I do a lot of “green” things, but I’m not a “tree-hugger” or a “save the planet” kind of a gal. I wish I could say I was, because I think that is a pretty noble and forward-thinking kind of path. But I’m neither noble or forward thinking… nope, most of my “green” activities come from a place of selfishness. I do them either because it somehow benefits me or my family. Here’s one way I am saving trees: I very rarely use paper towels. Why? It all started with this:
This is Birdie Girl back in the day!
Have you ever tried to clean up something like this with paper towels?!? Can you even imagine how many paper towels it would take?!? Now multiply that times two children. Now multiply that times three meal clean ups per day. Just imagine the rolls and rolls of paper towels!! And the worst part is, when it’s mom vs. mess (including a wiggly, uncooperative child), mom usually loses. Or else she wins just by sheer volume of paper towels dispensed in the effort.
So I use a system of washcloths. So easy. So clean. So green.
Here’s what my simple little system looks like:
Stop looking at my lunch dishes on the counter!
In the right cabinet, a bin full of nice, clean, inexpensive washcloths. (Costco sells my favorite ones – very thick and very cheap!) In the cabinet under the sink, a little garbage can for the dirty rags.
I use these handy little guys to wipe up EVERYTHING. I wipe kids hands & faces. I use one to wipe off the table/counters/etc. I use them to wash the floors. The kids grab them if they spill their waters. I use them to wipe down the fridge shelves, microwave,… anything you can think of. Now that my kids aren’t babies anymore, I even slightly dampen them and give them to the kids while they eat to use as their napkin. (So much easier for kids to use a napkin if it’s damp… try it! Works like a charm!) After each one is done, I toss it in the little canister. I probably go through about a dozen of these per day.
Each week, I toss the contents of the dirty bin into my washing machine and turn on the “sanitary” cycle. (It’s the only cycle that uses HOT water and since it’s a HE machine, the sanitary cycle lasts for over 2 hours! Trust me… it cleans the bananas out of those washcloths!) A quick run through the dryer and, VOILA!, a fresh batch of washcloths to use again for the next week.
Now I will tell you that I used to FOLD each and every one of those washcloths before I put them back in the clean bin for use. How stupid was that?!?! Why did waste my time doing that?? I have absolutely no idea. I have since come to my senses and realized that there is no need whatsoever to fold rags. I took a deep breath, got over it, and I’m fine with the fact that my clean bin doesn’t look all tidy and cute. They’re rags. They don’t need to look cute. (Plus they’re housed INSIDE of a cabinet!)
Even my husband became so used to the ease of wiping down messy post-meal kids, that he’d wet two of these rags and pop them in a ziploc before he took the kids out to a restaurant. He just couldn’t bear the thought of trying to wipe the mess off the kids with napkins. That’s how big the difference in ease it was to clean off a little one!
If’ you are looking to improve your home’s green quotient, I’d highly recommend this system. Works so smoothly. If you are looking to improve your sanity from fighting with a squirmy kid to wipe them down after a meal, again, try this out. It makes cleaning kids a breeze. If you are one of those noble, forward-thinking people who never use paper towels to begin with… well, I will never be you… but this blog is all about progress, not perfection. And I think this little system is good progress for my family.
What do you think?