about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



Celebrating Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day!  I like to joke that every day feels like Earth Day here in Seattle.  Every restaurant, coffee shop, and bakery has a complicated waste disposal system of recycling, composting, and sorting.  Even the farmer’s markets typically have separate recycling and compost buckets.  It’s great to live in a place that is both literally and figuratively so GREEN!

My Earth Day pledge this year is to try to keep this basil plant alive.  I bought him on Wednesday, and I’ve only had to revive him once so far, so we’re off to a good start.

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My mom has this amazing green thumb, and I don’t know how it totally passed me by.  She’s the type of person that keeps plants for years – rotating them inside and outside seasonally, and spending hours watering her garden in the summers.  I am lucky to keep something alive for one entire season, but maybe this year will be different!

In celebration of Earth Day, I thought it might be fun to share one of the ways that we are being a bit greener in our house.  There are a lot of ways we try to reduce our environmental impact as a family – cloth diapering, commuting on the bus, using chemical-free household products, making some of our own cleaners, etc.  Of course, there are also areas where we could really stand to improve – we drive way too much, don’t compost at home, and we buy too many things in bulky packaging at Trader Joe’s. 

But there is one big change we’ve made this year that has greatly reduced the amount of waste in our house…

We have eliminated paper towels

They are so convenient and easy to grab for quick messes and spills, but I was starting to cringe at the frequency of giant 12-packs I was hauling home from the grocery store.  So last year, we started a new system and tossed our towels for the last time.  I picked up two of these waste sorting bins from Ikea for about $12 a piece.  They are the perfect small size for fitting in the cabinet underneath our kitchen sink.

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I also picked up three of these ten-packs of cheap washcloths (for $5 a piece).  So two trashcans + wash rags = a total investment of about $40.  Very affordable when you consider how much it has saved over the course of a year. 

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We keep the bins under the kitchen sink – the left one filled with clean rags, and the bin in the right waiting to be filled with them once they are dirty.  I also use the dirty bin for Cullen’s bibs after mealtimes, as well as dirty dish towels – it makes laundry more efficient.

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Every few days, I grab the dirty bin and wash it on our sanitize setting – to make sure we get rid of all the gross germs from food and dirt.  Having 30 clean rags has turned out to be a good number – it can definitely last us a whole week if needed. 

When you just use one paper towel at a time, it’s easy to feel like it’s a small thing.  But in our house, especially with dogs and kids, we were using them way more often than we realized.  I often found myself feeling guilty for grabbing a whole paper towel for something as simple as wiping Cullen’s nose.  Now that we have washable, reusable rags, I don’t care how many I use at one time, because I know I can just throw them in the washing machine and start over. 

Here are just some of the many different ways we use them:

  • wiping dog paws after a rainy trip to the backyard
  • wiping Cullen’s hands and mouth after meals
  • wiping runny toddler noses
  • wiping down kitchen countertops
  • dusting other areas of the house
  • drying wet pots and pans
  • cleaning windows and glass doors
  • wiping up spills/dirt on the floor

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It’s a small change that has made a big difference for us as a family, and hopefully a difference in our environmental impact as well!

Happy Earth Day!

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103 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Deborah     at 3:09 pm

I started something similar for spills and household clean up but I can’t seem to make the jump to wiping my nose or drying a dish with a rag that I could have used to wipe up a grimy bathroom floor. Did this bother you at all? I will have to try putting them under the sink, finding an easy location was tough with little hands always exploring.

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Emily Malone Reply:

The key for me is dong the sanitize setting when I wash them! Then I don’t worry about leftover gross dog paw germs on a rag I might use to dry a clean pan.

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That Girl Reply:

I too feel kind of icky about this. My solution is to have dedicated dish cloths (which are super absorbent), cheap white rags that I bought from costco, and cheap Ikea dish cloths. The cheapie white ones are for cleaning: floors, the toilet, cleaning the carpet after pet accidents, etc. Nice dish cloths are only for drying hands & drying dishes & I always keep one out for each purpose. The Ikea dish cloths are for medium-soiled things: spilling water on the counter, everyday cloth napkins, etc. I wash the rags separately, & everything else usually gets thrown in together with bathroom hand towels, etc.

Additionally, I keep a roll of recycled paper towels around for parties & drying off meat/bacon. Last year we used only one roll. It was great!

