You are looking at a just a few of the many linen napkins Bossy uses on a daily basis for the dinners served at her dining room table alongside the flowers and the tea lights in votives and no Bossy and her husband and daughter aren’t eating dinner in front of the television most nights because they’re depressed their son isn’t around why do you ask?
And while we’re on the subject of asking and paragraph transitions made turbulent from lack of sleep, Bossy has something to ask her Poverty Party council:
Do you think it’s cheaper to use linen napkins, or disposable napkins?
And before you’re all, Gahhhhh it’s cheaper to use the thing you don’t have to buy, please consider all the laundering of said linen napkins.
Bossy will leave you to consider. Meanwhile she’ll be here, nodding off in her desk chair where desk chair equals dining room chair because Bossy is on the welfare.
Acher saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:10 am
Growing up we ALWAYS used linen napkins. My parents swore that they were cheaper. We never even had paper towels in the house really. My friends were always confused when I handed them a real napkin instead of a paper one.
Nowadays? I use the select-a-size paper towels as double duty napkins/paper towels. I have this problem with laundry, see. I hate to do it. Really hate it. And I don’t do it very often. I would never have clean napkins.
Bridget saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:19 am
Neither. Just use your sleeves. Boom. Problem solved. Also, that is my favorite Eddie Murphy routine OF ALL TIME.
Ah got mah ice cream and you ain’t got none cause you on welfare.
kristin saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:26 am
We use cloth napkins. I haven’t actually tried to figure how much it might cost to wash them, and I never will because I suck at math, but it HAS to be, like, a fraction of a penny. You can add them to any load of laundry, because it’s not like they take a lot of space. And I wash ours once a week. If you use different patterns for each family member, or napkin rings, then everyone keeps their napkin for the week with no confusion. Unless you eat barbecue every night or something, they don’t get very dirty.
And let me just stop the germaphobes RIGHT HERE by saying that YES, I understand this grosses some people out. But as for the spreading of germs? None of us are ever, ever sick.
janet saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:33 am
Even if it costs more for cloth, which it doesn’t (see Kristin), they don’t fill up our landfills. And you don’t have to come up with the cash to buy them, cuz they don’t run out. And you don’t have to carry them home, or find a place to store them. So there. No contest.
Kristine saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:33 am
We use cloth napkins about 70% of the time. I don’t think it costs anymore to wash them, because I throw them in with a load that I’m doing anyway. They’re not that big, they don’t make another load of laundry.
Also, we don’t wash them everytime we use them. We wash them either after every 2-3 uses OR when they really are gross because we ate ribs or something.
janet saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:35 am
…and don’t evern THINK about ironing them! Wrinkles add to the charm.
janet saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:38 am
,,,and “some people” in my house see a cloth napkin, and refuse to use it because they don’t want it to get dirty. (Then there is no laundry cost) That’s when you find out that usually one doen’t even need a napkin.
hollygee saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:43 am
Ditto Kristin, and more importantly I LIKE TO USE THEM better than paper napkins which remind me of TV dinners in the 50’s.
Peg saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:47 am
Definitely cloth napkins. Cost is nothing compared to paper because if I use paper, it has to be really nice, not those cheap thin things!
Vanilla saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:51 am
You use napkins every day? In our house we only use them if we’re eating in the dining room (which means either when we have company for dinner or it’s a special occasion).
Most of the time we eat at the kitchen table and don’t use napkins because why would we need them? We don’t really eat potentially messy things like soup very often.
floreksa saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 10:55 am
Ok – assuming an electric rate of $.11/kWhr a load of laundry will cost approx $.14 (incl the cost of water – not incl detergent or heating the water). Wash on cold and its still $.14/load. Line dry – $.14/load. Assume at least 14 items and you’re at about $.01/item to wash (still at about $.01/item if you use homemade detergent at $.01/load).
Assume you wash them every other night…and that’s about $5.50/yr? (182 days * $.01/item * 3 napkins).
