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Life with sturdy, non-disposable things is nicer, don’t you think?

Would you rather store your leftovers in these?

Or in these?

Would you rather eat your meals with these:

or these?

And which is a more lovely water bottle?

I’ve been thinking about this because often, a frugal lifestyle is associated with misery and deprivation (green living is often thought of this way as well.)

But really, a life full of disposable items isn’t super fabulous.

I mean, there’s a reason luxurious restaurants use real flatware and real glasses and cloth napkins, and it’s not because they’re going for that deprivation feel. 😉

I don’t care what Kleenex says, I like having real cotton hand towels in my bathrooms.

I like my well-made, meant-to-last kitchen tools.

And I wouldn’t trade this for a paper towel in a million years (unless I’m draining bacon.)

Most of these things require a little bit more work (you have to launder towels, you can’t really throw away your Pyrex containers if they happen to house something super disgusting, you have to wash real dishes, and you have to fill your canteen with water).

But honestly, it’s not THAT much work.

-Filling a water bottle takes maybe 30 seconds.

-Washing plates and silverware is quick business if you own a dishwasher. It’s not the plates and silverware that take time…it’s the pots and pans and measuring cups, so I don’t think disposable plates and silverware would buy me much time.

-Washing kitchen linens doesn’t take long either….even with daily usage, I only have to do about one load of kitchen towels and washcloths each week.

And given that non disposable items are less expensive, better for the environment, and flat-out nicer to use, I’m quite willing to invest the bit of extra time they require.


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Sunday 19th of July 2020

We do all these things and I just stripped my towels (kitchen and bath) and I was wondering how you keep your kitchen towels so stain free. My kitchen towels and cloth napkins are stained and we still use them but I pull out paper napkins when we (used to) have guests because a stained napkin is off putting.


Saturday 18th of July 2020

I agree with you 100%. I hate paper plates and plastic utensils. The food doesn't tastes the same eating from them. I'm all for less waste too.


Monday 6th of October 2014

I completely agree. We live on a tight budget because I'm disabled and we want to eat real, healthy foods (no convenience foods, unless quick cream of wheat counts). We don't have an abundance of clothing and many of the items we do have come from St. Vincent de Paul. You won't believe the wonderful things people discard these days! And our 2 teenagers prefer not to look like everyone else at school, so thrifting is a win, win (my daughter and her friends plan trips to thrift stores with the same excitement that most kids do to the mall). I hate using paper towels and only do so for the really nasty jobs. Cloth napkins are a simple luxury.

We bought a 3 bedroom 875 sq.ft. house last year for less than the price of a used car and rehabbed it ourselves, with no financing. We love it. It's close to everything we need and is in an urban pedestrian area. I could walk to my family-owned drug store, 2 parks and extensive walking trails, wonderful local restaurants and coffee shops, as well as hop on the bus just down the corner if I want to. There is a farmer's market in the local park every Wednesday, and the best local bakery you could want.

All this, for less than $10K. How frugal is that?


Saturday 18th of July 2020

Wow, that’s fantastic! Do you have a blog or Instagram where we can see your home? Is it strange that I love seeing other people’s homes, sorry for being nosey.


Wednesday 6th of February 2013

Skip the paper towels, eat the bacon fat. It's good for you!


Sunday 19th of July 2020

We also save our bacon fat in the fridge. Sauteed kale, creamed corn, etc are so delicious when sauteed in bacon drippings.


Sunday 10th of March 2013

I second that! We save our bacon grease by straining it through a coffee filter into a canning jar and storing it in the fridge. It's delicious for frying eggs, potatoes, etc, or even making grilled cheese! There is a lot of recent evidence that certain kinds of fat that were once deemed unhealthy (such as saturated fat), are actually vital to our health.

In terms of ditching the disposables, I recently invested in a few sets of real dishes specifically for parties. They will pay for themselves in 3 or 4 uses, instead of buying disposables, and I find that a gathering is much more welcoming and hospitable with real dishes.


Saturday 26th of January 2013

Just a couple months ago my whole family made the commitment to go as waste-free and nondisposable as possible. Your post here made me think of my 12 year old son's comment the other day, which was a huge relief as I was worried my teens would resent this. He said, "Mom, now that we're trying to go plastic free, life is so much better. We eat such good homemade food, and everything is just nicer." I don't think he could put his finger on the details of what was "nicer" (besides the yummy food of course,) but he just feels better in general being surrounded by quality products and food.

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