7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 150)

November 4, 2011 | 71 comments

— 1 —

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working on a writing project that I haven’t been at liberty to talk about, but now I can finally announce what it is: I’m a contributor to Hallie Lord’s new book called Style, Sex, and Substance, which has just been made available for pre-order on Amazon. Go check out Hallie’s announcement to find out more, and to see who the other nine contributors are. I’m so excited — it’s going to be a great book!

— 2 —

One of the reasons I’m looking forward to our trip to Yale is that we’ll get to see a lot of my husband’s old friends. To give you an example of what these guys are like: A certain friend from his fraternity (who shall remain nameless, for reasons you will understand shortly) told me when I first met him that he was part of a secret society. Wow, interesting! I asked him if it was Skull and Bones, the mysterious super-exclusive, super-secret group that has captured the public imagination for ages. He said no, his secret society was called P*ss and Moan, and their mission was to go around and urinate on the door handles of the other Yale secret societies. These are my kind of people.

— 3 —

I just found the coolest blog gadget ever: I was browsing a new-to-me blog called Penniless Parenting, and down at the very bottom of her page (all the way down in the gray area) she has this nifty widget where you can find out what vegetables are currently in season in your area. Click on the blue arrows next to the place and the season to customize it for yourself. I love this. It’s so helpful to people like me, who have zero understanding of seasonal produce cycles (I had such a suburban upbringing that in childhood I didn’t even know that there were growing seasons — I figured that everything just came out of the ground all the time).

— 4 —

The way I originally found the aforementioned blog was because the author did a post about reusable toilet paper that was making the rounds. My original reaction was WTF!!! (What Tremendous Frugality!!!) Then I realized that I love the post, because I can appreciate people who question assumptions, and who are willing to do things a little differently to live out their ideals. Who’s to say we must flush our used toilet paper? In fact, maybe those of us who are still buying Charmin (or, okay, the generic store brand that’s like a cross between tissue paper and tree bark) are the ones who are missing out! There are over 40, 000 Google results for “family cloth, ” which is the fancy way of saying “reusable toilet paper, ” so obviously a lot of people are doing this. I mean, it makes sense when you think about it. Fluffy disposable toilet paper in roll form is a relatively new invention…and families do go through a lot of it…and it would save money not to buy so much of it…and reusable cloth toilet paper would be better for the environment…

However, there is no point in me spending one more second pondering this. My husband, who doesn’t even like to think about where yogurt comes from, would still buy toilet paper if it cost $100 per roll and we had to sell our car and most of our furniture to afford it. So let me turn the question over to you instead: Would you consider switching to reusable toilet paper? I’m especially interested to hear the thoughts of those who use cloth diapers, since it’s kinda the same thing.

— 5 —

I am officially 100% on the cloud. For non-nerds, this means that all of my computer documents are set up on programs that store them in a centralized database — so I can then access them from any computer, or through an online interface. I was already mostly there from switching to Gmail for email, and Evernote for notetaking. The last step was to get a free Dropbox account. I simply moved everything from my My Documents folder, where I store all my important docs, to my Dropbox folder. Dropbox then backs them up on a central server, and I can still use them on my computer when I’m offline.

To give a practical example: When we take our trip to the northeast in a couple of weeks, I’m going to borrow my mom’s tiny Netbook so that I can do some writing without having to lug around my heavy laptop. All I have to do is install Dropbox, and everything I have on my home computer will be right there on the Netbook — and any changes I make from the Netbook will automatically be synced, so I can get back to work on my home laptop without worrying about whether I have the latest version of the file.

This is nerd nirvana, folks.

— 6 —

I was just doing some searches as part of take #4, and I would hereby like to congratulate blogger extraordinaire and 7 Quick Takes regular Megan of Sorta Cruncy for being the #2 Google result for family cloth.

— 7 —

I like being busy, but this week was bad-busy. Within the span of four days we had a soccer game, a birthday party, trick-or-treating, two Masses, a radio interview, and a benefit dinner that somehow involved me staying out until 1 AM — and that’s not even counting the routine stuff like homeschooling, writing work, and the general toil it takes to keep this house running. I think I need to apologize to some folks who emailed me about making plans during this time, because my introvert pendulum swung a little too far the other way, and I responded with all-caps proclamations that how nobody would ever see me again because I was preparing to become a suburban hermit. I said that I was making plans to disconnect my phone, unplug my internet connection, and arrange to have groceries delivered because I was never, ever setting foot outside of my house again. Now that I have had a couple of days to recover, my view is more moderate, and I think I’ll eventually be open to leaving the house at least once a year.



