A Vintage Idea: Using cloth napkins and giving paper towels the elbow!

September 4, 2016admin
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I am forever researching vintage ways of life, vintage entertaining, vintage style  and other vintage inspiration.  It would be naive of me to think it was all wonderful in the past, but I do know that sometimes life was a lot less complicated and stressful.  So I got to thinking what small idea could I adopt that would be of benefit to me and my family.

While I was in my local charity shop recently I spotted some beautiful embroidered cloth napkins.  They were stunning so I decided to buy them.  It got me thinking about how much paper towels we as a family use.  If you are anything like me I use paper towels a lot from cleaning up food spills to shining the taps in the bathroom.  So to cut down our household budget but also in the name of being more eco-friendly I decided to try and go paperless in the kitchen.

When you think about it, it is a very vintage idea as families’ years ago didn’t have the option of having paper towels in their kitchen.  Of course as consumerism took over and convenience was the name of the game, disposable products because a mainstay of our everyday purchases.

So my little experiment has been working well.  I decided to purchase cloth napkins from a local charity shop costing me 20p each.  I purchased enough that would do four of us five times – leaving me time to put them in the washing machine ready again for use.  I also purchased a few table cloths and a few t-shirts which I cut up and have been using as cleaning cloths, for shining the taps in the bathroom and for making my vintage jewellery sparkle!

The most difficult part of the experiment was remembering to put the tea towels and napkins in a place where everyone knew where they would be but once I was in a routine it became second nature to do it.

I would encourage you to have a go, it will reduce your grocery shopping and you will be doing your bit for the environment.  I have put together some tips to help you:-

  • Visit your local charity shop and buy cheap cloth napkins, as most are vintage you will be able to buy some really stunning ones, purchase enough to do you to wash day.
  • Remember to put your items in easily accessible places and let your family know where to find them so they can join in.
  • Buy some cotton t-shirts at the charity shop for dusting and cleaning or better still if you have any at the bottom of a wardrobe gathering dust – use them!
  • If you don’t want to go full cold turkey – keep a spare roll of paper towels in the house but store them out of reach – just to be used in an emergency!

If I have inspired you to have a go at using cloth napkins let me know how you get on.  I have to say that new isn’t always better and if we can learn from times past then we need to embrace it with open arms.

Let me know how you get on.


Elf x




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