Amy Clark

Disposing of the Disposable Items

Frankly, I am pretty tired of being home. We have been in the house for the entire month of January, due to our entire family being sick, and finally everyone is starting to feel better…and there is a weather advisory today. I had gotten up and gotten the kids ready for the day, made plans to join my grandmother for lunch, and then noticed that my son’s school had been cancelled. Despite our disappointment, this feels like it has been a month of accomplishments, as we have tried to tackle some stuff around the house. Some of the things that I have gotten done are:

1. My laundry is caught up. Everything has been washed and even has been put away (only a mother would know how hard that is to do!) I even did a little ironing while I watched television this weekend. I have been home too long when I am now ironing my dish towels.

2. When I do my laundry, I throw all of our socks into their own basket. Then when I have gotten all of the loads done, I sit and sort socks. Sometimes this never happens. This week…it happened! So sad when there is so much joy over accomplishing that.

3. Organized the area around my phone as I got a “new” organizer from Goodwill and filled it with all of the random junk that had been laying on a table. I made a little message board, which I will share for a future entry, and felt a good sense of accomplishment over that.

4. I made Valentine’s with my son. More on that in a future entry…

5. Ripped out our entire closet and reorganized it. My husband did all of the hard work doing the putting together of everything and then I organized all of the clothes and weeded through everything that needed to be donated to charity. I even pieced together some new outfits for my husband to give him some new ideas. I have a lot of fun doing that kind of thing and sometimes it helps to have another set of eyes to your clothes to make you realize all that you do have. With everything now being accessible without a stool (as I am five-foot-nothing) I now have everything in reach and have found items in my closet that I had even forgot I had.

6. Cleaned out every single one of my purses. Ended up with almost eight dollars in change, three lipsticks, and a pair of sunglasses. I always scoff at people who tell me that they found money lying around their house that they didn’t know they had. Eight dollars of change proves that I was the one who should have been looking!

7. Wrote a new article on frugal storage solutions. I will let everyone know when we post that!

I did want to share one system that we have incoporated into our home, that might be useful to you. One of the biggest questions I get is how we can feed our family of four for only $200 a month (including paper products). There are long and lengthy answers to that, but one of the main things that I have found is to dispose of the disposable items. Now I know not everyone is up for cloth diapering, but there are other disposable items that you might be buying that are wasting precious grocery dollars. Items like paper plates, paper cups, plastic cutlery, paper bags, napkins, & paper towels can drain the budget quickly.

Instead of wasting your money on these items, do an extra load of dishes and just use the dishes you already have in your house. Paper towels can be replaced by microfiber cloths, dish towels, dish rags. Finally, paper napkins can be replaced with cloth napkins.
You can make your own cloth napkins (as my friend Shannon, from Rocks in My Dryer, has suggested) with NO sewing skills required. If you are unmotivated or just love the look of a vintage cloth napkin, check your local thrift store for cloth napkins. I can get my cloth napkins for a quarter each at our thrift store, so it is definitely worth it compared to the amounts we save.

Since I had plenty of time this week, I actually gathered all of the cloth napkins we already had and put them in a basket. The basket is resting on my kitchen counter as a reminder to us all to use these instead of the disposable napkins.

My girlfriend had suggested a brilliant idea, which has helped motivate me further to use the cloth napkins. Underneath your sink, store a basket for all of the baby bibs, dish towels, dish rags (and in our house), cloth napkins. When the basket is full, or when I do a load of towels, I just throw them in the wash. It also makes removing the tablecloth easier, as I can just fold that and throw it in the basket too.

If you are not completely sold on doing the cloth napkins for every meal, start out small and use them for dinner only. You will soon find how easy it is to care for them and the benefits it will provide to your grocery budget.

Published February 05, 2007 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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