Of Handkerchiefs and Trash

I am always trying to improve our life, our health, save money, and lessen our footprint. When I look at my shopping list, I look for the things I can prepare myself. I see what I can grow myself. We think of what we can do for ourselves. We try to do better. We recycle. It is important to us. Despite the growing reports that our crap may just all end up in foreign countries, or worse, not get recycled at all, I just cannot not recycle. Despite the fact that we pay double what our non-recycling neighbors pay for trash and we only get a pick up once a month. So, I look at my trash bin and my recycling bin and see where my trash is coming from. Because it is not enough to put up solar or wind power, get an electric car (still uses fossil fuels, folks), or recycle; we need to use less, waste less, live simpler.

This vintage child’s handkerchief from Pinterest couldn’t be cuter.

I am surprised at just how much waste finds its way onto my homestead. Bulk items in plastic bags, produce in plastic bags, animal food bags, my new oil lamp wrapped in plastic and cardboard. Cardboard boxes from prepared foods, deliveries of items, and so much more fills my waste bins. I can deal with that by buying less, preparing more, and coming up with another way to get bulk items and produce home. But there is one other thing that surprised me that filled the trash bin. Tissues!

When did the era of using a handkerchief leave us? My generation in particular seems to have completely forgotten how things were before us. So many things have been replaced with wasteful, mass marketed, and destructive alternatives. We don’t think much of a box of tissues, but perhaps we should! A handkerchief was used to wipe one’s face or hands, dry tears, or blow the nose. Washable and convenient (and for women, often very beautiful), handkerchiefs were as fashionable and reasonable as bonnets and long skirts. (I am wearing my bonnet this year, y’all, I don’t care what the neighbors think!) So, perhaps it is time to add handkerchiefs to my sewing list for winter. I think cotton would be lovely and soft. Perhaps they could be made out of an old shirt. I will use the same technique I did for the homemade cloth napkins, which couldn’t be simpler. I think it might be wise to use darker fabric. Maybe I will even embroider my initials on them. (What is my name these days? Mama? Grammie?)

Handkerchiefs are an easy way to lessen our footprint and add a little old fashioned charm to our lives.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Featherlight Homestead says:

    That’s a really good notion, to look at small things like that and see what we can do 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Maybe as we think about the small, we can make a bigger (or smaller, rather!) impact!

  2. oldgreyandworkinghard says:

    I began using hankies a long time ago. Not to save the planet but to save us money when we went from two incomes to one. I pulled out my machine and made myself some flannelette hankies from an old sheet I could no longer use…. Flannelette you say? yep, the best you can use when you have a cold because your nose will not become red and sore… then I made a few for ‘going out and about’ pretty ones.
    Those first ‘around the house only flannelette’ ones are still alive and kicking after years of use and nary a tissue to be seen in this household, or in the washing when you forget to take them out of your pockets before throwing the clothes in the washing machine 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Oh you’re right, they must be very soft! I bet there’s a lot one can do with old sheets…you’ve got me thinking!

  3. Julie P says:

    I have always used handkerchiefs, I had my own collection when small, they were always in my Christmas stocking, I also inherited my nana’s and my mum’s collection. So yes I agree use handkerchiefs! (Ps using nick’s email I have not been able to put any comments on your blog for weeks using my email!)

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I will message you! I want to know how your travels are going!

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