Of course if you live in an area where residential rates are Time of Use (meaning peak/off peak rates) washing at night could be significantly cheaper than that.
Wow – I need a new job. I shouldn’t know this stuff. Or I could be 100% wrong since I’m drinking instant coffee this morning 😉
Amy saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 11:00 am
We used cloth napkins in my house growing up, and my husband and his family always used paper.
Now he is a convert — we use cloth napkins exclusively in our house. Even for our quick breakfasts in the morning before running off to work. It’s green, it’s cheaper (can be thrown in with any load of towels/sheets/etc. because they take up very little room) and, let’s not forget, it’s prettier.
jen saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 11:06 am
Well, we’ve been using cheap, thin, paper nakkins.
After reading this, I am switching to my rarely-used, ‘for company only’ (which is a lie, cuz even the company gets the paper nakkins) linen, but really cotton NAPKINS.
Thank you, Poverty Party.
*The More You Know!*
kerry saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 11:08 am
We use linen- have a ridiculous stack of them. Once they are almost used up, we do one wash of them all. Same with wiping up the table and kitchen counter- we use dishtowels and try not to use papertowels. That’s kind of tough but now it’s not so bad, in fact we are pretty hooked. Wow, do I sound boring…
Keetha saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 11:09 am
We use cloth napkins about 1/3 of the time. I like cloth napkins but you know, sometimes it’s just easier to grab a stack of paper ones. It FEELS easier, anyway.
But cloth napkins make more sense, moneywise.
Lora saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 11:17 am
Cloth napkins are cheaper in the long run. I don’t do an extra load of laundry in order to wash them – and we use a “new”, clean napkin at every meal. My MIL won’t use a cloth napkin at our house because she doesn’t want to dirty one and I find that ridiculous. It’s a napkin, it’s supposed to get dirty!
Hokie Deb saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 11:50 am
–>We use paper napkins exclusively.
Let me say that again, I use them my husband uses his shirt so there you go!
cartoongoddess saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm
It’s cheaper to use your pants. By that time of day, they’re the next thing to go into the wash anyway.
Conserve! Use your pants!
Sewmouse saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 12:23 pm
My folks grew up during the Great Depression in the 1930’s (as opposed to whatever we’re going to call this debacle of the late 00’s). Mom was the type to wash and reuse plastic bags, save bread wrapper bags for storage, wash and reuse aluminum foil, save and reuse gift wrappings, etc.
Yes, she used cloth napkins. That (to me) means they are less expensive than paper, using the WWMD (What Would Mom Do?) principle of penny-squeezing.
Grandma J saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 1:04 pm
When dining alone I just grab a paper towel. I’m not a Poverty Party attendee, but if I was, I’d probably take some of those cute napkins home from the bar after Friday’s poverty meeting. Some being a handful.
pkzcass saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 1:07 pm
We usually use paper napkins, but I’ve been toying with the idea of switch to all cloth. I just have to make the initial outlay of money to buy them. Must go to Home Goods at lunch!
Lotta saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm
Paper napkins. Not paper towels mind you – those add up. But a pack of napkins for a buck lasts a long time.
Kim saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 1:46 pm
Paper. Did you know you can put them in your compost pile along with paper towels (God forbid) and your tea bags and coffee filters?
Alwyn saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm
I was JUST thinking about this issue, mind-reader Bossy! We use linen napkins breakfast, lunch and dinner, although this is only a couple year-old policy. Prior to that, because the kids were smaller, we used paper. But only the Vanity Fair ones that are nice and smooth and thick. I loathe those nasty, cheap, thin ones. Anyway, the switch was environmentally and aesthetically motivated, but I believe they also save $$. They don’t take up much room in the laundry, don’t take much time to fold, and always make me feel a little more elegant.
Cactus Petunia saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm
We started using cloth napkins about 20 years ago. Definitely cheaper all around…Just think: when our kids are in their 50s they’ll be reminiscing about the great depression of the turn of the 21st century and how their parents pinched pennies!
