Reusables - Save money while living naturally

I just read this article on the cost of various disposable paper product prices. It isn't really a surprise since the cost of everything (gas, food) is on the rise as well. However it's not that big of a deal to those who primarily have reusable products in their homes. There is a reusable alternative to just about any disposable product out there, even toilet paper! Stay with me though, I don't even go that far. Reusable alternatives only cost a little more initially and will save you hundreds of dollars over time. It's also nice to know that you aren't adding unnecessary waste to landfills. Many reusable alternatives are not only affordable but cute and fun as well. Another bonus in buying reusables is that you are often supporting moms who work from home or other smaller made-in-the-US companies.

Diapers: Babies go through tons of diapers and if you don't like throwing away a bunch of diapers (and your money!) cloth is definitely the answer. See our cloth diapering section for some helpful posts about getting started.

Wipes: Cloth wipes are great and really easy to make. I am not a great seamstress and I made my own very easily. If you aren't the DIY type, many WAHM (work-at-home-moms) make them and they are sold on websites like Amazon. These flannel wipes by Osocozy or these fleece wipes by Thirsties are examples.

Dishes: This is pretty easy, use regular dishes instead of paper/plastic cups/plates. :)

One of Meagan's many
reusable snack bags.

Ziploc bags: Meagan makes reusable snack bags and will be selling them at some point. You can also use plastic containers that can be washed. These are incredibly handy. I don't recommend using plastic with hot foods, but that's another issue entirely.

Dryer sheets: I'm sure I've mentioned dryer balls enough now, so I won't go into further detail. :)

Cleaning products: Swiffer products (and similar brands) are really handy but it seems wasteful to throw away so much extra garbage. I switched to a reusable alternative and they actually work much better, I bought mine on Etsy a couple of years ago but I have bought other things from this WAHM and her products are awesome!

My unpaper towels from Virginia.
Paper towels/napkins: It's very easy to substitute paper towels or napkins with some cheap washcloths or older clothes that you have cut up into rags. If you want a nicer option there are plenty of places where you can buy cloth napkins (what do you think people used before disposables?) You can also make your own with very basic sewing skills, it's not a big deal to make a mistake if you are only using it as a cleaning rag! A friend of mine made some snapping cloth towels (sometimes called unpaper towels) for me and several other WAHMs make them also. If you make the switch and your paper towel holder is looking lonely, get some of these. :) However, it can be helpful to keep a few paper towels handy in case of a grease spill or similar situation.

Toilet Paper: Some families use the option of cloth products instead of toilet paper. This is sometimes called "family cloth." These are essentially cloth wipes, but are used instead of toilet paper and usually kept in a wet bag in the bathroom. I am not to this point yet, but I did want to mention it. If you want to go green but not *that* green, there are eco-friendly TP options out there. I've seen a lot of coupons for eco-friendly TP lately too, so it can be affordable.

Feminine products: It might seem weird at first but cloth feminine products are getting fairly popular, at least among those who use other reusable products. The Silver Liner and GEM Cloth but have excellent products.

If you like the idea of being a little friendlier to the earth but aren't quite sure about reusable products there are a lot of "greener" paper options out there. 7th Generation makes diapers, wipes, tampons & pads, and many other reusables in addition to their cleaning products. I have never had any complaints with anything that I have bought from this company. There are also recycled paper towels (I can't remember the brand) which I have bought at Big Lots really cheap. I am starting to see coupons for eco-friendly products pop up more often, which is great for those of us who want to save money. Reusables don't have to be an all or nothing thing, maybe just try one reusable product that you usually buy in a disposable. You may be surprised that it actually works better!


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