February 3, 2012

friday’s five minute fix: switch to cloth

Happy Friday!   If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that the premise of “friday’s five minute fix” is to give you easy, practical ideas to enhance your home in five or so minutes.  Because whether you are sleeping in three hour increments, supervising homework or working long hours (or all of the above), sometimes all you have is five minutes … and you still want — and deserve — a chic, sophisticated home.

Today, I challenge you to throw away the paper and switch to cloth napkins!  There is something inherently more enjoyable about using a cloth napkin than a paper one … and it definitely looks more polished.  Have you ever been to a posh restaurant with paper napkins?

Yum Cloth Napkins by La Famille at Home

Plus, it feels good to be environmentally conscious … not to mention economical.  A stack of pretty cloth napkins won’t cost much more than a month’s supply of Caspari — and you can use them over and over again.  For casual use, it’s perfectly appropriate not to iron them — so don’t let that worry hold you back.

Eat Well Napkins by Nicole Porter Design

Here are a few of my favorites from Etsy — and, of course, you can also find them anywhere from Home Goods to Pottery Barn to Williams-Sonoma.  My twin boys think the “Mind Your Manners” Napkins are hilarious … and the reminders don’t hurt either!  I have my eye on a set of cute girls for my daughters-in-law — you know, in approximately twenty-three or so years — and I can’t having them think I didn’t raise my boys right.  Hee hee hee.

Red French Ticking Napkins by Un Original Americain

Mind Your Manners Napkins by Betsy Grace

I do keep a stash of paper napkins — mainly because I love all of the fun colors and patterns but also because there are certain occasions (say, field trips to the farm) that require entirely disposable lunches.   Even still, I’m happy to be 90% cloth.

Sushi Cloth Napkins by WrenBirdArts

Oh, one additional tip — When you first put cloth napkins in your preschooler’s lunch, write the teacher a note so the napkins don’t get thrown away by an over-eager toddler.  You can probably guess how I know. And before you know it, they’ll be telling their friends to “reduce, reuse and recycle.”

What kind of napkins do you like?

Isn’t that little boy adorable!  He’s an identical twin friend of my boys who just happened to get the “coal car” cupcake at Henry and Charlie’s train-themed second birthday party.  Product photos from Etsy … and thanks to Amanda for first introducing me to Betsy Grace and her napkins!


  • Autumn
    Feb. 03, 2012
    My Jacky!!! Traci- what a great memory!!!! His hands were stained for days!! Lol! I'm just glad he didn't run thru your house touching everything in his path!!! Thx for the smile!
  • Rebecca @ Beck’s Chic Life
    Feb. 03, 2012
    I love cloth napkins and a good looking placemat or runner! Cloth napkins bring a little excitement to the table and I love that you can switch up the look of your table whenever the mood strikes you just by changing the napkins! Do you know there are also cloth paper towels on etsy? I am wanting to give them a try too, but I am nervous to part with Bounty...
  • Happy Friday | Beck's Chic Life
    Feb. 03, 2012
    [...] is a girl after my own heart with her post on making your home chic and saving the environment at the same [...]
  • Amy Vermillion @ Martineau Vermillion Interior Design
    Feb. 03, 2012
    Hey Traci...ASID member! I adore cloth napkins but don't have enough..need to get some of these, especially the sushi ones. Happy weekend my friend, Xo, Amy
  • Sarah
    Feb. 03, 2012
    I love this post! Cloth napkins is somewhere I still could use help!
  • The Vintique Object
    Feb. 03, 2012
    Traci -- great post! Those ticking stripe napkins are awesome. We try to use cloth napkins too and I so appreciate your permission to never iron. Because i don't! I had never once thought to put them in my girls' lunchboxes though. What a great idea. I'm going to try that. Camille
  • Missy
    Feb. 03, 2012
    Thank you so much, Tracy! Lovely post. Have an awesome day! Missy
  • Sheila @ SZInteriors
    Feb. 03, 2012
    I like cloth, too, and it's not the over-eager toddler I have to worry about. It's the haste-makes-waste teenager hurrying to get the dishes done so she can move on to other things! You'd be surprised what 'accidently' gets rerouted ;-)
  • Jonona Amor
    Feb. 03, 2012
    I was not allowed to use real plates and glasses growing up. I now will not touch a paper plate (I bring melamine on picnics) and I use cloth napkins at every meal. It makes me feel very elegant and civilized. The "Mind your Manners" napkins are a riot!
  • diane
    Feb. 03, 2012
    Hi Traci I have used cloth napkins my whole life. I was green and didnt even know it! Not only do they feel better on your face but they make a table look so much prettier. With ones as cute as these maybe people wont be so afraid of the care, cost etc and see how really easy it is. Thanks for sharing and that little boy is too cute!
  • kathysue
    Feb. 03, 2012
    Traci my son will only use cloth so I have both love all of the above images. Plan on looking at the websites, Happy weekend, Kathysue
  • Maria Killam
    Feb. 04, 2012
    Aww the problem with cloth napkins is the stain so easily. How do you get that lipstick off it? Impossible. But colours would be good and certainly just family won't mind if it's not perfection! I love that first image Traci! Priceless! xo maria
  • Elizabeth
    Feb. 05, 2012
    I agree Traci, cloth napkins can dress up any meal just enough. My mom always insisted on using cloth napkins growing up. I love the ticking stripes! Happy weekend.
  • quintessence
    Feb. 06, 2012
    I ADORE cloth napkins and have a rather extensive collection. Love your picks and another fun source that I've written about before is Hen House linens- I think you'll like them!
  • pretty pink tulips
    Feb. 06, 2012
    Such a great fix! We love cloth napkins at our house - though they rarely seem to get pressed these days. Roberta Roller Rabbit has adorable ones - the blue fish are our favorite! xx Elizabeth
  • Lauren@BaylorSays…
    Feb. 06, 2012
    LOVE. I completely agree, and I should be better about practicing what I preach! My little one would adore using cloth napkins...nothing a little soap can't handle. :) Life is short, bring out the good stuff.
  • Sherri Cassara
    Feb. 07, 2012
    I agree - and love them for nicer occasions but you have encouraged me to use them "90%" of the time. Seriously, I have them - tons of them. I need to just use them! Great post. LOVE the photo of your son ;D

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