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Date: 16 May 2019. Saving on Kleenex (handkerchiefs)


Budgets often fail not because of extravagant purchases. A plethora of lower cost throw-away goods bought regularly can add up to a large expense. In other words, it is not always the big ticket items that cause a shortage of cash. One thing I stopped buying is tissues. Brands such as Kleenex or Puffs with Aloe were my favorites.

The main impetus is because I washed one load too many with a tissue left in my pocket. Bits of tissue stuck to damp clothes is simply not fun. Picking bits of tissue off everything is a pain in the transom.


I switched over to cotton flannel torn into 8" to 10" squares instead of store-bought paper tissues. They work well. As a bonus, my flannel rags are much softer than even the best aloe infused tissues. Plus I save money by not purchasing tissues.


It was not just the laundry load with bits of tissue sticking to everything. I had also upgraded to a better/warmer flannel nightgown. The old one was stained and I wanted to get one more use out of the fabric. The blue nightie was soft. It would be absorbent too.

In the previous article What to Wear I told you about my penchant for cutting up old shirts and turning them into disposable work rags. Cheap paper towels costs a dollar per roll. Old clothing that is torn, stained or otherwise disreputable can extend its useful life by becoming in essence a "paper" towel. Plus, the rags can be washed and reused or thrown away. