Thursday, December 23, 2010

Goodbye Paper Towels, Hello Stacker!

Paper towel stacker/cookie cutter storage

This post is for the Green Moms  Carnival on greening up the kitchen hosted this month by The Tranquil Parent

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When a guest is in our kitchen they often look around confused. It could be the collection of Hello Kitty items that we displayed. I started collecting them as a kid and it has really shaped what my kitchen is as an adult: pink, girly, and a bit quirky. Kind of like a shabby chic vintage store and Hello Kitty mated and pushed out my kitchen! But my guests are used to this, so maybe not...

Maybe the fact that it's roughly the size of a postage stamp. They are left wondering "where do these people cook, on the floor?" To answer the question...Yes, we often do!

I often wonder if they are just thrown off by my odd way of using things. Perhaps the dish liquid in the glass oil bottle or the fresh herbs that I store in a second hand Pirates lunch box is a bit odd.

In the end I figure it out...they are looking for the paper towels.

Well dear guest, go ahead and look...but you won't find them.

Look hard enough and you will notice we do have a really cute paper towel holder. It is on the floor. It has my collection of cookie cutters on it. Blip is sitting in front of it using it as a stacker toy. I think it is super cute and way more useful as a cookie cutter holder/stacker toy. Don't you? Of course you do!

We vowed months ago to ban paper towels from our home. The honest truth is they are wasteful. Sorry to be blunt. They waste money, they waste precious resources, and they waste space on the earth.

I won't even get into what I think paper towels say about our society today. Another time, another post. In fact, I will spare you the rant and try my hardest to never write that post. No one wants to read the rantings of a crazy mama who blames all of our problems on paper towels.

So back on topic:  It seems people think we are basically nuts. They practically exclaim that we surely need them for juice spills or wiping off Blips hands after he eats. When I say that we don't need thm they look skeptical and give me the "you poor dear" voice.

We do have a method, we don't just clean up messes by sweeping them in the corner like paper towel deprived cats!

I started off by collecting pretty dish and tea towels. I find the softest and cutest ones at antique malls and thrift stores. Some are even hand me downs from my mom! I also occasionally find cute ones in $1 bins at random places. I keep one or two hanging on my oven door at all times. These are used drying hands, clean dishes, or fruit. Nothing messy.

Then I have the rags that are used for cleaning. I make these out of old towels or t-shirts. I even have a few that are shop rags that my dad gave me for super messy spills. Nothing fancy. These are used for spills, scrubbing up gross things, and wiping of appliances and counter. Just about anything goes. These are work horse rags that I don't mind staining.

The method is simple. I have a basket hanging under my microwave for dirty rags, dish towels, and bibs. Once a week everything in this basket goes into that washer and wash them with hot water!  Once clean and dry I fold them (or just toss them in a slightly neat way) into the basket I have hanging on my metal shelf that we use as a pantry. They are just as convenient as paper towels once put into that basket. Very easy and convenient.

Of course sometimes you do have things that cloth just doesn't work for. What about when you have to drain bacon grease or something similar?

Brown paper bags are perfect!  Cut them into manageable squares and slip them in a basket or draw to use on a plate to drain and soak up grease. If you are like us you use reusable shopping totes and don't get many bags in your home. We ask family to save us a few if they get them or grab one at the store if we happen to need an extra bag for something we don't have room for it the reusable bags. One bag makes quite a few squares! Great way to upcycle something that would usually be thrown away.

So now I challenge you to give up the paper towels and make your little one a stacker instead! Save money and save the earth!

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