Maria saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm
Cloth, cloth, CLOTH. I won’t even get into the math…math doesnt’ matter here…there is something beautiful and refined about cloth napkins, that even if you’re having take out you feel a bit more…oh, 1945 or something…and all glamourous…and then there is something to be said for the therapy of folding. Like if your son is miles and miles away and you needed therapy. Gah, bossy.
Franca Bollo saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm
Oh Eddy … my side aches.
What was your question?
Scottsdale Girl saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm
The dogs prefer that I use the paper napkins, they are easier to dig out of the TRASH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
Amber saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm
I like cloth napkins. As many others have pointed out, it’s not like you can’t find a little space amongst the jeans, sweaters, and socks for a few thin scraps of cloth. Plus, I have to try to limit our trash output since my husband seems to be under the misconception that “trash day” is once every month or two.
Melissa saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm
I love cloth napkins. We started using them in an effort to use less paper products and I really don’t think I’m doing any more laundry than I was before. I just wash them with the rest of my towels and cleaning rags. Of course there are only two of us so thats not a ton of napkins, but I’m guesing it wouldn’t be too different if there were more.
Plus they look nice 🙂
Naomi saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm
Hmmm … have never really gotten into cloth napkins, but just might have to take the leap after reading these comments!
Diane G saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm
I started using cloth napkins when I saw another young, hip co-worker at lunch bring hers out and I thought that was very cool. So, it continues even now that it’s 19 years later and I have a family of 6. I am sure it’s money-saving.
Karen saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm
Definitely cheaper to use cloth. I still have some of the cloth napkins I bought more than 10 years ago! They last forever, are more absorbent, and can be found for as little as 50 cents in stores such as TJMaxx or even at Kohl’s with a super duper clearance sale and a coupon.
Carey saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 7:50 pm
If you “inadvertently” pick up a few extra napkins any time you’re in a restaurant or save the ones you get at the drive thru with your order you don’t have to worry about laundry cost or buying paper napkins. Works well with catsup and salt too!
Sparx saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm
Well I thinks you gots your answer! We did this sum with the cloth nappies and I can’t remember how much it worked out to but CLOTH! Way cheaper and nicer and hel-LO civilisation.
Renee in Seattle saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm
We seem to find ourselves using our dish towels…. I take the one hanging on the oven door, throw it at the kids and ask them to please please please wipe their filthy mouths off as they hunch over the breakfast bar inhaling their food. I probably just grossed everyone out.
melanietai saysFebruary 18, 2009 at 9:27 pm
i have been keeping my eye out for cloth napkins, etc at thrift stores and such and i finally have a decent amount (like two dozen). so the cost is negligent and re-using is so eco! one of my 6 and 8 years olds sons weekly chores is folding the napkins, washcloths, and all the socks.
The Cheap Chick saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 2:23 am
I like paper napkins for one, salient point – you can use them as Kleenex. And my nose gets all snarfully when I eat. And blowing/wiping your nose on cloth napkins is SO GROSS, OH GOD WHY DO PEOPLE IN RESTAURANTS DO IT, DO YOU THINK WE CAN’T SEE YOU???? Sorry, this post reminds me of my least favorite pet peeve.
The Domestic Goddess saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 9:20 am
Cloth. Been using them for years. I find them on clearance someplace (ahem, Tarzhay) and have drawers full of them. I wash them every other day, unless someone, say, spills a drink? Blows their nose on them? WHich, believe me, happens EVERY SINGLE FReAKING DAY.
SnowWhitemommy saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 11:29 am
Cloth…breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have an entire drawer full of them, they get better and softer over time. No extra laundry, just throw them in with a load of laundry.
I have cloth napkins older than my kids…like Bossy, we have a son in college!
Heide saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 11:48 am
Cloth. I’m very impressed by Floreksa’s math (#11)! Another thing to consider: most paper napkins are made of virgin wood and bleached. The environmental cost of cutting down all those trees, driving them to a factory, reducing them to pulp, and then bleaching them (reducing many bad bad chemicals into the environment), and then driving them to your neighborhood supermarket, is high.
