Please read this old post first.
Today we'll talk about getting rid of 'disposable' paper products, dishcloths, menstrual pads, baby nappies/diapers and plastic shopping bags. This is one area where you can make a big step forward in one quick swoop. Making a commitment to not buying a number of the products you may buy now, like paper towels and paper napkins, will help you on this path. When you start on this you'll realise it's easy and once you start, you might get rid of all your 'disposable' products. If you decide to replace menstrual products or nappies/diapers with homemade alternatives, I recommend my sponsors on the left side bar as a good place to buy from.
Apart from the obvious environmental problems these products cause, using your own homemade alternatives is cheaper and I think using knitted or crocheted dishcloths and cotton napkins makes the home more like a real home. You replace the mass production that is so common nowadays with something that you've thought about and want enough to put your time to making. If you do that with a lot of things that can be replaced around the home, piece by piece you'll build a beautiful home that is unlike any other. Looking around your home to replace disposables can be an exercise in homemaking as well.
The down side of disposables.
Free patterns for dishcloths.
Free patterns for shopping tote bags.
Doing my audit I realised we have been using the cloth napkins and homemade dish cloths and face cloths as if we've always used them. It's normal for us now, and always will be. We still buy toilet paper, paper tissues and plastic wrap and I doubt we'll stop using them, although we are careful with their usage. I'll revisit that statement whenever I do an audit such as this, but for now, they're staying.
Increase your chance of using rags, cotton napkins and tote bags by having them ready to use and easy to find. We keep our tote bags in the car so they're always with us when we go to the supermarket.
I'm still using rags to clean with and I think you increase your potential for success if you have all these things ready to be used. Don't expect to make up rags when you spill something, you'll just go back to the paper towels. Go through your linen cupboard and find an old terry towel. Cut it up into squares with pinking shears and put them in a rag bag near your cleaning kit. Mine hang in a rag bag in the laundry. Everyone knows where to get them and that they are washed after use for most things, but if it's wiped up cat pee or something similar, it's thrown out.
Of course, you could also replace your paraffin candles with little oil lamps. Replacing paraffin, which is a petrochemical, with a sustainable oil like olive oil or rice bran oil, will make your home a little bit greener and safer. Olive oil burns clean with no smoke or smell. I made this small test lamp, it is running on olive oil, and as soon as I test drive some new home made wicks, I'll do a tutorial on it.
I am making no changes in this part of my audit at this time.
Some things to think about:
- Are you ready to stop buying disposables?
- If you are, use up what you have at home, and start preparing rags and making napkins and dishcloths and whatever else you want to try.
- Remember, there is no guilt in the audit. If you can't let these things go now, promise yourself you'll think about it again later in the year. You might be ready then.
- These activities make a powerful statement - for the environment, for your purse and for the life you intend to live.