Aside from pregnancy updates, you may have noticed that blog content around here is a little low lately. Well, I got a little inspiration this morning thanks to Morgan sharing this little gem in my Google Reader: How to Create a Paperless Kitchen.
Stephen and I (Actually, he was the main proponent behind it. What? My formerly registered Republican husband an environmentalist? Huh?), just implemented this in our kitchen not too long ago. I was so excited that I was about to leave the longest comment ever on Morgan’s shared items and then I decided that it would probably just be better if I wrote up a post.
Now the original poster does a very good job of explaining the whys and hows (so you should really go check that out), but I just wanted to talk about how we make this work for us so if any of you are thinking about doing this you can maybe get some more ideas.
When we first started feeding Bean solid foods I set out to just use washcloths to clean her up after meals. This was easy when we lived in a one story house and getting a washcloth just meant a quick trip down the hall to her bedroom. When we moved to TO, however, I got in a really bad habit of using disposable wipes after her meals because going upstairs to get a clean washcloth after a meal (or remembering to bring some down beforehand) and then taking it back up to dispose of in the diaper pail seemed like such a pain, especially after I got pregnant again. I also kept running out of washcloths before it was time to do a load of diapers.
When we sat down to talk about creating a paperless kitchen in our house the solutions to this problem were obvious and simple. I bought a few more packs of washcloths so we wouldn’t run out all the time and started keeping a stack of clean cloths in the drawer where we keep Bean’s bibs. So now I always have some clean cloths handy to clean up with after meal time.
Burp cloths, bibs and wash cloths. This is Bean’s drawer. Sprout has a similar drawer next to it with his stuff.
We were also really bad about using paper for meal times and cleanup. The thing is, we already had plenty of kitchen towels, napkins and other cloth cleaning products, but we were just really bad about using them when a paper towel was right there and so handy. So not having a roll of paper towels out all the time has also help force us to grab the cloth stuff.
My kitchen towel and hot pad drawer.
Microfiber cleaning cloths for heavy duty stuff.
I found these super absorbant cloths at Trader Joe’s. I haven’t really found a use for them yet, but they are there.
These are my somewhat boring collection of cloth napkins that we’ve had ever since we got married. I wish I had some in much more fun prints. I’ll hopefully make/buy some more eventually, but these work for now.
I guess the other big key for us in creating a paperless kitchen was designating a space to put the dirty stuff. Maybe this isn’t such a big deal when you live in a place that is only one story, but it was a big deal in our two story apartment. I did not want to be going up and down the stairs several times a day with dirty dish towels, wash cloths, napkins, etc. Nor did I want these items piled on my small amount of kitchen counter space to be taken up in one big load. I actually stole the solution to this problem from my sister-in-law. When we watched her girls during their Norway vacation I noticed she kept a little laundry basket under the sink for kitchen laundry. Brilliant! I already had a perfect sized basket. It was just a matter of organizing under the sink a little to make room.
I usually grab whatever is in the basket when I am getting ready to do a load of Bean’s diapers and wash it all together. I guess it might seem gross to some people that I’m washing kitchen laundry with diaper laundry, but it IS clean in the end and I don’t really see it as a big deal. So that’s what we do. Plus, I don’t want greasy and food covered laundry getting washed in with the rest of my stuff.
One thing we still use paper for is the occasional big Saturday morning breakfast in order to drain the grease off meat, but other than that I’m proud to say we’ve been happily paper free in our kitchen for a few months now. Hopefully this inspires some of you to do the same.