We also use old diapers and old kitchen towels as cleaning rags. Takes us months to go through a roll of paper towels. (We keep them around for things like broken glass and dog vomit.)
Margie saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm
We use cloth for everyday and really nice paper for company. Nuts, huh? My real linen napkins for company haver to be ironed. Good grief! Got to avoid that!
If you go to JoAnns and get some homespun when there is a coupon for fabric, it is cheap. You don’t have to know how to sew. Cut the size you want and pull about 1/3 to 1/2 inch of threads off each edge. Most of these fabrics won’t unravel any additional threads and the “fringe” is cute.
gerette saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm
Back in the day, when we first got married, it seemed that every holiday we got more napkins as gifts. After a while of only using them for dinner parties, I realized that we had 50 napkins sitting around our house! That’s when we switched and, 15 years later, I’m still using some of the same napkins.
I’m not as good with paper towels–we have a ton of tea towels, but I’m always grabbing paper towels. I think I need to switch locations in the kitchen so that the cloth ones are more convenient to grab.
Like others have said, I never notice any extra laundry and it just feels nicer.
gerette saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 7:06 pm
BTW, on the subject of reusable towels, if you’re looking for microfiber cleaning cloths, check out the automotive department. I found a dozen microfiber cloths on clearance at Target for $5! Meanwhile the cleaning supply section had two for $5.
Lisa saysFebruary 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm
cloth..always and the welfare burger is the hottest meal in town, here at the Coastal Nest.
kate saysFebruary 20, 2009 at 11:58 am
linen would be cheaper, unless one’s daughter STEALS all the linen napkins to use as stuffed animal blankets.
Alissa saysFebruary 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm
If you purchase them on super clearance like I’ve done, I think its cheaper to use cloth because we would be running the washing machine anyway.
Same arguement does not work so well with diapers, however because they require many extra loads of laundry and this is a desert, you know!
Reeb saysFebruary 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Unless we have company (whereupon we sit at a Real Table and use cloth napkins), Husband and I eat in front of TV with dishtowels tucked into our necks. And we don’t even have depression over a son away at college to attribute our behavior to. I’ll just say we’re relaxed.
HAGERDASH saysFebruary 20, 2009 at 11:08 pm
Use your sleeve. Free and fun.
Say What? saysFebruary 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm
I love that Eddie Murphy sketch!! total classic!!
And how does Eddie’s tushie in those red leather pants fit into the Poverty Post?? Have to work on that.
julie saysFebruary 23, 2009 at 11:53 am
Cloth! We have 2 kids, ages 3 & 2 and their favorite foods are anything with ketchup, BBQ, or red pasta/pizza sauce so the napkins aren’t pretty, but they’re cheap and easy.
I bought about 24 plain white thin dishcloths- each about 12×12 but thicker than a standard napkin. We keep all of those in a drawer and pull out 2 for the kids for breakfast (grownups don’t need napkins for coffee and cereal, usually; kids may). If the kids manage to not spill too much, they use the same two for lunch (again, grownup doesn’t really need one) and then all 4 of us use them at dinner. So at most 8 per day, but usually only 4. 24 of them last us 3-6 days.
We also keep a basket of baby washcloths at the sink and use those wet for wiping up sticky hands/faces after meals. 1-3 per day.
Since we wash towels almost every other day, they get tossed in with towels. The kids fold them and put them away while the grownup does the towels. Done. Together they amount to the laundry of a lightweight towel, but really that plus another towel or two is about difference between “medium” and “large” on my washing machine which means I actually run laundry slightly LESS often in a larger load which is more efficient.
Heather saysFebruary 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm
We used paper napkins until we had the baby, and now we just count on doing laundry every hour of the freaking day, so we use the linen ones. And there is something about that which is good for the environment, I think, maybe, but I’m too sleepy to be sure.
amy saysMarch 1, 2009 at 12:20 am
Must buy some fabric napkins next time I am at the thrift stores. I do laundry daily, what is an extra 5 small items?