How to: Reduce your paper towel usage by 99%

Peeps, listen up. Eliminating (well, almost) paper towels from your house is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your waste and wastefulness. You do not need paper towels to dry produce, to wipe down kitchen counters, or to wipe up anything. Yes, they are convenient and compostable, but why not use something reusable instead?

Here’s how I did it. I replaced paper towels with a combination of dish towels, bar towels, and rags cut from old shirts. They don’t get gross and smelly because I treat them just like single use paper towels; once they’re dirty, I put them in a mesh laundry bag in the pantry and wash them weekly separately from clothes in hot water. That’s it. 

I have only one roll of paper towels that my parents left behind and the only time I use them is for draining grease off fried food. This occurrence is rare because we kicked the bacon habit, but I did recently discover that cauliflower Parmesan is even better than chicken parm, and yes, I fry it like Cook’s Illustrated recommends. 

Last week's laundry: cloth napkins, cute dish towels, tshirt rags, bar towels, and a washable dust cloth.   

Last week’s laundry: cloth napkins, cute dish towels, tshirt rags, bar towels, and a washable dust cloth.   

Please give it a shot. Next time you want to wipe off the counter or do whatever else people do with paper towels (I don’t even remember anymore!), grab a dish towel rather than a paper towel. Let me know how it goes!

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Minimizing Kitchen Waste

If the best way to keep a neat and tidy house is simply having less stuff, I’m failing miserably because of my desire to use “waste” rather than throw it away.  This is especially difficult in my tiny kitchen because I’ve been trying to find a use for every food scrap.  My entire kitchen windowsill is full of herb cuttings and the root ends of vegetables that I am trying to sprout.  Whatever we can’t eat or use in some way goes into either the worm bucket or outdoor compost.  Besides not buying more food than we can eat and letting it go bad in the fridge (I let a sweet potato rot recently and was so sad), I’ve been consciously trying to minimize the amount of food that ends up in the compost.

My most recent waste reduction project was inspired by this post from the Kitchn on how to regrow food scraps.  I just happened to have many of these particular veggies in my fridge already! Continue reading

DIY upcycled wine bottle “watering can”

Have you every accidentally crushed seedlings by watering them too forcefully? I certainly have, and it makes me sad every time. But never fear! I have created a simple alternative to clumsily trying to water plant babies with a drinking glass.

My lettuce is very fragile

My lettuce is very fragile

At first, a plastic water bottle with holes poked into the top seemed like the perfect solution to my seedling watering woes, but I don’t want to feed my lettuce water that has been stored in plastic any more than I want to drink bottled water myself.

 

 

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DIY Cloth Napkins

IMG_3633I’ve been meaning to make these cloth napkins FOREVER.  Every time I use a paper towel as a napkin, I feel super guilty for killing trees and producing waste.  Before I got around to making these, Taylor and I tried to go napkin free, but that didn’t work very well.  Finally we have some soft daily use cloth napkins!

Here are a few different ways to make cloth napkins for any occasion.  It’s a really easy project, even for beginner sewers.  Of course if you don’t sew but still want to have pretty cloth napkins, there’s always Etsy.

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