes reusable sandwich & snack bags. I bought the snack bags & love them because I don't have to buy baggies & they don't take up a lot of storage space. I use the Tupperwear sandwich keepers, because I got them for free. I like these because you don't have to worry about the sandwich getting squished. I manage to pack my boys lunches "paper free" now! I plan on asking for cloth napkins for christmas :)