I don't know about your household, but our house goes through a ton of paper towels, especially now that we have a toddler. All of the cost and paper waste was killing me, so I finally decided that enough was enough and in May I made reusable paper towels. Life. Changing.
I picked up 1.5 yards of terry cloth and flannel, sliced them up, paired them together, and ran them through the serger. Quick, dirty, and simple. And thus was birthed my favorite make of 2016 (aside from the baby boy that I will be birthing in November). Yes, I'm already declaring it the winner! Everyone in the family loves them! We use them for everything: spills, wiping up the kiddo after meals, while cooking, wiping up counters, for drying fruit after its washed: you name the kitchen task, and we find a way to use the reusable paper towels.
What makes the reusable paper towel concept work so well is that I made so many of them. The 1.5 yards made 34 paper towels that are about the same size as a single sheet in a Bounty select-a-size roll. This is key. If I had made fewer, I think we would use them far less often, but since there are so many, we never run out and therefore use them all of the time. We keep them in a stack on the end of our kitchen island so they're easy to grab in a pinch.
When I was searching for ideas, I saw some sets on Etsy that have snaps and connect together to look like a roll of paper towels. This is a cute idea, but in reality I think having to deal with the snaps would just get annoying. Plus you can't fit nearly as many on a roll as we have in our stack. My daughter even likes to take one every so often to use in her play kitchen! At least once a week, either my husband or I will marvel at how great they are (maybe we are a little too easy to please). I can't praise these suckers enough. Do yourself, your wallet, the environment, the world a favor and make yourself some of these things. You won't regret it!
While I had my serger out I also made reusable cotton rounds out of cotton fleece. I went the super easy route again and just serged two layers of fleece together and again the result was awesome. We don't go through nearly as many cotton rounds as we do paper towels, but it seemed so wasteful to throw away the rounds after only using them to apply astringent. I still use disposable cotton rounds to remove nail polish, but the reusable rounds have reduced our consumption of disposable rounds. I throw these in a lingerie bag before I put them in the wash so they don't get lost among the other items in the laundry (similar to what I do for the kiddo's socks) and then air dry them on top of the dryer so they don't get all pill-y and rough.
I'm curious to see what other reusable items you guys have made, life changing or not. What am I missing that can lessen our impact on the environment?