Switching to paperless hasn’t been too hard for us. We used to use paper napkins and paper towels for the sake of convenience, but I haven’t found life without them any less convenient.
I had a drawer full of linen and cloth napkins that were only used when we had company for dinner. We just started using them every day. They don’t really take any extra time to wash, and I hang them up to dry and don’t iron them. The hanging works out most of the wrinkles. The rest I just ignore. Folding napkins is a great kid task – any kid can learn to fold a square in half a couple of times. It also makes the table look nice and we deserve something that looks nice.
Cloth napkins are cheap to pick up at thrift stores and yard sales. I’ve done both, inherited some, some were wedding shower gifts and some (I’m almost certain) just bred in the dark napkin drawer and produced more. We have more than enough napkins to keep us going for a couple of weeks if the laundry basket doesn’t make it all the way back upstairs in that time. Sometimes if we didn’t really get them dirty, we just fold them back up and leave them at our places at the table. Easy enough.
For drying hands, I have tea towels that always hang on the refrigerator door handle within easy reach of the sink.
For cleaning, I’ve always used rags. Every time a t-shirt gets too holey or a sheet gets ripped I cut it up into rags. I don’t sew or neatly serge the edges, just throw them in the rag drawer. They don’t need to be pretty, just functional. I use them for everything from cleaning dog barf to wiping chocolate out of 8 year old hair and ears. I wash them after use. Occasionally I have to use them for something so nasty that I just throw them out, but usually they just get washed.
The dad has noticed the lack of paper towels, but only when we cook bacon. I keep saying, “Oops, we must be out.” He copes.