  1. Kimberly

    Number two of your quick takes was great. Often they are so funny, I have to share them with my husband. LOVE IT! P*ss and Moan sounds like my kind of people too… not that I would do that kinda thing, but I do certainly admire others who would. 😉

  2. jen

    i hear ya on the suburban hermit thing. it sounds like a perfect life to me.

  3. Susan

    Reusable toilet paper! What a concept! If my income goes down a few more notches and inflation goes up a few more notches, I may consider it.

  4. Laura O in AK

    I’ve considered family cloth, but doubt my husband would go for it other. We do cloth diapers, but I guess there’s just something about be used to one way of life for so long.

    I do try the hermit thing every so often. It can be refreshing to unplug and just stay put. I have to do that to a degree for homeschooling my boys or nothing productive gets done.

  5. Rebekka

    We cloth diaper, and we use reusable wipes on the baby (ie, little flannel washcloths that get chucked in the wetbag with the diapers). I also use cloth menstrual pads (sorry if tmi). But not “family cloth”. I know it exists, but feel no urge to go there. Sounds like the straw that breaks the laundrycamel’s back actually. And I know my husband would never do it!

    What do people do when they have guests?? Do they keep tp on hand for them, or are they invited to join in?!

    • Megan at SortaCrunchy

      We’ve used cloth wipes for years and of course ALWAYS keep a roll of paper on the TP roll for guests. I usually tuck our basket of wipes away when company comes over, too. People have often mistaken them for washcloths. Very, very soft, oddly-shaped washcloths. 🙂

  6. Leila

    Every time you reference introversion, you had me at hello. Will you marry me? Wait, you are me. Just more popular. 🙂

  7. Valerie @ Momma in Progress

    We cloth diaper (on baby #3 right now) and use cloth baby wipes. However, I’m not sure I could get on board with family cloth. Maybe short-term, while we still had at least one child in diapers, but after that I cannot imagine continuing. I mean, after 5.5 years washing diapers/wipes is just kind of part of our life now, but once we are diaper free . . . I just don’t know.

  8. Angie

    I ADORE Dropbox, keeping my writing on just a thumbdrive would make me a nervous wreck. I upload to Dropbox every night. And I’m going to dowmload that vegetable widget right now – what a cool idea!

  9. George @ Convert Journal
  10. Laura

    I have a friend who uses cloth feminine pads, but my hubby was so grossed out by that news (this friend tends to publicize, a lot, on facebook)that I think I might need to actually shield him from the knowledge that people reuse toilet paper. (Or cloths. Whatever.)

    I guess it makes sense when you think about it though.

    (Haha, we still live in an apartment with a shared laundry facility though–I’d love to see people’s reactions if I started washing our toilet cloths.)

  11. the cottage child

    I think I’ll have to say no to the reusable tp – it’s just that, well – no.

    Another intro, here – while most people love weekends, I see them as the days everyone tries to get me to leave my house. I don’t wanna, I mean I went all the way to the grocery store and the library this week, that’s a pretty full social calendar, right?

  12. Douglas

    Re: #4, ” Would you consider switching to reusable toilet paper?”

    I would only consider reusing TP if it was shown to be substantially cheaper than toilet paper. My gut reaction is that it is often more expensive, especially for those who (like the penniless parenting author) wash a load of butt wipes every two days using the “long, hot cycle” of their washing machine. Heating water up is a hidden cost for most people, but it is incredibly expensive. My guess is that the only way people actually save money is if their family has a solar/natural gas hot water heater or combines the loads with other clothes to spread the costs around. In many cases (esp. if one has an electric hot water heater or uses a clothes dryer instead of hanging them out to dry), then buying bulk TP at Costco or Amazon is actually more frugal than reusable TP for many people. Plus, how can you beat the home TP delivery Amazon offers? As an example of what I mean, consider just the cost of heating the hot water (i.e., ignore the cost of spinning the cloths and assume line drying year round). Depending on how often one washes the cloths, the cost of electricity/natural gas, whether one has a top loader or front loader washing machine, etc. the yearly cost of hot water can vary from $20 to $175.

