Our Reusable Home: Part One
For many people switching to reusables in your home can seem like an overwhelming task. We did it slowly product by product and within 6 months our home was mostly paperless. However, we are still making changes almost 4 years later!
The first change we made wasn't really a change--we choose to do cloth diapers before our first child was born. I did a ton of research on the cost to convince my husband--I mean I got nitty gritty I added up the extra cost of laundry detergent, electricity and water that we'd use over the lifetime of washing cloth diapers. We ended up saving about $1500 with the first baby and are on course to save even more with the second!
Want to make it yourself? Check out Arfy's Square Tab One Size Diaper; I make them as covers for my kids and love them!
In conjunction with cloth diapering we also chose to use cloth wipes. I will admit we were much better at doing this with the first baby than with the second! We didn't buy any commercial products for this "change"; I made all the wipes out of 2 layers of flannel fabric. We now also use them in the bath instead of bulky wash cloths. I love our cloth tissues for wipes as well! They are single ply, so soft and great at really getting a clean bottom.
We've never tried the wipes below but they get LOTS of love in the CD community and have been a personal recommendation from one of the most amazing CD moms I know--if I was going to buy a commercial product this would be it!
The next step for us was removing paper towels from the house. After our daughter was born we started to go through paper towels at an outlandish rate--like 2 rolls or more a week. Not only did I not like spending the money on them but holy cow that's a lot of waste! At first I just started buying more kitchen towels. Whenever I'd go to Wal-Mart or Target I'd just grab another pack. The only problem with this was we lived in a tiny less than 1000 sq ft house with a compact kitchen. We didn't have extra counter or drawer space to be storing all these towels! So I hopped on Pinterest to find a space saving solution and found unpaper towels. We've used many iterations of the unpaper towel but after 3 years we landed on our favorite--flannel and birdseye cotton with no snaps. They can be rolled up and put on a paper towel holder or folded and put in a cute basket on the counter. We have sets that range from 3 years old to a year old and they are still going strong. We've saved about $400 by switching to unpaper towels.
Not ready to invest in unpaper towels? We also love:
These are the ones we have in our kitchen!
Cloth napkins were up next. Just like unpaper towels we've used many different types. For the longest time we'd just use our unpaper towels as napkins, however, as our kids are getting bigger I wanted to have a separate cloth napkin stash that is just for the dinner table. Our current favorite is a single ply quilting cotton napkin. We usually end up with all the seconds quality products from the shop so we currently have a crazy mis-match of cloth napkins!
Our newest paperless love is cloth tissues! When my daughter gets a runny nose she could use a box of tissues in one day. She also has sensitive skin and within a few hours of constant wiping her little nose will be 'rudolph the red nosed reindeer' red! In an attempt to save some waste and find something softer I made reusable cloth tissues. They are single ply, super soft flannel, that is perfect replacement for tissues & baby wipes. It's also great for a less bulky washcloth for bath time and for the diaper bag or cold lunch bag--you can wipe hands/faces while out and about when you don't have access to your cloth napkins or unpaper towels!