Do you want to make your kitchen more eco-friendly and save money? Use these suggestions to start a paperless kitchen today!
Having a paper-less kitchen may seem like a new eco-friendly concept but really if we think about it, it’s a very vintage idea.
Women in the past had less disposable options and were also interested in saving money and resources, especially during the Great Depression and WWII.
Being wasteful was very frowned upon until the post-war area when convenience becomes more popular. This concept came from marketing aimed at making people better consumers.
Now we know all of this consuming is having a harmful impact on our planet and our pocketbooks. However, we are now so used to the convenience of these disposable products we aren’t even sure how to stop using them.
Several years ago I started learning about being more aware of my impact on the planet. I also wanted to save money for my family. To help with both of these things I have made my kitchen basically paperless.
Is a Paperless Kitchen Really Possible?
When people learn I don’t keep paper towels or napkins in my kitchen they have many questions and concerns.
Doesn’t it waste water to use cloth napkins and towels?
Not at all. Water is used in the making of disposable products so even if you do need to do an extra load of laundry you are still better off but I personally haven’t had an increase in laundry. My rags and cloth napkins go in loads I’d be doing anyway.
But the cloth napkins are so expensive!
They can be but I only have one nice set I save for rare occasions, otherwise, we use cheap cloth napkins I got on Amazon. You can even make your own very easily. Using dark colored napkins are a good choice because they don’t show stains.
What about really gross messes?
If I need to use a rag to clean up something really gross I either use one that is full of holes and is on its last leg or just soak it in some hot water and vinegar for a bit when you are done before putting it in the wash.
Trust me, your family isn’t going to die from that dirty rag!
What about greasy food?
Interestingly this is just about the most common question I get. I take a splatter screen like you would put over a pan while frying something and just put the food on there for a bit with a plate on it. Most of the grease will drain off.
Really the hardest part of a paperless kitchen is getting into the habit of reaching for cloth napkins and rags. Once it’s all a habit it’s simple.
We do keep a roll of paper towels in the house but I very rarely use it. If it was just me it would last me at least a year. My husband uses them a bit more but we still don’t buy them often. Other than the random napkins that end up in the house from other places we never buy paper napkins.
Have I convinced you to give it a try yet?
Five Easy Steps to Get Started with a Paperless Kitchen
Put Disposable Products Away.
If I have paper towels on my countertop I will use them. It’s too easy and tempting. So take that roll and store it where it’s not so easy to get to. I keep one under my kitchen sink.
You may have thought I was going to tell you to not have any at all but there are some messes you may really want some for. I try to use rags that are ready for the trash first but if we don’t have any or whatever, it’s nice to have a backup. That roll should just last a very long time.
Put Cloths in Easy to Find Places.
Now you need to make your reusable products easy to reach. I keep a clean rag on my sink for spills and cleaning up. I have cloth napkins in a drawer that is easy to access and organized.
Extra tags and dish rags are in a drawer near the sink and cleaning rags are under the sink. I also keep two clean hand towels out at all times so no one has trouble finding one to clean their hands or dry something.
Have a Basket for Dirty Rags in the Kitchen.
I have a bin under my kitchen sink for dirty rags. You do want to make sure to use clean ones every day or after big messes (or raw meat). Having a place to put your dirty rags just makes it easier and keeps a paper-free kitchen convenient.
Skip Buying Paper Products.
Keep a roll of paper towels but otherwise, stop buying paper products. Until the habits are broken it’s best to keep them out of your house. Once you are in the habit of using reusable products you can keep somethings on hand for emergencies but let yourself get out of the habits first. It’s too easy to slip back into your old habits if the products are on hand.
Stop throwing out old cotton t-shirts.
These are by far the best rags you will find. And when they start to wear out as rags, throw them in a bin for those really gross messes where you just can’t make yourself keep the rag.
Talk to the older women in your life. They likely have great tips for how they used to do things before paper towels and napkins. We so often forget to go to our elders for advice, yet they often have some of the best advice. I wish I had asked my great-grandma these questions while she was still alive.
Sometimes new isn’t better and we can always learn from the past. Just remember to take this all slowly, slow and steady wins the race.
There are some great products out there to make a paper-free kitchen easier. These are some of my favorites from amazon.
And another option is to make your own unpaper towels. They work like paper towels and can even go on a paper towel holder but they are reusable.