    Here is a spreadsheet with a breakdown of the costs that anyone can customize to input their own energy usage costs.

    Here is an uneditable version for reference in case someone messes up the above spreadsheet.

    If one has a home business, then labor costs alone from washing and folding would easily make family cloths an inefficient and money losing idea. Aside from labor costs, though, one can see that it is hardly a slam dunk that one would save money with this method.

    • Penniless Parenting

      To be honest, I don’t do long and hot cycles, I don’t even do them for my cloth diapers. Every 2 days or so I chuck in those cloths into the load of laundry I’m doing, usually cool. Yea, there’s some germs there, but there are germs on your underwear as well. Soap and water wash away most of the germs, and then line drying in the sun or using my dryer kills any residual bacteria. No one has gotten sick yet in the 1.5 years of my using cloth wipes, and I don’t spend any extra on hot water. No, I don’t even wash my cloth diapers with hot water…
      So the cost is negligible- the cost of the scraps of fabric (old stained shirts) that I used to make those cloths.

      As for guests- we keep regular TP in the bathroom anyhow, both for when I run out of cloths (I need to make more) and for my husband and for guests…

      • Rebekka

        Germs on underwear is why they also get washed on hot! (Sorry, I’m a nurse and no way would I wear underwear washed on cold.) You need at least 60 C to kill intestinal bacteria. So yes to hot washing undies, diapers, wipes, and towels.

        • Penniless Parenting

          You’re fooling yourself if you think washing on hot actually kills all the germs. They’ve done studies that there are numerous bacteria, etc… that live in your washing machine, no matter how much water and bleach you run through there; you’re making yourself feel good, nothing more, if you use hot water in your machine, but you’re not actually doing anything more effective. Bacteria are going to lurk there either way. Using family cloth and/or not washing undies on hot doesn’t make any difference, aside for to your utilities bill.

    • Penniless Parenting

      As for folding, I don’t bother folding them anymore. Just chuck them into a basket.

  13. Michael

    #4 reminds me of a product that made brief headway using the leftover cotton from factories. Their ad slogan was “I don’t use toilet paper!”

    As for the efficiency of cloth, when you add up all costs and environmental factors I don’t think there is much gain ultimately. This is a misconception about diapers as well. It depends on your circumstances.

  14. Katrina

    We use cloth diapers, and I’ve just happily switched to “mama cloth,” but there is NO WAY my husband would even consider “family cloth,” no matter what the potential for saving or reduction in environmental impact. I can’t get him to give up paper towels, either. 🙂

  15. Martha

    Family cloth is, in Rod Dreher’s phrase, ” a crunch too far.” I cannot use the language I need to on a family site to emphasize how NO! that is. And I cloth diaper. But those diapers are not shared, they are used by one baby. Bleepity bleeping no. Oh, and I have teenagers. Someday you will too. Let’s ponder, shall we, what it will be like for your already slightly out of mainstream, home schooled child, to have other teenage boys over, and have to explain the lack of toilet paper at the house. You will spend much more on therapy than you will ever save in toilet paper.

    • Penniless Parenting

      Uh, why would you need to explain? No guest needs to be told about family cloth, because you make toilet paper available. The only guests of mine that know about family cloth at all are the ones who read my blog.

      • Martha

        That’s good to hear. I was actually addressing my comment to Jen, not to you. But I do hope you’ll ask your doctor about hot water washing, at least with the underwear. Intestinal parasites are not any fun, and you can spread them from one family member to another with cold water washing of underwear.

  16. bearing

    I call BS on the seasonal food blog widget. It told me that raspberries and plums would be in season in Minnesota in late January.

  17. Katie

    That’s a big N-O on family cloth. Nope. Not happening. I cloth diapered the first 3 kiddos (disposables were my gift to myself with #4!) and I’ve used reusable menstrual products, but family cloth is way too far for me. hope next week is busy-good for you!

  18. Theresa in Alberta

    I am as thrifty and frugal as a person can get..and if my kids were babies again I would use cloth diapers, but I think I will pass on the reusable toilet paper thx ;P

  19. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    I am laughing SO MUCH right now, Jennifer. Between you linking to me for the family cloth AND the daughter pooping on the library floor post (poop fates, anyone?), I am SURE your observant readers think I am the biggest nut job on the net!

