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Been wanting to save more money and have to buy fewer things when you go to the store? Today I’m sharing some of the paper product swaps that we’ve made and you can try!
Simple Paper Product Swaps
There are many different reasons why a person would want to stop using paper products or to stop using as many paper products but today I’m just going to focus on the main reason why this is important to our family. Simply speaking, finding alternatives to paper products has saved us money and has saved us trips to the store.
Below you will find some of our favorite paper product alternatives and also some that friends of ours have tried. I hope that this helps you make easier decisions when you are looking for more ways to reduce your household budget and produce less waste!
Paper towels are one of the easiest things to replace. We stopped using them for almost everything (I still have a few on hand to clean up grease/oil) about 10 years ago.
If you want to replace your paper towels, you can always make some “Unpaper Towels” (find a tutorial here). If you just want to replace paper towels quickly you can grab a few of the cheap washrags at any store. (I’ve gotten mine at Target). For a totally free alternative, you can cut up old towels or old sheets to use as your paper towels.
You don’t need to do anything special to wash your cloth towels, I just toss mine in with the regular laundry on a wash day.
Like with paper towels, we switched to cloth napkins instead of paper napkins many years ago. Over the years I’ve had to buy a few additional sets so we have enough to go around, but I still have yet to wear through the original set we bought. We prefer cloth napkins that are 100% cotton and I’ve gotten them from World Market and Hobby Lobby (during Christmas time).
Like the cloth paper towels, I just toss cloth napkins in the dirty laundry with everything else after we finish a meal. It’s nice to have at least 3 napkins per person in your household so you have enough for 3 meals a day.
Disposable Sanitary Goods
With everything that is on the market today, there is very little need for disposable sanitary goods unless you need them for being out and about. I and many other Little House Living readers have found cloth pads to be much more comfortable and you can make them yourself!
If you aren’t a pad person, there are many different options for “cups” that will work as well.
If you’d like to make your own pads, be sure and check out my Cloth Pads Tutorial.
Washing your cloth pads is just like washing anything else. I usually keep them separate from my regular dirty laundry until it’s wash time (in a wet bag) but when it’s time for them to be washed they just go in with everything else.
I will admit, this is one on the list that we don’t personally use a swap for but I know many that have made the switch or at least have cloth on hand for backup.
Family Cloth is the alternative to regular toilet paper. If you are struggling to find toilet paper in stock in your area or if you just don’t want the expense or the waste, this might be an option for you. My friend Beth has a post all about Family Cloth if this is something that interests you.
If you want to reduce your paper usage even further you could consider using a good old-fashioned hankie instead of a tissue.
Our family still personally uses tissues because it doesn’t seem like we go through them very fast and I can find them for less than $1 per box, but I will admit that using handkerchiefs could work, especially if your household is made up of mostly adults or older children that could be responsible for keeping them with them.
If you do decide that handkerchiefs are the way to go for your family, I would recommend having at least one (or more) per person per day.
I love to send a good card just as much as the next person. In fact, that’s why we make our own cards and have them for sale in our online store Homestead Made!
But if you find yourself buying too many greeting cards and feeling like you are using too much paper, you might want to do what I used to do and create your own.
You can use parts of old greeting cards or scraps of paper to put together your own cards. My Granny and I used to cut the designs off of old cards that we had gotten and pieced them together with other paper to make a brand new card. It’s really easy to do and kind of fun!
Newspapers and Magazines
Newspapers and magazines can add a very large amount of paper clutter to our homes but now there are many alternatives to consider!
If you really want to keep getting newspapers and magazines in physical form, consider downsizing your subscription list to only your favorites.
If you don’t really need them in physical form, almost all newspapers and magazines come with an online version (and it’s often cheaper!) that you can check out instead.
If none of these seem like a great option, it might just be time to stop your subscription entirely. Most magazines now consist of a large number of ads, trying to get you to buy more and shop more. Perhaps your life would be a little less cluttered (by paper and other things) by just stopping the subscriptions altogether.
Something to keep in mind….many paper products can be composted if they are made from unbleached materials and if they do not contain grease. You can compost toilet paper cardboard tubes, paper towels without grease or harmful chemicals, cardboard boxes, or even shredded up junk mail. Paper acts as the “brown” in a compost pile and since it seems harder to add more brown to a compost than it is to add green, this can be a welcome addition to your pile or bin.
I hope this at least gets your mind turning about the paper alternatives that are out there! Not only can the things on this list help to save paper waste but they can also help your budget.
Which of these swaps have you made? Which one do you want to make?