My eight-year old daughter, Virginia, seems partial to using the collar of her shirt to wipe her mouth in place of anything resembling a proper napkin. The rest of us rely on this basket, which has become a permanent fixture on our dining table. Outside of big gatherings and birthday parties, paper napkins have become largely a thing of the past in our house. Cloth ones can stand up to multiple uses, get washed as needed, and save paper as well as a bit of cash. You can get fancy and assign a different color or pattern to each family member, although I’m not that organized or that hygenic. Hopefully Virginia will catch on before college

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  1. 10.21.2011 at 11:46 AM #

    Thanks for this post Katie, I am an advocate of cloth napkins as well. It just feels more civilized :) I have been sewing cloth napkins out of leftover fabric scraps for years. If you don’t get crafty check out your local goodwill or salvation army- people are always donating cloth napkins (and if you want to get fancy, place mats) so they are cheap. You can get crazy and have your kids pick out a set of utensils and a napkin roll up for their lunch boxes too!

    • katiemorford
      10.21.2011 at 12:19 PM #

      Those are all great ideas. I’ve got all kinds of fabrics scraps laying around…might be an easy craft project with the kids to make napkins. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pamela
    10.21.2011 at 11:51 AM #

    Very sweet and practical as well! Has Virginia read this?

    • katiemorford
      10.21.2011 at 12:20 PM #

      I’ll show it to her tonight. I may just kick her of the “shirt as napkin” habit!

  3. Pam H
    10.21.2011 at 2:10 PM #

    I haven’t purchased paper napkins in probably 4 years. To limit laundry and thus conserve water, we each use our cloth napkin for the whole week (unless we have ribs or something messy!). Each of us has our own unique napkin ring, so we put the napkin back in the ring at the end of the meal. We even do this in Tahoe where we have lots of different guests all winter long. I attached paper tags to napkin rings (those white round ones with a metal edge that you can buy at the 5 & 10 for a few cents each) and everyone writes their name on the tag and uses the same napkin for the length of their stay.

    • katiemorford
      10.21.2011 at 3:21 PM #

      You’re more organized than I’ll ever be….but inspiring. Thanks for the good ideas.

  4. Martha Holmberg
    10.27.2011 at 9:24 PM #

    Yay for cloth napkins, and by extension, shirttails. We cycle through about a million at my house…gorgeous linen options for fancy, but for everyday we use a mish-mash of cotton napkins, most of which either came from our DIY wedding 16 years ago, or from a Thanksgiving party I hosted in London, um…21 years ago. Cotton just keeps getting softer and more absorbent.

    But here’s my napkin rant: what’s with the mingy dimensions? I want a generous drape of fabric across my lap, not a handkerchief. Maya Kamal, do you hear me?

    • katiemorford
      10.28.2011 at 10:55 AM #

      Agreed on the generous drape. Love the idea of napkins as memory keepsake from special occasions.

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