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moira Reply:

I’m impressed “that girl”

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Marie     at 3:11 pm

This post actually led to a nice conversation with my boyfriend. We will adopt your system! He admitted that growing up, his mom never used paper towel. It’s only since he is by himself that he uses them. Well, we are going green! And maybe save some $$$, paper towels get easily pricey. Thanks!

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Emily Malone Reply:

This makes me so happy! :)

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Gina     at 3:15 pm

I love this idea! Pretty sure we’ve gone through a whole roll of PT in one day before:/

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Emily Malone Reply:

It is easy to do!

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Ali @ Ali Eats Clean     at 3:27 pm

Your basil plant looks fabulous! I bought one last Sunday and it was flat out dead by Wednesday.

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Cate     at 3:27 pm

We’ve been paper towel free for years… I keep a big pile of cut up old T-shirt and a couple kinds of towels in a bin in the kitchen and it works really well. I hope this post encourages a lot more people to try not using them!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Good idea on the old t-shirts! Love it!

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Ashley     at 3:33 pm

This is such a GREAT idea!!! We’ve cut down our paper towel usage but haven’t completely eliminated it. This looks like the way to do it! I think the key is having the towels in the kitchen and not stacked in another room. Our back door (and main entryway) is right at the kitchen, so this is the location where the most messes happen. Thanks, Em!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yes, totally. Has to be as EASY as possible, or it becomes a hassle!

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Erin     at 3:34 pm

We’ve been trying to do something similar, too, though there’s one thing I just can’t use a reusable rag for: cleaning up cat pee (which we, sadly, have to do very often). That smell is just SO potent and long-lasting. We’ve tried to use towels we can then clean/sanitize, but it never fully works. Other than that, though, we don’t use paper towels!

One other thing we’ve done for years now is to use cloth napkins instead of paper. I bought some CHEAP ones at Target, and we just use them and wash them–they’re not very attractive, but who cares? We’ve been using the same ones for over 4 years now and only ONE is showing signs of wear!

And–like you–I just throw all of our rags into a basket and dump it into the washer once a week. Works great!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Man cat pee is so stinky. I don’t really blame you. We have an emergency few rolls left over that are used for extreme dog poo situations. :)

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Theresa     at 3:49 pm

What a great idea! I was just thinking about how many paper towels we use in our house. It’s crazy. I buy the smaller, half sheet ones, but your idea is so great! The only downside is, we live in San Francisco, and have a quarter washing machiene in our garage.

SF is also very green. Now it’s weird to walk into a Pete’s coffee, or other establishment, and find only a trash bin, no recycling or compost. Hopefully other cities will start following suite.

Happy Earth Day!

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Ashleigh     at 3:49 pm

This is definitely one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” moments! Brilliant idea! I’ll definitely be doing this :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yay! Hope it works out!

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Tara     at 4:04 pm

I really want a basil plant, nothing like fresh basil at your fingertips! I might make the jump this week.

Seattle is similar to San Francisco in the eco-friendly way I think. We have three bins at our house (garbage, recycle, compost) and the public pushes really heavy on putting your waste in the right bins at cafes/hospitals/etc. You can even get fined if you’re not recycling!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Same here with the fines!

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Andrea     at 4:12 pm

Yes! Great post! We’ve greatly reduced our paper towel use (we are on our last and final roll!)I had the same epiphany a few months of ago. I started with making sure I had plenty of hand towels for drying hands- which was a HUGE waster of paper towels. I pretty much did the same thing as far of every day wipe and spill rags. I like to buy plain white wash cloths for general purpose so they get their own sanitized wash as well. Dog has his own towel- it gets washed with all the dog/cat bedding blankets (hairy little sobs)… lol

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Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 4:17 pm

We do this too! Except not as organized :) I was also disgusted with our paper towel habit. Great tip!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I figure with the cloth diapers, what is one more load of laundry, right? :)

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Verna     at 4:20 pm

We’re strictly cloth napkins, here! I can’t quite give up paper towels yet, but I’ve cut back A LOT on them!

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Lee     at 4:21 pm

I tried to do this once before and, embarrassingly, got lazy about it and started buying paper towels again. You’re right though; it’s an easy thing to do to reduce waste.

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Katie     at 4:24 pm

Love this post, Emily! I have looked at some of the bamboo reusable paper towels online but wasn’t impressed with only having one roll. Your system/concept makes way more sense and I can see being so much more managable to stick to! Definitely adding this to my ‘spring cleaning/organizing’ to-do list! :-)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yay, hope you like it!

