How much money does the average household spend (and create how much waste) on paper towels each year? According to the Paper Towel Coupon Headquarters website, depending on how much you use you could be up to $156 poorer for your paper-toweling. But, more to the point, there is a website devoted entirely to accumulating coupons for paper towels. That’s serious motivation.
Now, if you’re a greeny sort of nerd like me, you see people advertising a home-made product they call “un-paper towels” — squares of cloth with natural fibers, high absorption and cute prints and colors. Often they’ll make them with snaps at each corner so you can snap them into a big roll and tear them off like the old-fashioned kind (wink, wink). Cool idea, I think — but when am I ever going to take the time to snap them all together and roll them up? (Brief consultation with self…) Never. Plus I don’t even have the cash right now to buy cute little cloths, even cheap ones.
But what do I have? Well, the other day I was staining some boards for another project (more on that later) and I’ve got a bagful of painter’s rags I never used. Turns out, they were all various non-tidy shapes vaguely going for square, which is perfect for something I use for jobs I used to throw in the trash!
(Reuser beware, though — I did find another leftover bag of painter’s rags which were nice and soft, but all cut in long strips that rolled up into useless ropes. The good ones were in a navy blue plastic bag, that’s all I know!)
So, I took a trip down to my local Thrift Town, nabbed a cute basket in perfect shape (thrift stores are great for random baskets!), and dumped the whole bag in.
Just throw them in with your regular towel laundry or cloth diaper load (if you’re of that persuasion), dry them out in the sun to get out any organic stains, and you’re in business! All this for a charming one-time fee of 49¢ (thank you, Thrift Town). Sure beats $15.99 for two towels and an eco-sack. AND you’re reusing something something that would otherwise get tossed out: double-points! (But maybe I’ll scribble some flowers and write “This is not a tree” on mine. Is that stealing?)
Now, if only I could resist accessorizing with one of these cute little things!
So what worn-down, unused, raggy little cloths do you have headed for the garbage can that you could use? Cut up old sheets for a bed you upsized. Use old washcloths or burp cloths that aren’t good enough to bring out anymore ;)
Next stop: un-toilet paper?? Hmm…. that may be a while off yet!