Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cloth napkin solution

I have been working on switching to cloth napkins for a while.  I have two main reasons:  to cut down on waste (we go through a lot of napkins) and to save a little money (we go through a lot of napkins).  I had a few mismatched cloth napkins, but after a while they just didn't cut if for our family of six, especially when we had friends over.

I priced cloth napkins in the store, but found them to be pretty pricey ($1.99-3.99, for cheap napkins at Walmart), especially when I added up how many we would need for me to avoid washing the same napkins every day (we go through a lot of napkins).  

So I got on ebay and found a restaurant supplier who sold in huge lots- 50 to 100 at a time.  The great thing about the napkins is that they were large and white.  White is good- it looks great with lots of different kinds of dishes, can be casual or formal, and can be washed with bleach and hot water, which is pretty important considering the kinds of messes we can make when we eat.

I bought 50 napkins for $29.99, about .60/each.  I love them!  I washed them all, and put about half away in the linen closet to stay extra fresh and nice.  The rest I put in a kitchen drawer and we use them at every meal.  In between meals, we put them in our chairs so each person can reuse their own napkin at the next meal, and I wash them when they start looking like they need it.  I just throw them in a white load and they come out looking great.  Definitely works for me!


Abby said...

I didn't think to look on ebay. I'm making the switch too. Last weekend, I found 8 cloth napkins at a thrift store for 2.99 total. They looked brand new (of course I washed them anyway).

Thanks for sharing!

Candy said...

great idea I love the look they give to I feel all Martha when I worked in catering we used them all the time they last forever..

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Robin said...

When I was an exchange student in France the family I was living with always used cloth napkins. Each member of the family had their own napkin ring (so they'd know which was which) and they'd keep the same napkin all week. Of course there weren't any little kids in that house...

Thanks for visiting Around the Island and for your sweet comment.

Wild Squirrel said...

I hadn't thought of trying eBay. I looked at the discount store, too, recently and decided I wasn't willing to pay those prices for cheapo napkins. Thanks for the tip!

Tami@ourhouse said...

yes, the cloth napkins can help make dinner feel more special.

Thanks for answering my questions!

Robin- I love the napkin ring idea. I think other cultures may not be as wasteful as we are, but it seems like we are slowly seeing the need for conserving more.

Wild squirrel-
Good luck on ebay!

Totallyscrappy said...

Recently, at a gathering with a group of teachers, I noticed that the hostess had a supply of white, cloth napkins folded in a pretty basket. I thought it was such an easy way to bring beauty and function together. I'm off to ebay!

Anonymous said...

Good idea, Tami! Hmm, I have some cloth napkins too. It's funny that I would think to pull them out when I'm "entertaining" but I never thought to just keep them out for us to use as a family.


Kelsey said...

Wow great idea thanks!!

Jodi said...

great idea - we'll have to try using some of the ones we got when we got married...I don't ever think to pull them out and use them.

next time you need to refresh your stash, you might also want to check wtih a local restaurant supplier...I've gotten some great deals at our local one before and you don't have to deal with shippint! We got a massive butcher-block style cutting board for our counter top for under $100 a few years back - it has been awesome for us!

Thia said...

Of course now there will be a huge rush on cloth napkins on e bay. Kind of funny. I never thought of looking there either. Dh keeps telling me to make them, but where I am supposed to find the time to read WFMW and sew cloth napkins I have no idea.

Tami@ourhouse said...

Thia- I'd like to think my tip would be powerful enough to cause an ebay shortage, but I don't think my audience is quite that big! :)

Totallyscrappy said...

I'm back to ask if you're up for some meme fun. Come on over again. :)

Ter said...

found you via totallyscrappy's blog.

I like the cloth napkin idea. I might have to look into that too. Sometimes my husband throws napkinsa way that haven't been used yet, this would solve that problem, at least I would hope so! ;)

Connella Ohana said...

That's awesome! I need to go the dollar store again and get more napkins. 2 for $1.oo oh yeah! I made the switch about 6 months ago and every once in awhile Jesse will comment on wiping something up if we had a "napkin". I recenty baught new wash cloths and guess what he uses the old ones for? lol I would be interested in where you got yours from. Ours are small likeone foot squares.