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Amy     at 4:29 pm

Yes! We try to only use paper towels for cleaning up after our cats. A few years ago I went through a phase where I knitted about a dozen cotton dishrags and they get a LOT of use. I should make some more this summer …

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Leanne     at 4:33 pm

I heard about a shooting that happened there this morning or last night, in Seattle. Did you hear anything abou that? I know this has nothing to do with your post, but I hope everythings okay.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh wow, really!?! I didn’t hear anything today, and we are all fine. Thanks for your concern though — scary!!

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Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings     at 4:34 pm

I’ve started doing this, this month and have noticed how much less I’m spending on paper towels! I keep some around for things that are raw and I don’t want to spread germs but otherwise I’ve been using towels and washing them and love it! I also didn’t get passed down the green thumb and wish I had ;)

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Jane @ Not Plain So Jane     at 4:37 pm

I’m 1/2 way there. Paper towels are just so convenient though. Having clear “Dirty” and “Clean” bins definitely make it easier.

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Lindsey     at 4:43 pm

I love this idea. I wonder, though, how the energy and water use for washing your towels compares to just using paper. I know for cloth diapers it usually comes down to whether the diapers are line dried or machine dried and the temperature of the wash water. (Using hot water to wash and drying with a machine uses a lot of energy!) Just another thought to add to the discussion…

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Liz Reply:

I was wondering the same thing about energy savings…

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Emily Malone Reply:

Here’s what I replied below! “I definitely don’t have any hard numbers on it, but with energy efficient machines, I think the difference is still substantial. And while washing/drying definitely uses up energy, it doesn’t add any additional waste, which is important too. I also wash the rags along with our other kitchen towels and Cullen’s bibs, which I would need to wash anyway, so it doesn’t really add much more additional work/environmental cost than we’d be doing anyway. That’s how I look at it!”

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Amy Reply:

I’m also curious about this….that was the first thing I thought of when she said “now I don’t care how many I use at once!” but I don’t know how energy for washing and drying vs. paper waste compare…. Emily?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I definitely don’t have any hard numbers on it, but with energy efficient machines, I think the difference is still substantial. And while washing/drying definitely uses up energy, it doesn’t add any additional waste, which is important too. I also wash the rags along with our other kitchen towels and Cullen’s bibs, which I would need to wash anyway, so it doesn’t really add much more additional work/environmental cost than we’d be doing anyway. That’s how I look at it!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Agreed, and I figured someone would chime in with that thought. Here’s what I replied below: “I definitely don’t have any hard numbers on it, but with energy efficient machines, I think the difference is still substantial. And while washing/drying definitely uses up energy, it doesn’t add any additional waste, which is important too. I also wash the rags along with our other kitchen towels and Cullen’s bibs, which I would need to wash anyway, so it doesn’t really add much more additional work/environmental cost than we’d be doing anyway. That’s how I look at it!”

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That Girl Reply:

Another thing to keep in mind is what kind of bleach you use, if any. I think most paper towels (& toilet paper too!) are bleached white with a chlorine bleach. If you’re just sanitizing the cloths you wash, or using a non-chlorine bleach, that’s an added benefit to not using paper towels.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Good point! We’re just sanitizing with a hot steam setting, so no additional harsh chemicals needed (or bleach, like you said!). Thanks!

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Deanna     at 4:48 pm

I LOVE that idea! I often cringe at the number of paper towels I use too, so this is something I am definitely going to try as well!! Good luck with the basil plant – I have never been able to keep one alive. They can be so temperamental! But you can do it!

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eep     at 4:57 pm

I love this and will use it to tweak our current system. My only question, and it is part of the problem I have with our current routine, is what about the funky wet wash rag smell? Do your bins have lids? Is the smell horrific when you open the cabinet? Should I be doing laundry more often?

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Emily Malone Reply:

No lids on the bins – I think that would make the smell worse, actually! More likely to mildew. They really don’t stink until I dump the actual bin into the dryer, but at that point they are getting ready to be sanitized. I wash them 1-2x a week!

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Victoria     at 5:08 pm

This is so great. I’m moving in a month or so and have been thinking about ways that I can really be the most eco-friendly in my new space. I will definitely be adopting this!

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 5:31 pm

I definitely don’t have a green thumb! Love this post.

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moira     at 5:38 pm

My husband and I are moving into a house soon and will be sure to implement this system. Thank you for sharing!

