I am a paper towel addict. I can admit this. I use them for everything from wiping up coffee splashes to cleaning the counters to washing my kids' faces. I know it's bad. I know it's wasteful. And yet that damn Brawny man with his broad shoulders clad in plaid gets me every time.
So when we ran out of paper towels back around Christmas, onto my shopping list they went. And then I took out the recycle bin and was embarassed at the number of empty paper towel rolls in there. Combine that shame with my promise to not shop unless we need to shop and it's now been a month since we purchased paper towels.
The first week, I looked in the pantry several times hoping in vain that I would find a random roll tucked behind the 12 packs of soda. And then when those were gone (and, holy hell, we didn't buy more soda either!) I had to face the reality of a life without paper towels. It wasn't a conscious decision. In fact, every time we hit the grocery store or Target for diapers I would come home and have a moment of mild panic when I realized, "Crap. I forgot the paper towels again!".
But then a funny thing happened: I learned to deal with it. I bought a 4-pack of these plain white kitchn towels for less than $2 at Target on a clearance endcap. I washed them and hung one under the sink, one from the stove. They end up on my floor by 5:56 a.m. every morning as the kids wake and slowly destroy any sense of order the house had when I went to bed the night before. I freak out a little every time I swipe a coffee spot off the counter with one, what with its whiteness and coffee's stain-ness (Not a word? Whatever.). But I am getting used to a life without paper towels, and it feels like a small victory when we create more trash in this household than should be legal.