Cloth. Such a simple word. Only five letters. But, oh, what a money saver!
Think about all the paper products you use during the day. How many of them do you throw away once they've been used?
Now think about how many of those products could be converted to cloth, washed and reused.
Here's my list:
baby changing mats
Making the Switch
Out of this list, several things we already have converted easily to products we do not use and then throw away. For example, we use cloth bibs and baby changing mats that are washable. Paper plates are easily substituted by real plates that can then be washed and reused. Napkins aren't a giant leap to convert from paper to cloth to wash and reuse, but that still leaves a few things on the list.
Feminine napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes and baby diapers are still left. I will now explain how our family has reduced the use of these products greatly or completely gotten rid of them in our home.
Baby Diapers - we went to cloth. It's cheaper and just as easy to use on the baby. It rids the baby's skin from coming into contact with chemicals. We like it. It's not too bad to do an extra load of laundry every now and then for the benefits we receive and wow does it save us some money!
Baby Wipes - we converted over to cloth. We can make our own solution and soak our little wipes in there and wash them with the baby diapers. Since the solution we make doesn't have any chemicals in it, we can use that same wet washcloth for wiping all kinds of baby parts when neeeded! No need to purchase wipes over and over anymore - we're saving money!
Feminine napkins - we went to cloth. These can wash right in with the baby diapers on wash day. But even if you're not washing baby diapers, place the cloth napkins in a basin with cold water and let them sit until wash day. It's so nice to have the feel of cloth in such a delicate area than the feel of paper. Yuck! Wish I'd made the switch sooner. Super easy and since you buy (or make) enough to get through one cycle of your period and no more, you're saving money!
Toilet paper - we, again, went mostly to cloth. Just keep a little tub (we just use the tubs we were sent home with from the hospital) by the toilet. Granted, we only use the cloth wipes for patting wet bottoms, not dirty ones, but it's amazing how much toilet paper it saves to clean up with a cloth wipe - wet or dry - than to use a string of paper toilet tissue. The wipes get washed on wash day and are then ready for use again. My family hasn't converted completely to cloth because we still prefer old fashioned TP for the BIG messes. But we are saving money with every cloth choice we make - large or small!
Finally, the paper towel - practice using hand towels instead. Always have a hand towel handy for drying hands. Have a hand towel handy for drying off the counter, sink and stove tops. Having these two hand towels ready and keeping them separate for their special missions has saved us tons of paper towels. For floor messes, we have less than beautiful rags that are kept in the kitchen and they are perfect for a messy cabinet or floor spill. We are just careful to keep our wet laundry separate from our dry laundry to prevent molding. And guess what? We're saving money!!
Small choices, a little bit of planning and we can all be more responsible with the money which we've been blessed.