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Sarah     at 6:06 pm

I love this post!! Thanks for the tips!

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Alison     at 6:47 pm

I started doing this last year simply because I was sick of buying and storing paper towels and napkins. One thing I’ve learned is to keep a roll on hand for emergencies (I once ended up cleaning up vomit with cloth rags — soooo gross to rinse out) and for deeper cleaning like bathrooms. I bought some thin dish towels from the dollar store and cut them in half with pinking shears and they are the perfect size. I just keep them folded in a basket by the sink. Such an easy switch!

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Emily Malone Reply:

We do have a few leftover backup rolls for extreme dog poop situations. :)

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Sarah G     at 6:54 pm

Oh, thank you so much! We rarely use paper towels, but our towel system is a mess. Gross, smelly rags on the counters, hanging to dry in the bathroom or over countertops… and a drawer overstuffed with the clean clothes (all the time to fold those suckers….) I am so excited about this bin organizing system! So easy! I’m doing this ASAP :-)

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Emma     at 8:00 pm

In my family our rags are mostly our old cloth diapers- hang onto to them!

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Emily Malone     at 8:36 pm

test

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Angie     at 8:49 pm

I never thought about doing this. Thanks for tip and I can’t wait to do this. We waste so many paper towels and I hate finding them around the house.

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kristonlion     at 10:09 pm

I think this is a genius idea!

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Michelle@Peachy Palate     at 12:33 am

I just bought another basil plant myself…I’ve lost count of how many I’ve killed off to date! I hope my green thumb comes in to play this time around to keep it alive!

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Alice R.     at 1:09 am

Great system!
Don’t feel bad about not being able to keep a basil plant alive in the window; they are not really happy indoors. Use them up! That amount of basil leaves can go quickly. Yum!

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Kristen @ Change of Pace     at 3:18 am

Paper towels are way too convenient. I use multiple a day… Your usage definitely goes up with you’ve got messy kiddos. This is a genius idea girl!

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Simply Life     at 4:03 am

great idea! thanks for sharing!

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BB     at 5:07 am

I made the switch a few years ago and have been very happy with it too. I’m saving a fortune on paper towels! I ended up picking microfiber cloths and they do such a nice job on every kind of surface. Once they get really ragged they go out in the garage to wash and wax cars and for shop rags.

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Stephanie     at 5:30 am

This towel system is a great idea! Little changes like that become big changes over time. You’re an inspiration, thanks for the post!

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Holly     at 5:58 am

I like this idea. Do you need to dry the rags on a hot setting? We line dry almost everything except for bedding and bath towels to prevent mildew. I assume I would need to dry these as well?

(I was also concerned about energy usage as some of the others have noted.)

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Sara     at 6:13 am

We use mostly towels. We keep paper towels for some quick things or really grimy messes, but we hardly use them. They last a long time! We use dish towels to clean counters, dry pots and pans, for spills and messes and for when we eat dinner, we use them instead of napkins. It works! I too can’t make the transition to using towels for all cleaning (like the toilet). We have terry towels we use to clean up dog throw up and sometimes for the bathrooms so we don’t mix them with the other towels, but often I’ll just use paper towels for cleaning the bathroom. We use the select-a-size so we don’t use a big sheet for small spills too. Wow this comment is all over the place!

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Sara Reply:

Oh and our washer doesn’t have a sanitize setting, so we just wash them in warm (because the hot setting is way too hot!)

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Kris     at 6:43 am

Congrats on your solution!! I wish more people would be so conscientious. We lived in Germany where almost everything is recyled or composted, and I’m constantly dismayed by how little regard Americans have for our planet and the footprint they leave. I go through little in the way of paper products, recycle everything I can, and constantly look for ways to be more energy efficient and to minimize waste. My go to towels are a big bag of microfiber ones which work great all around the house.

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Shannan     at 6:44 am

Do you ever find that things to start to smell? I tried storing our used wash clothes, dishtowels, etc under a cabinet and they start to get a gross smell. It could be that we weren’t washing them as often since, with just two people, it took a little longer to fill up.

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Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages     at 7:03 am

I love this idea! I love with roommates (only for one more week!) and one of them (who I love) uses a ridiculous amount of paper towels. She even uses them to dry her hands which makes me nuts since there are (clean) dishtowels right in the kitchen!

