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.