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Reduce, reuse, recycle is a great way to think about being eco-friendly. We have all been educated on recycling and reusing; but, reducing can be more challenging. Especially when you are talking about paper waste in your home… Watch this video for some #SmartSteps that will save money and paper.

(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at http://bit.ly/lmpaper.)

 

Hi, I’m organizing and lifestyle expert Lorie Marrero creator of the Clutter Diet. I have five eco-friendly smart steps for you today. I want to share with you the best smartest ways to do things. I’d like for you to share back in the comments. Today we’re going to talk about ways to save the use of paper in your life. I have five examples for you of how I do that here at home. It saves some money and probably some time somewhere. Mostly, I think it’s just a better way. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

First, I have three examples for you here in the laundry room. I have a stack here of cleaning rags. I bought these in the automotive department of a discount store because I wanted some very dedicated rags for cleaning that were all the same that I would know exactly what they were for when I was doing the laundry. If you want to make your own rags and you’re going to cut up towels to do that, my recommendation is to draw a big X on them in permanent marker so that when you’re doing the laundry you’ll know that they’re rags and nobody’s going to think that they are a towel and put them back in the linen closet with the regular linens.

Get a stack of dedicated rags for cleaning and then you’ll always have an alternative to paper towels when you need to clean up something. They’re so inexpensive you can recycle them or whatever you can do in your area. One of the ways that I use these cleaning rags is that I don’t purchase the Swiffer refills. I purchased the Swiffer mop itself. Then I wet these and I can put whatever eco-friendly cleaning solution I want on them. I tuck these into the holes on back of the Swiffer and use them the same way. I can wash these and reuse them. They work perfectly. Hopefully, that helps you.

The other thing that I do here in the laundry room is that I have a dedicated stack of fabric softener cloths. Instead of buying fabric softener sheets like Bounce that you would use and then dispose. I bought this stack of yellow washcloths also at a discount store extremely cheap, way cheaper than a box of Bounce. I wanted them to be an unusual color so I bought this bright yellow so that I wouldn’t mix them up with anything. I wrote an S on them for softener. What I do is I get a container of liquid fabric softener. I open the lid and quickly go like this every once in a while and I throw one in. I don’t wash them. I just keep reusing them. They’re very very soft with fabric softener on them. I can throw these in and use them again and again.

In the kitchen, a couple of ways I’ve found to save paper are unpaper towels and cloth napkins. I found these on Etsy and they are so cute. Obviously, you can use cleaning rags like I showed you from the laundry room, but these match my kitchen and they remind me not to use paper towels because they’re on a paper towel dispenser. Go on Etsy and search unpaper towels. You’re going to find a lot of different craftspeople who make them, all different kinds of designs. What you’re looking for is something that snaps together with, I guess what they use for diapers. They’re plastic diaper snaps and they won’t scratch your counter which is great. That was something I was wondering about. On one side they’re decorative. On the other side, they’re very absorbent terry cloth.

One of the tips that I’ve found, because I use these for everything that I normally would use paper towels for. Sometimes when you’re doing something with a lot of grease like if you’re taking up some bacon from a pan like I do. These don’t quite get fully clean if you use them that way. What I’ve done is I’ve designated some of these for bacon. I love bacon so there you go. I’ve put a dot on two or three of these and I use them for anything that I’m using with a lot of grease or oil. They’re heavier. They don’t ever get completely washed out. That’s fine. You could do that if you want to or use paper towels if that makes you happier. That’s what I’ve been doing. Anyway, these things after you wash them, you snap them back together and put them on the paper towel roll. I can even remember the last time I’ve used paper towels in my kitchen.

Cloth napkins are the other thing I mentioned. I keep this basket on the table. We use cloth napkins instead of paper. What we do is we use them again and again until they’re dirty. Sometimes you barely get them dirty at all during a meal. What we do is we put a napkin ring on them to designate who’s napkin that is for the next time we eat. Different member’s of the family can have different napkin rings. Somebody’s the elephant and I’m the whatever you call this, scallop. When they are dirty, you throw them in with the wash.

All told, all the five tips that I showed you, they really haven’t added, I would even think, one load of laundry to my entire laundry burden. They really fit right in with the rest of the laundry I’m already doing. Even if it’s just one more load a week. I don’t think that’s a big deal with all the paper I’m saving. It feels so much better to me.

I would love for you to share your eco-friendly smart steps in the comments and let me know what you think. I’ll see you next time and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

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