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sarah     at 7:07 am

Great idea! We are moving on Thursday and I’m planning on revamping so many of our household processes. Cant wait to implement this one!

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Erin Hack     at 8:21 am

What a great idea – Thank you for sharing your green wisdom! :) Good luck with the basil plant – I have already killed two this year! Luckily they get new life in our compost bin so I don’t feel quite so bad…

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Marty     at 8:21 am

Great idea! I might have to try this!

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Kiley     at 8:22 am

We’ve been paper towel-less for about 2 years now and it’s been great. I bought a dozen really pretty cloth napkins at Anthro (on clearance) and I keep the clean ones (along with some favorite vintage dish cloths) folded ina basket on my counter. So easy and so much lovelier to look at. I HATED paying for paper towels and lugging them around. But, truth be told, when I’m in someone else’s kitchen and they have paper towels, I want to wrap myself up in them! Ha! Still, I’m so glad I made the switch.

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Andrea     at 8:42 am

This rag system is a great idea. Thanks Emily!!!

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Michelle (The Runner's Plate)     at 9:14 am

I would love to live in a city that was super green. There are people in Anchorage who are green, but as a whole the city is FAR behind.

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Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls     at 11:22 am

That is a great idea! I too shudder when I think about how many paper towels we go through cleaning up, and after, a toddler.

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Amber B     at 12:36 pm

Totally stealing this idea! I was trying to figure out where to keep a separate laundry basket for all the used clean-up towels – but under the sink is perfect! Genius.

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Laura-Ashley     at 1:51 pm

See, this is why I love your blog! Not only do I love reading about your stories, but I know I will reference your posts for years to come. Thank you!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks! :)

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Heidi     at 2:29 pm

I love this! I’ve been wanting to cut paper towels. This is the push I needed! Thanks for letting us in on your secret. ;)

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Ella     at 5:09 pm

I love this – it’s just so old school! It always makes me laugh when revolutionary new “green” ideas are touted and they’re just stuff our grandmas did, like using rags for cleaning and homemade cleaning supplies and reusing jars etc and composting to add to garden soil (not to mention growing gardens!) and on and on! Not that I do all of these things but they make me smile!

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dynamics     at 6:25 pm

I have so many cloth napkins I switched to using them instead of paper napkins. They are so thin it does not take any more resources to wash.

Emily, My concern is with wet towels in the bottom of the trash can. Do they get really stinky and mildewy and get bugs? I know in the winter typically houses are colder but in the hot summer? Yikes. I know using a dish rag and it gets smelly just sitting on the sink after a day or two.

I have a clothes line and I love it. Diapers come out so white and fresh smelling after blowing in the breeze all day.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We’ve never had bugs, and really not much problem with stink. But I always wash on the sanitize setting just to make sure all the germs are gone. Worth noting though that we don’t get as hot here in the summer (we don’t even have AC!), so perhaps that makes a difference.

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dynamics Reply:

That makes total sense. I am going to try this and see how it does. Great Idea Emily!

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Gena     at 6:44 pm

Is there a reason why you dont do many recipes anymore? This blog seems like a collection of your day to day activities like a personal journal or something…just to keep the income rolling in…you claim to be a vegetarian chef however with all honesty your recipes aren’t as creative as other sites and your selection of deserts is quite bland…its the same banana bread all over again…it seems like your site is just about you…trying to eat healthy & exercise to maintain your weight…its not inspiring when it comes to the recipe section…this post might sound offensive however just wanted to provide you with some insight!

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Emily Malone Reply:

This blog is a reflection of my life, so as life changes, I expect the content, posting frequency, etc. to change with it. I definitely plan to still post recipes. I haven’t cooked as much recently, because I’ve felt pretty uninspired in the kitchen, and I see no need to pass boring, predictable food on to you guys. Although it sounds like you aren’t a big fan of my food to begin with, so perhaps you are not missing much. :) While I think I have something of my own to offer, we can agree that there are many, MANY creative and fabulous cooks out there.

I’m surprised you see this as a place about me trying to eat healthy and “maintain my weight” – since I haven’t really written (or thought about) any of that in several years. If anything, it’s much more a discussion of finding a healthy balance while starting a family, and navigating the ins and outs of being a new parent.

