Ever since I've discovered the joys and benefits of using cloth diapers over disposables, I've had the urge to rid myself of other unnecessary disposable items.
The first, and most obvious culprit was paper towels/paper napkins. Even though we were already pretty conservative with their use (I only buy the half-sheet size, and I try to use just half of that, when I can get away with it), I knew we could cut down on waste even more by going all cloth! Plus, I suspected that, like cloth diapers, I'd find "real" napkins to be much more absorbent and efficient than the paper ones.
I already had one set of six cloth napkins that I'd picked up at a flea market months before (simply because they were the lovely teal/aqua color of my kitchen!). And a trip to a "vintage clothing and furniture sale" yielded me a handful of hand-embroidered hankies for $.25 each.
We keep them in a little basket on the counter (purchased at a dollar store). We really don't need too many, just being the two of us (Sly hasn't quite mastered the use of a napkin!). And the great thing is, I just need to use one all day, for all my meals. When one gets dirty, I just toss it down the basement stairs, where we do the laundry.
We really only use these "nicer" napkins for wiping our face and hands while eating. If I need to clean spills, wipe down the counter, or remove the typical huge mess off Sly's highchair, we have dishrags that we use.
As you can see, we do still keep a roll of paper towels. There are a few tasks where these come in handy...such as wiping excess grease out of our cast-iron pans, and squashing spiders!