Saving Paper

This morning, the heavens opened over L.A.
And this morning, I awoke to the glorious sound of rain -- not from the outside, tapping on the window, but from inside, dripping into my windowsill. ::sigh::

Fortunately, the windowsill is wide and the rain was only leaking in through a relatively small hole, so there was no major problem, but we were still a little miffed ("what hasn't gone wrong in our apartment" was the phrase of the morning). There was one positive outcome of the rainy windowsill, though: I got the opportunity to save a great deal of paper towels by reusing a dirty bath towel. The windowsill, you see, is pretty dingy (the fires in L.A. left a huge dust deposit) and I was sorely tempted to take advantage of the water to clean up the sill and dry at the same time, with paper towels. Instead, I achieved the same goal with a brown bath towel that won't show the dirt. Though this seems like a small accomplishment, to me, it's a major leap.

I grew up cleaning up all messes with paper towels, no matter how extensive. Paper towels, of course, have their place: they're great for bug killing (I actually cut up paper towels to make tiny, bug-killing swatches) and they're fabulous for wiping up staining spills (more on that in a moment), but, by and large, they are a nuisance about which I feel guilty.
So, I am attempting to switch off my paper towel addiction. By enriching my already plentiful stock of dish towels, I hope to keep the kitchen paper-free. I hope to hit up some thrift stores for new-to-me items and, when they're stained beyond recognition, I plan to donate them to either the rag pile or an animal shelter where they'll use the towels as bedding for lonesome animals.

Part of my reluctance to use non-paper towels, especially in the kitchen, is my intolerance for stains. Slowly, though, I am learning to let go. A stained kitchen towel is not a sign of weakness or any other negative. Instead, it is a positive, healthy, natural progression in a paper-free kitchen. I can be proud of my stained towels for the positive impact they'll make on my environmental efforts. And, if I'm feeling a little less proud, maybe I can set aside a few towels for when company comes over.

Fortunately, most of our towels are hand-me-downs from my mother and are already colorful, so a little staining won't make a huge difference.


Sharon J said...

I used towels in the kitchen for years and see the stains as proof of their use. As far as I'm concerned, if everything's pristine then it can't possibly be used much. I still use paper towels for oil spills though.

psuklinkie said...

@Sharon J: True, towel stains suggest usage, but when future MIL comes over and won't touch my "dirty" towels, then I may have a problem!
Kudos to you for switching to towels so long ago!