    I have to make this clear: we don’t use family cloth because it is frugal. I mean, it is, but we could afford Charmin if we wanted to go that route. We use family cloth because it is 100% MORE EFFECTIVE than paper. It is more comfortable and I think it leaves us all feeling WAY more clean than using paper in such delicate areas.

    So that’s that.

  20. Stacy @ Accepting Abundance

    Haha! Love the toilet paper discussion. Our daughter once made a barbie dress out of a used tissue because she wanted to recycle it, does that count? So cool about the book! Wonderful.

    • JC

      I saw that post, and then thought to myself, “Well, my wife is also really big on recycling, so when we have kids…here we go.” Then I remembered the kinds of things my brothers and I would get into when we were little, and thought, “Nevermind.”

  21. Lauren

    Bidet! My bathroom is too small for one, but they make these toilet/bidet models. Some are really fancy with heated seats and automatic seat lowering. I don’t know how long it would take not buying toilet paper to pay for one. We haven’t taken the plunge yet. The cheap option would be a diaper sprayer. It’s basically a sink sprayer that attaches to your toilet. It’s sold to use on cloth diapers, but it’s very nice post-partum and for other issues (begins with H). We stopped cloth diapering out of laziness, but the diaper sprayer still comes in handy. I haven’t thought of forgoing TP all together, but I suppose we could if we use sprayer, soap, and towels.

  22. Rebecca @ The Road Home

    DropBox – OK! You’ve convinced me :).

    ‘Family Cloth’ – um, no thanks :). I’ve become much more green and crunchy in the past few years, but I think I’ll stick to flushing my Charmin. 🙂

  23. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I’m so excited about your all’s book!

    Ah, #6 makes me laugh! We’re a pretty “green” family, but no reusable toilet paper for me, thanks. At least, I don’t think so. But I’ll go see what Megan has to say about “family cloth” before I say never!

  24. Jennifer

    Cloth diapers are a bit different from a “family cloth” in that only ONE person is using the cloth diaper and it gets washed every time it gets used.

    That having been said – when I was growing up we never had napkins at the dinner table. We had “the towel.” We always sat down to the dinner table (6 of us) with at least one dishtowel, and if you needed to wipe your hands or mouth, you simply said, “Please pass the towel.” My husband – who thinks dishtowels are only for drying hands washed at the kitchen sink or drying dishes – was quite grossed out and broke me of the habit. But when I’m home alone, eating lunch at the computer or in front of the television, I still grab a dishtowel and toss it in the laundry when I’m done.

    • Penniless Parenting

      I don’t know why you think the same cloth gets reused and not washed every time. Every cloth that gets used in our home gets chucked in the bin immediately and as soon as the bin is filled, it gets washed. I don’t reuse the same cloth over and over and over again.
      And if you’re washing the cloth diapers in the same machine as you wash your clothes, it don’t matter how much soap or hot water you use, those same bacteria are going onto all your laundry…
      Whether one people or many people use it makes no difference in reality, aside for our personal squeamishness.

  25. Julie at Elisharose

    I, with the encouragement of dear Megan, started using family cloths awhile back. I only use them for #1. : ) It was a little weird at first and I even flushed a few while I got the hang of not throwing them in the toilet, but not it is just routine. I made mine myself out of some flannel that I had in my fabric stash. Works for me!

    • Kathleen

      Good to know! I actually had never heard of “family cloth” before. I cloth diaper and have recently switched to using linen napkins rather than paper towels. The idea is interesting, but in giving it some more thought, I think I would only use it for #1 as well. My husband, I am sure, would absolutely refuse to use a reusable wipe.

  26. Laura

    Thanks for hosting, Jennifer. I have to say that, while I did cloth diapers for awhile, I can’t even fathom the thought of reusable toilet paper. When I found out that had reusable feminine hygiene products I had the same reaction: some things are just worth paying for! Have a great weekend.

  27. Jenny B

    We cloth diaper 2 kiddos, use cloth wipes for them, and I use mama cloth (cloth menstrual pads). When I was pregnant with my first we did briefly try using family cloth. Even with no kids at the time it was weird. This is gross, but my concern was the smell of the cloths before they were washed? And now that I have 2 babies running around, I can only imagine what would happen to the container of dirty cloth – SOMEONE’S MOUTH! UGH! So yeah, I think if we try this again it would be when the kiddos are much older.

