My wife and I love our weekly trip to Costco. We gas up, grab a big shopping cart, and head in to pick up our over-sized food and cleaning supplies. We don’t go crazy. We do buy a lot, but we have a plan. Everything is calculated, priced per volume, and going to be used by expiry. Costco can be a pricey place and leave you throwing out a lot of stuff gone bad if you don’t shop smart.

One thing we always picked up at Costco is paper towel. They have the good stuff and they sell it cheap. We always grabbed a great big package of it and filled up our big pantry. And with lots of it around, why not use it every chance you get?

A few weeks ago we started looking a little harder at our cleaning habits and it was obvious this was a great place to start. Out came the old clothes and a pair of scissors. We experimented with a few fabrics to see what would work. Cotton t-shirts seemed to work better than anything else. We designated a clean bucket and dirty bucket under the sink and filled the cleaned one with our newly created cloths. When the clean bucket is running low the dirty bucket goes in the wash.

So far this is what we have found:
– Paper towel is horrible for cleaning. It falls apart and you need A LOT of it by comparison.
– It is expensive.
– It all goes in the garbage.

That last point was the biggest push for us. We were literally buying garbage, ironically wrapped in plastic. Of course with a good healthy compost you can compost quite a bit of paper towel or recycle. However a lot of the time it is soaked in cleaner, and a lot of people still throw it in the trash. Nobody wants to wipe their face with an old shirt so we did pick up a supply of nice cotton napkins, that has also helped save money.

We’re not perfect, we like our big car, and there are plenty of other areas for improvement. But with only about ten minutes, two buckets we already had, and a few sacrificed t-shirts we are saving about 40 bucks a month and a good percentage of our monthly waste. You don’t need to make huge changes, but looking at behaviors one at a time can present simple and obvious ways of doings things a little better.