I’ve been wanting to do this post for a long time, but I’ve hesitated because I’m not sure how to phrase this without sounding too obsessive or unpleasantly preachy. I’ll give it a try, no promises how this will be accepted …
Kitchen messes seem to come in five varieties:
- Water-related: dishes out of the sink or dishwasher, splatters on the counter around the sink.
- Messy and gross: rotted vegetable hiding in the vegetable drawer, cat vomit.
- Messy and not gross: spilled soup or juice, splatter on the counter from not using the spoon rest.
- Fast-moving liquids: dropped the bottle of dish soap, tripped over the mop bucket.
- Difficult or dangerous: grease splatter by the stove, drips in the oven.
I use paper goods for two of those, the messy-and-gross, and the difficult-or-dangerous. I only use paper towels when I plan to throw out and not re-use the cleaning medium after removing the mess. For water-related, or fast-moving-liquids, I use cloth towels, which can then either be thrown in the next washing, or if it’s just water, set out to dry and be re-used. For messy-and-not-gross, I use a wet washcloth, rinse it off in the sink, then depending on the level of saturation, either re-use it to wash dishes, or rinse it out and put it in the next washing.
I have friends and relatives, whom I have witnessed with my own eyes, use disposable paper goods for every one of these types of situations. One recent example was a relative picking up in the kitchen after a non-cooked, sandwich-style lunch for several of us, and I helped. This relative ranted nonstop for 30 minutes during lunch about how expensive things were and how much it costs to grocery shop. After lunch, while we were picking up, then pulled a huge handful from a roll of expensive paper towels (a Brawny roll of 102 sheets might run close to $2) to wipe up water spatters on the counter. Then pulled off another chunk of paper towels to line the counter to lay freshly washed dishes to dry, then throw out the clean, although dampened, paper towels. Then, pulled with both hands another several-sheet wad of paper towels to wipe crumbs (dry) off the table, then throw out the dry paper towels. Easily used 35-40 cents worth of paper towels in seconds for no reason at all.
Ironically, this particular relative has a kitchen with several themed, matching tea towels hanging from the oven door and from multiple drawer pulls. And, there was a dampened sponge and dish rag in the sink located less than one foot from the roll of paper towels.
I wasn’t at this house for very long, but if you are unnecessarily using a dollar’s worth of paper goods daily, I don’t take you seriously when you rant about the cost of groceries. You waste money, you don’t even bother to examine the most basic of your habits, and if you go broke, it’s your own fault.
I’m not suggesting you get all extreme and compost your own poop or take just one lightbulb and carry it with you from room to room so that you only have one light on in the house at a time. There are all different degrees of what would be considered “wasteful” and everyone has their own tolerance level.
I just get annoyed with hypocrisy. Either stop wasting, or stop complaining. But complaining while you are conspicuously being wasteful is just offensive. And it makes you look stupid. Either you don’t care about what things cost and you’re just complaining because … well I don’t know … I’m sure you have your reasons.