  28. Trisha Niermeyer Potter @ Prints of Grace

    That is cool that you’re a contributor to yet another book! Congrats!
    I applaud people who are so green they’ll use family cloth instead of toilet paper, but I know that’s not going to be happening here anytime soon. The closest washer and dryer is four floors down and we’ve got a big enough pile of laundry as it is, thank you very much.
    Time with your husbands’ friends ought to be quite an adventure. Perhaps you should bring the reusable toilet paper thing up with them and see what they’ve got to say. I do believe that my husband and I would definitely rename the family cloth “piss and moan” if we switched to that and were doing laundry daily as a result.
    Hope you have a nice weekend that’s a bit more laidback than this past week!

  29. Steph @ Moving to MD

    Is it totally immature of me to have been thinking “ewwww” the whole time I was reading number 4?

    I like the concept of the cloud but the conspiracy theorist in me hates that all my files would be so…open? accessible? ephemeral?

    I don’t know. I’m not mature enough to participate in today’s quick takes post.

  30. Karianna@Caffeinated Catholic Mama

    I can’t wait for the book!

    It’s kind of funny, but Rebekka, way up above, basically has my sentiments exactly. We cloth diaper, I use mama cloth, but family cloth… not ready for that. I know that after a good washing, all of the “matter” would be gone, but there is still the wonder of “who used this cloth before?” (and my background is in bacteriology! So I know that the cloths are clean!) Maybe color coding the cloths would help! 🙂

    I am over the moon for iCloud. DH just showed me the dropbox feature and now I have all of my knitting and crochet patterns there, which allows me to just carry my iPad, rather than page protectors with patterns. Then I can use iAnnotate and make notes on the pattern as I am working!! So yeah, I totally understand the glee.

  31. amy2boys

    Cloth diapers – sure. Reusable toilet paper? I don’t even have to click the link. Ain’t no way. (And my husband also WOULD NEVER, even if I thought that was a good idea.)

  32. nicole

    When I told my husband about family cloth he didn’t believe it was a real idea. Since he insists on flushable wipes for his own use, family cloth will never happen here.

  33. Dwija {House Unseen}

    No! Please say the reusable toilet paper is a joke! Real, grown-up, adult POO? Being washed on a regular basis? I haven’t read any of the links, so I’m just assuming here…but nooooooooooooooooooooo! Wow, I am not nearly crunchy because I would never have even imagined such a thing. Dang, dude.

    The Dropbox thing is rocking my socks, though. Does it really, actually work? And it’s really, actually free? The angels are singing through the parted clouds!

  34. corita

    Weeeellll I know a family that doesn’t use a regular toilet. They made one out of a bucket, a toilet seat and a box so that you have a nice place to sit. And the matter in the toilet? Gets covered (not smelly at all, actually) and composted. They do use toilet paper in it. But there is no way to offer guests a “normal” experience with that!

    I am the only woman in a house of six and I have used cloth just for myself as I need it more often. Even if we just use it for pee, then that cuts down on a lot of tp use and is less disagreeable to think about washing. The more women you have in your house, the more you would save, I would think. Also, it is a great way to recycle old tshirts and flannel sheets. If I toss them in with the underwear laundry (which I do separately so underwear doesn’t wash with my clothes since I have been a nursing mom for the last six years) then it is ALL GOOD! And easy!

    • corita

      Oh, and you could make everybody’s set different, I suppose. I remember on Frontier House the super-energetic frontier mom had a rag for each person in the outhouse. The rule was if you don’t wash out your own then you are S.o.l. when you went next time, because NO SHARING ALLOWED. lol.

    • MyFeminineMind

      My Father-in-law has a composting toilet! (I’ve used it, but I prefer the regular toilets).

  35. Verushka

    Back during the polio epidemic (and my grandmother had it as a child) it’s helpful to know that polio is contracted via oral-fecal contact in the vast majority of cases. Yup, everyone who got polio ate *it. Proof that people do not do a good job of washing their hands. Reusable TP will not contribute to hygiene; if anything, it’ll make cleanliness more difficult. Just say no.

  36. Maria Johnson

    Y’all are funny. I gotta say…it’s the aloe infused super-expensive TP for me. So soothing although a little unsettling at first since it is a little creamy (look, I’m just sayin’ that comment isn’t any grosser than the whole conversation going on here)

  37. Mandi

    I have thought about using “family cloth”. We are planning to cloth diaper and use cloth wipes with our baby, so it seems like it would be pretty easy just to throw them in the wash with them, but I want to wait and see how the cloth wipes/diapers go before we commit to anything.

