A while back, I did a posting on some food storage items you may want to look into as alternatives to things like plastic ziptop bags and wraps. Also, we’ve covered cloth diapers and “baby wipes” here. This time, I want to look at a few more handy household items that are usually disposable, but don’t have to be.
If you’ve ever looked critically at your shopping list, you have probably noticed that it usually includes a few items that you consider “essentials,” but are disposable and require buying over and over. Many are paper products. Some that come to mind are tissues, napkins, paper towels, TP, and straws. Have you given thought yet to how you would cope without a steady new supply of those?
This one probably isn’t a hard one to figure out. What did Grandpa always have in his pocket? A handkerchief. Maybe not as sanitary seeming as individual tissues that you toss after use, but time-tested, less linty, and more durable. My dad still talks about how his mother would get her lace hanky out of her purse, use her own spit, and clean his face before they went in public places.
The white handkerchiefs of yesteryear aren’t as easy to find anymore, but there is a readily available alternative- the bandanna. Craft stores, TSC, and big box stores all seem to carry them and often for a dollar or less apiece.
They have lots more uses than just nose-wiping and smudge cleaning, though. They have a place in your bug-out bag, get-home car kit, first aid kit, and so on. There are a hundred uses for them.
We’ve been thinking about these things for quite some time. Years back, we made the switch from paper napkins to cloth. You can frequently find them in restaurant supply and warehouse club stores for reasonable prices. We’ve had the same ones for many years. As an added bonus, the black ones won’t show spaghetti stains.
3. Paper Towels
I’ve been puzzling over a really good alternative to these for a while. We keep a set of old utility type towels and washable microfiber cleaning cloths (in addition to our regular dish towels), but those still aren’t quite like paper towels. My dear friend Melissa sent me this link, though. I’m very excited about these as an alternative.
I’ve been pricing terry cloth and flannel and finally decided to give these a go, but with a slight variation. I cannot find terry cloth at a reasonable price or enough in the same color, so instead I bought really thick flannel sheets on clearance in the largest sizes I could find. I think I will just do double-thickness flannel and see how they work out. I already have a set of pliers for putting snaps on (from my diaper-making days), so there won’t be any extra expense there. So, the next time the boys go on a weekend camping trip, I think I’ll take over the dining room with my project.
4. Toilet Paper
While this one is not as important as some of the others, straws are convenient for cups with lids to prevent spills. Here are some I found that I would like to try. They have other versions, including glass and “bendy” ones, too. We have a lot of children, so glass ones seem unwise for us. The “bendy” ones just seem like they won’t last as long, so I think I’ll stick with the plain.
What else have you found to replace the disposables you used to use? Any brands or sites you’d recommend? Please mention them in the comments section.