One of the things I totally love about thrift stores is that if you look long enough and at enough places, you’ll eventually find anything you could possibly need. This is true, and I’m sure there’s some mathematical theorem out there that could prove it. Case in point for me would be these cloth napkins.
I grew up with a cloth napkin hero. I mean, technically I was already an adult when I found this hero, but at 18 you’re really just a kid with permission to stay out late. My cloth napkin hero is named Gretchen, and she’s my friend Zack’s mom. She always had a basket on her counter filled with mismatched (but still, somehow, perfectly matched) cloth napkins, ready for use. I always wanted a basket like that on my counter or in my cupboards but cloth napkins can be expensive to buy new. Thanks to thrifting, I know have both the napkins and the basket in my cupboard.
I was able to pick up a few here and there while thrifting, but I scored the motherlode one day while out with my friend Stef, and purchased what was probably someone’s recently donated stash of cloth napkins. I keep a stash in the kitchen, but I also keep one in my purse for those times when Isobel eats a store sample of yogurt and ends up wearing half of it on her face. Oh, and if you have a cold? Using two or thee of these babies is way nicer on the skin than going through a thousand tissues. It’s also neater, because there comes that shameful part of the cold where you are too tired to even think about disposing of your used kleenex responsibly and you end up making disgusting nest in the used tissue. But I digress.
I am only showing you a small fraction of the cloth napkins I have amassed in these photos. I seriously have a large box that is nothing but cloth napkins. I rotate through the stack I have because I don’t have enough room to store them all in my kitchen, and because if I leave them out Isobel likes to cover half the house in cloth napkins and throws a fit when I try to pick them up because “Shh! Vacuum is sleeping!”
I probably don’t have to mention what a boon cloth napkins can be for a household budget. Especially with a toddler, I could potentially go through paper towels like crazy, and even though we buy them in bulk, it adds up. Plus the fact that cloth napkins are way easier on the environment–everybody wins. I am always especially thrilled when cute + thrifty + environmentally sustainable collide. Achieving two is the goal. Achieving all three is extra credit.
Typically I use one cloth napkin a day, and I share it between myself and Isobel. (Larger messes are handled by the cleaning rags, which I’ll talk about later.) Napkins used at one meal usually aren’t soiled enough to be washed, so I keep the same one for both of us around all day and toss it into the hamper after dinner.