  38. Barb

    The only way I would resort to family cloth is if our whole economy fell apart, the electric grid shut down, and we were all living like the pioneers again. Desperate times would call for such desperate measures. Otherwise….ewwwww! hehe…

  39. Graceling

    I totally would (and have) considered family cloth. My main reason for not doing it is the same as my main reason for not using cloth diapers since moving out of range of a diaper service: I would need a second washing machine just to keep it going. I have a hard enough time getting the laundry done with all the out-of-house activities we have going on, and adding cloth diapers or family cloth or mama cloth to the mix is not my priority right now. I prefer to spend my time doing things like grocery shopping. And blogging.

  40. Jenn

    Reusable toilet paper? No thanks. Though come to think of it, my husband does do most of the laundry, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all … 🙂

  41. Jane Frances

    I use cloth toilet paper, but I am the only one who uses it (in a household of boys) and I only use it for #1 and not during my m. cycle. The amount of money you can save by just switching girls/women to cloth toilet paper for #1 is amazingly high if you’re at home all day. And it can just be washed with the whites, so no extra work. And it’s waaayy softer than scratchy toilet paper! (BTW, I never EVER tell anyone I do this, ha!)

  42. That Married Couple

    The thought of “family cloth” has crossed my mind for about two seconds and that’s it. We do cloth diaper and part-time cloth wipes, but when I wondered aloud if I should use reusable feminine products (kind of seemed like the next logical step) my husband replied with a resounding no! So I imagine he’d feel that way about cloth TP, too. Although now I’m curious, so I’ll have to ask him at supper tonight!

  43. Amy F

    I sometimes use cloth wipes postpartum when I don’t want to risk getting paper stuck places that are already sore, but I’ve never stuck with it longterm.

    We use cloth diapers and wipes and I use mama cloth, so cloth tp doesn’t seem too crazy to me.

  44. AnneG

    Hey, Jennifer, I drop by and keep trying to get my grown kids hooked. Love your blog. First, dh is in agriculture. Your state dept of agriculture probably has a website with a calendar of locally available produce. I know Texas does.

    Next, family cloths? No way. We lived too long in countries where you could not flush the paper stuff and it was in the basket to be trashed every day. Too much of a potential for intestinal illness.
    Cloth diapers, though? Sure, I used them. So much cleaner than disposables. I washed out the disposables when I occasionally used them so they wouldn’t sit around stinking. Cloths you wash every day or 2 and only one kid uses them. And, I wash my hands. I’m a nurse, too.
    As for the suburban hermit, I did a test a few months ago to see how many days I could go without leaving the house. 5 was max, but I did make exceptions for daily Mass. Thanks for the laugh, Jennifer

  45. Smoochagator

    I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited about the book!

    And thanks for the blog rec – can’t wait to read more of Penniless Parenting. I’m not sure how I feel about family cloth, though. I think it would be a good idea for most of my trips to the bathroom, but for… um… SERIOUS excursions, I’d still prefer to use disposable tissue 🙂

    On a related note, have you heard of mama cloth and the Diva cup (or Moon cup or Instead… there’s several brands)? That’s something I’d be more inclined to try out.

  46. Jennifer

    I don’t know… I’m trying the couponing, but things are going to have to get pretty bad before I’ll consider reusable TP. LOL

  47. Catherine P

    NO family cloth here! Eww… Heck, I don’t even prefer TP. I like those wipes you can get in the grocery store, in the little plastic boxes in the TP aisle. They are refreshing and they clean much better than regular ole TP. They are moist but not so wet that you need to ‘dry off’ afterwards with TP.

    Has anyone here been to the UK, to a public toilet? Well, this was years ago, but when I was in that situation, I found that their TP was thinner than ours; AND it had a WAXY coating to boot! Try that on for size. 😉

  48. Amity

    We use toilet cloth. We started about two years after we started using cloth diapers.

    The original plan was to have a different color for each person in the household, only use them for pee, maybe carry them with us in a nifty little dry/wet bag when we went out, and have toilet paper only for guests.

