Paperless Kitchen: go paperless for less

Even though I try to participate in Buy Nothing Day as much as possible after Thanksgiving, I do realize that everyone else is in the middle of gift buying. If you are aiming for a more conscientious holiday, like I am, would you be interested in supporting a small business targeted exclusively at reducing waste? And since you may have just participated in a lot of cooking and eating, and will probably do it again at some point in December, how about starting with the kitchen?

I have been working slowly toward a paperless kitchen over the years with my reusable kitchen towels and commitment to using real plates and utensils even when we have guests. So I am super excited to have signed up for the affiliate program over at Paperless Kitchen (affiliate link), an online store that provides all that you need to go paperless! My favorite is their Skoy cloths. When dry, the cloths are stiff like paper, but when wet they become flexible and extremely absorbent, like a super thin sponge or an extra plush paper towel. Each Skoy cloth is as absorbent as 15 paper towels! You can rinse and use again and again, and when dirty just throw them in the laundry. I put them in with all my other cloths and kitchen towels. They air dry extremely quickly (less than an hour), but I have even dried them in the dryer by mistake, and they come out completely unharmed.

Skoy cloths from Paperless Kitchen
Skoy cloths from Paperless Kitchen

Anyway, the big news is the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale at Paperless Kitchen!

The following items are 50% off from 10pm Thanksgiving evening (last night) through Monday, December 2 using the code “paperless50”.

Here is the list:

BONUS: If you order in November (before end of day Saturday), you will receive a 4 pack of Skoy cloths free with your order!

And did I mention FREE SHIPPING?

So if you order today (November 29) or tomorrow (November 30) and purchase only a 4 pack of Skoy reusable paper towel replacements, you’ll pay approximately $4.49 and also receive an additional 4-pack free! That’s 8 reusable Skoy cloths for $4.49. I am totally doing this. They make great stocking stuffers too. Pair Skoy cloths with a spray bottle of my homemade Lysol alternative cleaner and you’ve got an inexpensive and eco-friendly gift.

Happy paperless holiday!

I get some balls: a post about laundry

All the other green, crunchy people have been telling me lately that I need to get some balls.

You know, to help with the laundry.

Get Some Wool Dryer Balls | Living Consciously BlogSo when Brooke from Bogberry wool laundry balls was looking for bloggers to try out her wool dryer balls, I said sure!

What are wool dryer balls?

Balls of felted wool. You know how you don’t want to wash your wool sweaters in hot water or they will shrink up forever and become matted? Well, wool dryer balls have been shrunken and matted on purpose so they keep their lovely round shape. The better to pound your clothing in the dryer, my dear. You just pop them into the dryer with your wet clothes and they soften the clothing naturally, by pounding the heck out of them. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the balls to provide a pleasant scent to your dried clothing without the toxic chemicals.

What do they do?

They are a great alternative to fabric softener. Liquid or sheet fabric softener chemicals are a fun combination of phthalates and other toxic chemicals that coat the fibers of our clothing so that we can then absorb directly into our skin throughout the day. Hooray! Except, not really. I stopped using fabric softener about 5 years ago and haven’t missed it at all. So really, I didn’t need the wool dryer balls for fabric softening purposes.

Remove static cling. If you live in a really dry climate (I don’t), the balls should reduce your static in the dryer. I wasn’t able to test this because it is humid as heck here in Texas despite the drought.

Shorten drying time. I was primarily interested for this reason, because we have a weird dryer setup. Our washer and dryer are in the garage in the middle of the room, not near an outside wall. Which means that the dryer vent hose snakes out and around, turns corners twice, and goes on for about 10 feet before venting outside. I’ve found, since moving into this house about a year and a half ago, that this setup has increased the drying time of everything.

What do you think?

I have to admit, I haven’t added essential oils to the balls yet, so I don’t know how that works with scenting the clothing. Honestly, it doesn’t occur to me to scent my clothing so I keep forgetting. I am also not sure how my husband would feel about his clothes smelling like ylang ylang and lavender.

When I got my first batch of dryer balls, I had 6. I promptly lost one somewhere. With 5 dryer balls, I definitely noticed softer clothing but not much difference in drying time for my cloth diapers. I still had to run two dry cycles. I emailed Brooke about this, and she gave me some very valuable advice that I just had to pass on to anyone else trying wool dryer balls:

The general rule is, the heavier the load of laundry ( diapers, towels, jeans, sweats etc) the more dryer balls you need to see a significant decrease in drying time.  6 will still do all of the regular dryer balls jobs…helping to soften clothes, helping things dry more evenly, helping to decrease static etc., but if someone’s main goal for using them was to decrease drying time, they’d need to be using a much higher number of balls…to see a few minutes shaved off of the drying time of diapers, you’d need considerably more. We cloth diapered and have a horrid, ancient dryer. With 10 extra large balls, we got our diapers down to once through the dryer.  They last indefinitely, so once you’ve got that magic number that works with the loads of laundry you’re doing and the dryer that you have —  you’re good to go!

I increased the number of dryer balls to 11 total and was finally able to see a difference in drying time for my cloth diapers. Unfortunately, my ridiculous vent situation is still working against me. I tested the dryer balls again by drying 3 heavy floor mats, disconnecting the dryer vent and using 11 balls. It only took about 1 1/2 cycles to dry the load! In the past I’d had to run as many as 3 drying cycles for those same mats, and even then had to air dry to finish. Success!

Where can I get some balls?

I got mine from Bogberry Handicraft Etsy store. She has some beautiful, bright colors and some more classic neutrals. I have both shades and they are all great. Tip: it’s a bit easier to find the brighter balls in your laundry if you wear a lot of boring colors like we do. All wool dryer balls are handmade, and this is great because you are supporting a skilled individual who is putting time and effort into these balls. I say, give them a try!

Here’s the best part:

You can get 10% off* wool dryer balls today using the coupon code “Conscientious” at Bogberry Handicraft’s Etsy store!

*10% off purchase of $29.50 or more. That’s a purchase of 6 dryer balls. Remember, these things literally last forever. You will never have to buy them again! Unless you lose one, like I did. The moral of that story is that you should probably not let one roll out of your garage and into your yard somewhere. 

NOTE: Brooke gave me some dryer balls for free in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own!