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March 20, 2020 3 min read

Our recommendations at a glance:
→ Swap paper towels for Swedish Dishcloths
→ Swap cotton balls and cosmetic rounds for Reusable Face Cloths
→ Swap scratch paper and sticky notes for whiteboards
→ Swap K-Cups Single Use Coffee Pods for Reusable K-Cup Filters
→ Swap facial tissue for handkerchiefs
→ Swap disinfectant wipes for the EPA-approved list of cleaning products

I took stock of everything in my (now too small) house yesterday to determine what I really needed to buy. I was going to the grocery store on a highly-targeted mission to replace whatever I thought I might run low on in the next few weeks.

In our home, we don’t usually stockpile. We live in a smallish home in an older neighborhood. Under the best of circumstances, we carefully calculate what can fit in the refrigerator, what we truly need in our tiny pantry and how much toilet paper will fit under the sink.

Now, my office/dining room is serving as a back-up pantry. My husband is working out of our strangely large laundry room. My son has staked out his personal space and isn’t giving an inch.

So before dashing off to the grocery store with a holster full of hand sanitizer, I crossed some things off my list and opted to find sustainable, reusable replacements that will last a long, long time. 

Here’s what I changed out.

1. Paper Towels

Get Instead: Swedish Dishcloths 

Why: Well, you’re lucky to find paper towels right now. Swedish dishcloths (not necessarily made in Sweden), are sturdier than paper towels and wash in the dishwasher. They are more absorbent than paper towels and look prettier too.


American Made: Three Bluebirds
Not only great washcloths, but these graphic designs will put a smile on your face.

Amazon Alternative: Skoy
This economical option for Swedish dishcloths on Amazon is still in great supply. 

2. Cotton Balls & Cosmetic Rounds

Get Instead: Reusable Face Cloths

Why: As a near-cousin to medical supplies, we can expect the supply of cotton rounds and cotton balls to dry up soon. Get your reusable face cloths and cosmetic rounds now.


American Made: Juniperseed Mercantile
Juniperseed Mercantile has a well-stocked store with loads of great reusable products you may want to consider.

Amazon Alternative: Greenzla
These come with a sturdy box for storage and a laundry bag for washing.

3. Scratch Paper & Sticky Notes

Get Instead: Whiteboards

Why: Because we should have stopped wasting paper on scratch notes a long time ago.


American Made: M.C. Squares 
Surfaces Personal Desktop Whiteboards
Stickies Reusable Sticky Notes
M.C. Squares manufacturers all their whiteboard products in Denver, CO of American-sourced materials. Their products can be used thousands of times and still look beautiful.

Don't forget the wet-erase and dry-erase markers.

They are currently shipping for free from their warehouse, but if you prefer the Amazon hookup, here’s theirAmazon store.

4. K-Cups Single-Use Coffee Pods

Get instead: Reusable K Cup Filters

Why: Getting thrifty and saving space means ditching expensive, wasteful, and space-consuming K Cups. Instead, buy your favorite coffee in bulk and make it fresh daily. 


You can find these all over Amazon. Here’s an example: GoodCups

5. Facial Tissue

Get instead: Handkerchiefs 

Why: Again, tissues are getting hard to find. Unless you’ve mastered the “farmer blow,” this is the time to get some handkerchiefs.


American made: Moo Cow Momma
Moo Cow Momma is one of MANY Etsy sellers with cute handkerchiefs in multiple sizes. This store gets great reviews and has stock on hand.

Amazon alternative: Levi’s Bandanas
I picked these up in different colors so I could color code them for each family member. My husband prefers a larger size, so bandanas are perfect.

6. Disinfectant Wipes

Get instead: The EPA List of Cleaning Products

Why: Stores are running out of disinfectant wipes, and that’s okay. The EPA made a list of cleaning products that are just as effective and less wasteful than disposable wipes.

It’s a bit technical, but 100% reliable. Check it out HERE.

Their recommendation also includes making your own disinfectant spray with this recipe:

How to Make & Use Homemade Bleach Disinfectant Spray:

    • 4 teaspoons household bleach
    • 1 quart water
    • Pour both into one quart spray bottle, shake vigorously
    • Spray on surface to disinfect
    • Let sit for 10 minutes
    • Wipe away with wet cloth

Anthony Franco
Anthony Franco

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