Paper-Free Kitchen & A Couple of Design Regrets

I can’t believe that it has already been over one year since the complete gut remodel of the kitchen here at BHH.


Neither Andy nor I have any regrets about the money we spent on this remodel. We love it.

I was ridiculously thorough about planning where to store everything in the new kitchen, and most of my choices have stuck. Over the past year, we moved a couple of utensils, and I had to explain my reasoning for the location of a few kitchen items. However, overall, the layout is intuitive, and everything has its proper place. What a satisfying feeling.

I still have a couple of design regrets, but they do not keep me up at night. Both are related to the refrigerator wall.

1. Facing the fridge, down on the lower left: Instead of a regular cabinet, I wish I had put a bank of drawers there, just like the one by the stove. Drawers are my favorite type of kitchen storage.

2. Along the same wall, presently occupied by a single picture, I wish we had added a second floor-to-ceiling cabinet. Even though I am used to it now, I think that space would look better without such a wide gap between the cabinet and the pantry door.

Again, none of these issues is a dealbreaker.

In the past twenty years, we have lived with seven kitchens in six different houses. The new kitchen here at BHH is my favorite. Of course, that makes sense since we designed it from scratch to fit the exact needs of our family. We may never be so lucky again.

One thing that has not changed over twenty years is the fact that we are paper-free in the kitchen. New kitchen or old, we utilize four products that align with our values.

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Paper Towel Substitutes

The fact that we do not use paper towels has been a long-time source of amusement for my mother. (Sorry for calling you out, Mom. It’s a good story; I promise.) When she sends packages, she packs the empty spaces with crumpled paper towels. Many years ago, when we first became paper-free, Andy oohed and ahhed over mom’s addition of paper towels as packing material as if they were the gift and not the contents of the package. This tickled my clever mom so much that she started adding a post-it note directly to the paper towels that read: For Andy. And thus, a long-standing joke was born.

Instead of paper towels, we use two products:

Super Chamois (synthetic) Cleaning Cloths


Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Both serve different functions in the kitchen. We use the microfiber cloths for wiping up quick spills and dry messes primarily when we are cooking. The chamois are great for drying dishes, mopping up large wet spills, and drying the countertops, appliances, and cabinets after a thorough cleaning.

(What do we do with those paper towels that mom sends? We save them of course. I use them for the gross stuff, and by gross, I mean Millie. Dogs, am I right?)

For dishcloths or smaller wipes, we use Skoy eco-friendly cleaning cloths.

They are perfect for wiping down the table after a meal or washing pots and pans. (Love that snowy view outside the breakfast nook.)

I store all of our reusable cloths under the sink in a basket (on the left). We don’t even fold them since they are hidden away. They go right from the dryer directly into the basket.

(Laundry tip: Wash and dry your reusable cloths without fabric softener or dryer sheets. Both products  will put a coating on the fibers, and the cloths will no longer be absorbent.)

My Morning Coffee

The last item that rounds out our paper-free kitchen is this stainless steel pour-over coffee filter. The brand we have is Glowcoast, but here is a comparable one.

This handy little filter makes a delicious cup of coffee. I like a robust brew, so I pour over twice. The first time, I pour the water onto the dry grounds. The second time, I pour the coffee over the wet grounds and into my mug.

I am the only coffee drinker in BHH, so the filter I linked is a perfect size for one cup at a time. This larger style, linked below, makes 4-6 cups at a time.

That’s it. Four simple reusable kitchen products save us money and help us lighten our footprint on the planet. Do you have any favorite reusable products? Do you keep a paper-free kitchen or household? Let me know.

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