When we brought our baby home from the hospital it was an unbelievable shock how much paper product we went through. We were using wipes and paper towels like they were going out of style. I talked to other new moms and they would remark how they needed to buy stock in paper towels.

Then we started to realize how much money we spent on these items. We were trying to focus on getting out of debt and saving money. We had also considered ourselves a green, environmentally-friendly household, which meant we needed to reduce our waste! We needed to reuse!

What Products Can You Reuse You Aren’t Thinking Of?
Let’s just start with our daily routine. (That’s where we looked). What was being thrown away a lot that could be substituted with something else? Our first item was napkins, along with paper towels. Spills on the counter were paper towels, wiping the counter after dinner was paper towels, spill on the floor was paper towels, wiping of hands and body was paper towels or paper napkins. There was just a lot of paper cleaning products.

It’s truly amazing when you realize that you don’t need any of those products (well almost none). We still keep a couple of paper towels on hand for a few things – like dog vomit, human vomit or blood situations. However, we have gone to re-usable for the rest.



What Can You Use Instead
Do you own a nice pair of fabric napkins or linens you take out for Thanksgiving? They might be special so you might not want to have those for daily use, however, the same concept applies. Fabric napkins are awesome for wiping up food on hands and face, and also quick nose wipes on little ones or a small spill. Easy.

Tip: Keep a small laundry bin in your kitchen closet and minimize your wash. Have enough for the whole week so you only have to do one load of napkins and towels a week. I do these items in a load with our bathroom rugs.

What about those big messes or the counter tops?
Another great product and brand to go green with is Norwex! Their kitchen cloth is amazing. This cloth can clean up spills, the inside of your sink, your counter, your interior and exterior of your refrigerator, and it can clean a stove top and stove exterior! All you need is a few of these for your week.

Tip: They do require you wash them with lint-free laundry only and be sure you only use biodegradable soap. Norwex offers a dishwashing liquid or their laundry detergent.


More Reusable Ideas
Instead of disposable paper or styrofoam plates for small gatherings, have a set of small dishwasher safe plate ware to use for gatherings. Of course, some summer BBQ just need disposable so that works, but for those regular small gatherings reusable saves. It saves you a ton of money and it saves the environment. You can buy plate sets at Dollar Tree, and sometimes even better deals from Goodwill.

The same thing applies to utensils for smaller gatherings. Once again, sometimes you just want to go all disposable. But for those intimate gatherings, like birthdays, you could just use your silverware and save money.

DIY Your Own Napkins
For everyday napkin use, you want something that will clean up your (kid’s) face, hands, and some light spills. If you are a crafty person you can easily look into your stash and find some material to use.

I literally just took a handful of odds and ends and cut them to the size I wanted. I made some smaller squares and then made some longer rectangles. I simply just folded each edge under and seamed them. That’s it! I washed them all after sewing and put them to use. We have been using these for years now and they clean right up.



If you didn’t have fabric from a stash (we just used cotton prints), you could go to the local fabric store and choose any type of cotton or linen (even better if you don’t mind spending a bit extra). You could even make your own smaller towel versions if you wanted.

Just want to buy them? Totally get that. Check out Dollar Tree, clearance at Target, or Walmart. Even a place discount store like Ollie’s has fabric napkins and placemats.

Drying Dishes and Hands in the Kitchen
You could make your own towels, but one thing to keep in mind with a kitchen towel that is reused is that it holds/spreads your germs until laundered. If you want some amazing towels that will clean your hands and your dishes, try out the Norwex Kitchen Towels, and the Dish Cloth. These have their BacLock system that removes the germs and locks them in. It won’t spread the germs around while you use it.

Keep your surfaces and the environment clean. You will save a ton of money on paper products while reusing at home. What do you do to save on paper products and reuse in your home?


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Kate Bryant

Kate is a mother, wife, writer, and more! Her writing has been on Huffington Post Parents Blog, The Mighty, as well as other publications.