Friday, February 6, 2009

Some Things You Just Shouldn't Buy in Bulk

I haven’t bought paper towels in almost a year. One reason is because I despise them. I hate that when I’m using them to wipe up liquids my hand almost instantly gets wet with whatever I’m wiping. Also, I find them disgustingly gross for cleaning counters as they start to shrivel.

They also fall short on many jobs, leaving lint on my mirrors and windows or ripping in half right in the middle of scrubbing the stove. Another reason I decided to ditch them? They are wasteful. To clean up an average 4-year old spill, it takes 4-5 paper towels. And, they aren’t reusable or recyclable, so those pups go straight to the trash.

What, then, to use in their place for maximum efficiency, environmental friendliness, and ease of use? I mean, come on, paper towels haven’t been around forever. What did folks use back in the day? A simple Google search on “before paper towels” lead me to an old standby that I already hand on hand but didn’t use very often: flour sack towels. Genius! I love flour sack towels. I can cut and hem them to various sizes and use them for just about anything: cleaning, drying dishes, wiping up spills.

The flour sack towel has helped me to completely rid my home of paper towels.
But, then, I saw a recipe for homemade baby wipes that I just had to try. Unfortunately, I thought about this homemade baby wipe recipe while in Sam’s, the world’s most massive big box store.

I hate Sam’s.

Oh yeah, it’s nice to get an ultra-mega-jumbo pack of diapers and not have to worry about buying diapers for the next century, but I hate that when I go to Sam’s if I remember that I need, say, an ink pen, I have to buy 25 ink pens or plan to make another stop. For a pen afficionade as myself, committing to using the same pen for the next 25 pen usages is hard to stomach. Sure, making another stop on the way is not a big deal if you don't have to load up two kids in the car, get two kids from point A to point B, unload kids, go into store, suffer through "I'm hungry" wails and "Can I have a surprise?" choruses, then reload, and head home.

Sam's has also lead me down the slippery slope of buying things in bulk that I likely won't use all of like canned asparagus. I have several cans of asparagus in my pantry. I love asparagus, but I really prefer it fresh and cooked tender crisp. This canned asparagus is limp. I can't think of much worse than limp asparagus. I tried grilling it to see if it would crispen it up a bit. That was indeed a small culinary disaster. So, I have several cans of asparagus, waiting for their season in our diets.

Oh, and there was the time I bought a bulk pack of packing tape. It happened around Christmas time about three years ago. We were furiously trying to get all our packages mailed on time for once, and while in Sam's, I remembered the packing tape. Last time I counted, we still have about 12 rolls of packing tape. And don't get me started on the bubble mailers, chewing gum, shampoo, and CD cases.

On my last visit to Sam’s to get the ultra-mega-jumbo pack of Pampers, I remember the baby wipe recipe. I push the ultra-mega-jumbo cart with my two kids and the diapers over to the paper goods aisle. Into the cart goes the ultra-mega-jumbo pack of Bounty. The baby wipe recipe calls for a thick, good brand of paper towel. I’d go for Brawny because I like the guy in their logo. He epitomizes brawn and he’s not afraid of a makeover! What more could a woman want in a paper towel logo man? But, alas, Sam’s carries Bounty and Member’s Mark (which is the store brand, so I’ve got a sneaky suspicion it’s not going to qualify for the “thick, good” in the baby wipe recipe).

Now, we have 15 rolls of white Bounty paper towels. I better get cracking on those baby wipes.

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