This post is in honor of my dear father-in-law, who is always in shock that I could live life without purchasing paper towels. I’m sure there are some of you that are reading who feel the same way. Let me tell you a little story.
When I was growing up, we always had paper towels, but I wasn’t allowed to use them as much as I thought I should. My mom was very thrifty by necessity and she was extremely careful to reuse things like foil and zip lock bags. So, when it came to paper towels, it made sense that she would limit the amount that we were allowed to use. In fact, she was so good at limiting our paper towel usage, that I became a little bit scared to use paper towels, because I may get in trouble that I used too many. Moms have a way of getting your attention when they’re serious about something! LOL
My husband grew up in a much opposite household. They were allowed to use as many paper towels as they wanted. In fact, in their house, it was almost a crime to run out of something so valuable as paper towels.
Fast forward many years later, when my husband and I got married. We would buy paper towels. At first, I was thrilled that I could use them as I wanted, without limits. But then, later, I became rather annoyed with how frivolous my husband was with his paper towel usage. [Silly, I know, the things we get irritated with sometimes.] That rule of not using paper towels much in my growing up years, had really shaped my “worldview” of paper towels. I got to the point where he’d use them faster than I could buy them and since we didn’t have much money at the time to keep them in stock, I quit buying them. At first he complained, but I assured him that we’d save lots of money by not using them. He was hesitantly OK with it, although he did purchase them every now and then.
Guess what? We don’t buy napkins either!
How in the world do you get by without paper towels and paper napkins?
We use cloth! For paper towels, I’d just use a dish towel or hand towel and wash it when it needed washing. For napkins, I found several different stashes of cloth napkins at yard sales throughout the years that I bought for cheap and we always use them. I keep them in a “napkin drawer”. We used to fold them up but now, we go through them so quickly, we just throw them back in the drawer when they’re clean again.
I bet you’re wondering how my husband is faring, not using paper towels any more? Well, we have been married long enough to realize that marriage is about compromises. We don’t always have to have our own way. I try to keep some paper towels on hand and he tries not to use them all at once. I think we were successful at implementing this slow usage “rule” because I had quit buying them for a while. We learned to use other things. He totally got out of the habit of needing to use that paper towel. In fact, I think we’ve had the same roll of paper towels for over a month now.
Now, I must say, that there are certain things, that you absolutely must have paper towels for. Our one must have? When we fry anything in hot oil. I used to have a designated kitchen towel that I would use for this, but it got so heavy and smelly from all the oil trapped inside of it, we decided to forego that custom.
My father-in-law still loves to give me a hard time when he comes over. He’s been known to bring his own paper towels over as a gift to me. If all else fails, he’ll ask me for a paper towel, knowing I don’t have any. Every now and then, I surprise him with a full roll.
Tell me about your paper towel usage? Are they an important element in your home? or are you one who conserves money when it comes to paper products?
The next story in this series will be all about how we use cloth toilet paper. (just kidding!)