    How it turned out: all the toilet cloth and the (cloth) baby wipes are in one big pile which gets sorted into boxes on top of both our toilets and piles all over the house (for diapering!), and are used indiscriminately by everyone. We use toilet paper much of the time, mostly from an inability to keep our boxes stocked, but toilet cloth is very nice when damp to wipe the toddler’s bottom after a poop – after an initial poop-removal with paper. It’s also my preference when my eczema is acting up. It’s much nicer than even the nicest toilet paper.

    It is not something to get into while you’re in survival mode, that’s for sure.

  49. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    I almost just spit my tea out reading your translation of WTF. That is all I am going to think about when I see that now!


  50. Jen

    Oh wow, I’ve never even heard about the reusable toilet paper route! seems a bit extreme. And we cloth diaper and use cloth wipes for the babies which I have no problem with! It’s a whole different ball park with babies 🙂

  51. Paul H

    Regarding #5, Dropbox looks cool, but I’m guessing it doesn’t work well if you have around 300 GB of audio files that you would like to store.

  52. MyFeminineMind

    Never heard of the family cloth thing until now. But being the hippy that I am, I’m totally intrigued and would totally consider it.. I used cloth diapers with my second, (though we never had enough to do cloth exclusively – such a big up-front expense), recently bought a few cloth menstral pads (which are soooo much more comfortable than the disposable ones, in my opinion), so hmmm, maybe I’ll do some research on using cloth wipes instead of TP.

  53. Hannah

    I use cloth diapers and flannel wipes with my babe, but haven’t switched the adult members of the household to using flannel yet. Not sure why. Stubbornness maybe. I should consider it further.



    p.s. thanks for the link the awesome frugal blog!

  54. 'Becca

    I’m way behind on reading your blog!

    I’m interested in your opinion of the security of cloud computing. A lot of my friends who are very computer-knowledgeable think it’s a really terrible idea. I feel instinctive suspicion but haven’t learned much about the details yet.

    I admire your willingness to think about cloth instead of toilet paper, and I don’t see why it’s automatic that if your husband wouldn’t use it you couldn’t possibly try it. Here is my opinion:

    The environmental and financial impact of this change is small, particularly if your family uses TP conservatively. (In my household of 1 female and 2 males, a roll lasts at least a week. We taught our son to use it by the sheet, not by the handful!) Switching to cloth diapers or reusable feminine gear will have more of an impact.

    I made both of those changes first. (Well, with diapers, we used cloth from the beginning and disposables only once in a while.) I also switched from tissues to handkerchiefs. In every case, I found that cloth did the job SO MUCH BETTER than disposable that using the disposable quickly became unbearable. I actually resisted using cloth for TP because I was afraid of making the same discovery there–because I work outside the home and it would be a big hassle to carry cloths to the restroom. Then we refilled the box of tissues next to our bed with cotton knit cloths (I cut up some old clothes) and started using them for, you know, in-bed clean-up. They’re awesome, and I was astonished to find that they do get clean in the regular cold-water laundry. Finally I tried cloth just for pee. SO MUCH BETTER!! Mainly because it doesn’t fall apart and leave little shreds on me!

    If it’s used just for pee, the sanitation and odor issues are far reduced. I was surprised by how little liquid it actually is (it seems like more on TP because TP is so thin and really not very absorbent); I put used cloths in a zippered mesh bag, they dry quickly, they have NO odor, and I can just drop the bag into the laundry without handling the cloths again. And I feel so much cleaner! I have been able to cope with continuing to use TP outside the home, though.

    But I expect to continue using TP for poop. Using a damp cloth for a final wipe AFTER TP is as far as I’ll go. My son is out of diapers now, and I would not wash anything with actual globs of poop on it in the same load with regular laundry, regardless of the actual scientific safety of doing so, because it grosses me out.

    I’m glad you found Penniless Parenting! I really like her site, too. I appreciate her willingness to explain and defend her cloth wipes over here with so many naysayers.

  55. Neva May

    Pope Leo XIII has the quote of the week. I don’t even have to click the link.

  56. Juliana Wyatt

    if one has an electric hot water heater or uses a clothes dryer instead of hanging them out to dry), then buying bulk TP at Costco or Amazon is actually more frugal than reusable TP for many people. Ain’t no way. Another intro, here – while most people love weekends, I see them as the days everyone tries to get me to leave my house. And thanks for the blog rec – can’t wait to read more of Penniless Parenting.

  57. Dewey

    Wonderful, what a blog it is! This webpage presents helpful
    data to us, keep it up.

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