We’ve all heard the mantra: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. (There are two more Rs, by the way). We set out our recycling every other week, and we’ve been trying to reduce our waste in other areas of our home (hello two big garbage bags a week, I’m looking at you), but what about reusing? Here are several reusable products that we’ve tried and kept using over the past few years.
Kitchen Rags. I’ve made quite a few of these, and we use 1-2 each day for washing dishes and wiping hands and faces. The ridges from the knitting help with scrubbing dishes, and they’re easy to throw in the laundry afterwards.
Norwex cloths. My mom has bought me several of these for Christmas gifts, and we use them all around the house. The pink one is for wiping counters, the yellow one is for sinks and counters in the bathrooms, and the big gray one is for windows. We also have the pig and the tiger in our bathrooms and the kids love using those to dry their hands.
Glass Jars. I save all of our applesauce and coconut oil jars and use them for a variety of dry goods. Right now we have sugar, several types of beans, quinoa, barley, popcorn, and baking soda on our pantry shelves, all in cleaned out jars from other foods.
Coffee Filter. We bought a filter similar to this one at Walmart. Yes, it takes a bit longer to clean it out every day, but it’s become a part of my morning routine after breakfast to put away the clean dishes and set up the coffeemaker.
Dryer Balls. My mom also gave us a set of these for Christmas (isn’t she awesome?). They help keep the laundry moving around in the dryer and replace the need for dryer sheets. I’ll be honest – if the loads are too large or if the balls get stuck in the arm of a sweatshirt or something, the clothes can have a bit of static cling, but otherwise they work great! You can find a similar set here.
Shirt Rags. Although we pass a lot of our clothes on to the thrift store or sites like Thred Up, some are not in good enough shape to sell. I cut those up for rags for big messes. I still fail a little bit in going green here, because I usually throw them away afterwards instead of washing them, but they’re still useful for cleaning up things like paint or mud or dirty messes in the garage.
Glad Rags. I mentioned in this post that I turned in my Recyclebank points for a $50 gift certificate to One Twine. I used that to purchase several Glad Rags pads, which I use monthly when I need them, and I use them without the inserts for daily liners as well.
Writing out that list, I’m feeling pretty great about the things that we do reuse. But there are a few that I feel like we should be using that we just aren’t.
Rags for Cleaning Toilets. I use paper towels all the way here. Because one day I got it in my head that I was going to use rags to clean the toilet. And then the idea repulsed me so much that I didn’t clean the toilet for like 2 months. The handful of paper towels I use here is not going to kill the planet too much. I hope. At least my toilets won’t be too gross. Because little boy pee.
Cloth Wipes. Shortly after Matthew was born, I saw a Pinterest tutorial to turn cotton receiving blankets into easy cloth baby wipes. I thought, “I could do that!”. Guess what? Matthew is 5 now and I still have that stack of blankets waiting to be turned into wipes. They would be super easy to throw in a load with cloth diapers, and I thought about only using them for pee diapers, and not for poops. But it still didn’t happen. I did buy a pack of cloth wipes, which we used for a little while. Which brings me to…
Cloth Diapers. All four of our kids have worn cloth diapers for at least part of their lives, and we definitely got our money’s worth out of the ones we have. (I highly recommend shopping through Nicki’s Diapers if you go that route, or ordering Thirsties with snaps on Amazon) But we got to the point where most of our covers were leaking, our inserts were worn out, and I was just sick of keeping up on it. So several months ago, I quit (although I still have a stack of them around for potty training). It means that we’ve had to include one huge box of diapers plus two sizes of overnights into our budget. I know we’re losing money here. And I’m kind of okay with it.
So now you’ve read my confessions. What are you reusing in your home? Or what can you just not get on board with? Tell me all about it!
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