Use cloth napkins

Hi there! Today, I’m starting a new series on how I’m challenging myself to make my kitchen a greener space. My goal is to take on one project per month. I haven’t planned out anything in advance, so please, leave advice and tips in the comments and I’ll add it to my list. Thanks!

I’ve been embracing minimalism lately, and have subsequently purged a lot of my things. We gave away 9 trash bags full of clothes just last month! After a purge, mindfulness needs to prevail in carrying on. I knew I wanted to live a more eco-friendly, natural life. But, I was intimidated with where to start. Instead of doing a major life overhaul, I started with baby steps. I decided I would be the most successful if I started in the area of my life that I spend the most time. That place is Le Kitchen, of course. So, I’ll be challenging myself each month to come up with a new way to make my kitchen more eco-friednly.

My day job keeps me in the kitchen developing recipes almost all day. And the rest of my day? Well, that’s spent in the kitchen making the recipes of others. It’s my happy place. My husband and I live in a tiny 1920s house with a tiny kitchen. I don’t know why I didn’t pay more attention to the size of the kitchen when we were house-hunting. I spent the first year in this house cursing it and lamenting the kitchen I left behind in our old house. It had an oversized granite island that was perfect for rolling out dough, oodles of counter space, and so many drawers and cabinets that some were empty! Oh, those were the days.

However, this is real life now. Instead of hating the kitchen, I decided to embrace its small size. First, I did a massive purge and got rid of things I didn’t need, or things I only used once or twice a year. Things that went by the wayside were Easter cookie cutters, an extra hand mixer, surplus strainers, an artichoke steamer (I use the regular steamer now), and too many stained kitchen towels. The more my kitchen is filled with only the things I truly use on a daily basis, the happier I am. Currently, I’m at war with the milk frother. My parents bought me a fantastic one, and about half the time, I use it for a chai latte, and the other half of the time I drink plain green tea. So, I’m always moving that dang thing in and out of the cupboard. Anyway, back to the point: counter space is prime real estate in my kitchen. But one thing I’m happy to have out on it ? Pretty cloth napkins.

It all started with these pretty tie-dye cloth napkins my Mom bought me for my bar:

Switch to cloth napkins in your kitchen!

She bought them because we are always hosting Happy Hour at our house. I love having them on our bar, and I love handing them out with drinks. They’re just so fun! My hippie heart loves all things tie-dye, it’s true. {Side story: when we first found out we were having a baby girl, I was at a street fair where local artists were selling their creations. I found a booth with tie-dyed onesies, and wanted to buy some for Camille. My husband lied to me and said he didn’t have any cash. A few minutes later, I saw him pulling out cash for lunch, and he fessed up how much he hates tie-dye. I still laugh at that story.}

Strawberry-Rose-Gin-Fizz | dessertfortwo.com

Strawberry Rose Gin Fizz see, aren’t they pretty with drinks? I love these mini cloth cocktail napkins!

Ok, so one day I found myself reaching for these tiny cocktail napkins when setting the table for dinner because I just didn’t want to use another paper product. It was probably one of those days where I went through half a roll of paper towels frying something.

I had the idea to switch to cloth napkins, but I thought the stains and extra laundry would be too much. But, I gave it a test run. I decided to go with fun, mis-matched bright color cloth napkins so that I didn’t have to worry about stains. And as for the extra laundry, I hardly noticed. The test run went great, and we’ve been using them ever since.

When it comes to date night, I pull out matching cloth napkins. Oh so fancy, I know.

Using cloth napkins instead of paper towels makes for a greener kitchen!

I’ve found that any stains come right out. Though, if I wipe up a tomato sauce stain with a white napkin, I might take the extra time to rinse it under cold water before tossing it in the hamper. But really, an extra cold rinse before the wash cycle takes care of all of the stains for me.  Sometimes, guests say they don’t want to ‘dirty up’ the napkins. It’s silly, but I’ve found that the tablecloth takes much more abuse than the napkins do, every time. If you’re worried, use dark colored napkins.

So, tell me: how do you feel about cloth napkins for everyday use? Are you inspired to try them?