Finally, you call it a personal journal, and I’d tend to agree with you. Isn’t that how blogs initially started? This place is still something I love and value, but I’m also doing a number of other projects as well. I do a lot of outside projects for Babble these days, in addition to my regular posting there, which keeps me busy. And yes, of course I am trying to “keep the income rolling in” — aren’t we all? Whether you see my work as credible or valuable or not, the bottom line is that it helps support my family, and it gives me a creative outlet and many outside opportunities.

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Kathy Reply:

I totally disagree with Gena’s comments. You offer a wide variety of things on your blog; Your lifestyle, your family, your exercising, your travels, a little bit of everything. Grant it, it isn’t the same blog you started how many years ago, but neither is your life! Everything evolves and so does this blog. We don’t come here simply to read about your recipes or your food. Over time, we have all come to know you almost personally and enjoy reading about what life is offering you. God has truly blessed you and your family and I myself really enjoy your writings. Its the first thing I do every morning. I’m always anxious to see what is going on in your world!! (That’s my 2 cents!!) :)

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Ellen     at 8:01 pm

I’ve been contemplating alternatives for paper towels and you definitely make it seem doable! Thanks for the inspiration.

I wanted to mention — don’t base your green thumb entirely on TJ’s basil plants. I have a fairly successful veggie and flower garden but still have trouble with their basil plants. I still keep buying them though :) I justify that the amount of basil is good for the price, and you don’t have to use it all at ONCE!

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dynamics Reply:

I bring it right home and transplant it into a bigger pot and nurse it for a day or two and it does so much better. I think the roots are all bound up in the tiny pot you buy it in. If you can try it and see if it helps.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Agreed! For $2.99 even if the plant dies, the basil leaves alone are worth that price!

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Kathy     at 9:51 am

We tried the paper towel swap for awhile, but we are such habit hounds. I bought cheap dishclothes to line dishes when we would make something fried (to absorb the grease) and tried to get used to wiping up spills with rags, but we just couldn’t get into a regular habit. It just felt odd. Plus as mentioned, we have to deal occasionally with dog & cat accidents. I might try your method of having bins available and having a large enough supply of rags on hand. We use a ton of paper towels. We also went a round of trying to recycle our garbage. I had bins all over the place & it just seemed so messy looking. We had a bin for glass, one for cardboard, one for paper and one for regular garbage. We simply don’t have any place to “hide” that many bins, so it didn’t pan out as well as expected. But I may try again.

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Brittany Long     at 11:03 am

Hi Emily!

I started doing this myself close to a year ago. Although, I have dogs too, and it seems like the dog hair always sticks to these rags – maybe from the dryer? So, don’t use them on dishes or anything I eat off of. Have you had this same experience? Any tips?

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Emily Malone Reply:

We haven’t had dog hair issues, but both my dogs have really short, coarse hair. Doesn’t stick much to clothes either (which is so nice!).

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Karen     at 8:55 am

Emily, I rarely comment on (but always enjoy) your posts. I loved reading so many of your pre-Cullen posts, how you wrote them, what you wrote about, all those insights, etc. I must say, I have grown to love your posts even more and more, how you wrote them, what you wrote about, all those insights, as life evolves for you and for me as your reader. I love that you keep plenty private and love what you do share. It just gets better and better and we are your readers are excited that to continue, just as you are.

[Reply]

Rachel     at 10:53 am

I was paper-towel free for many years. And then I got cats, one of whom is a puker, and the paper towels came back. That’s all I use them for (well, and pressing tofu!), but it still feels like I go through far too many.

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Anna     at 12:21 pm

I do the same thing! It started with wiping my toddlers face after meals and has now become a paper towel free lifestyle. I used old baby towels cut up and some old washcloths. When we are done I leave them in a wet bag on the counter — bibs too. So easy and better than the paper version.

[Reply]

Sarah     at 2:54 pm

At the beginning of the year I started making my own cleaners and got rid of paper towels as well!!! Love the switch so much and such an easy switch to do. Love this post. I hope you share more of what you do. Do you compost by any chance??

[Reply]

Lauren @ vegology     at 1:27 pm

1. I have decided that we will adopt this method in our house too. This makes me really excited because I hate how many paper towels we go through. 2. Please announce on next April 1st that your house is now toilet paper free and explain your methods.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Haha that is definitely taking it too far. :)

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Suzanne     at 8:16 am

You have inspired me! My husband, raised by an absolutely wonderful man who used no less than 4 paper towels at a time, is also on board. It’s so easy! And now I don’t try to tear of a tiny piece of paper towel on an effort to conserve when I can just use a dedicated rag.

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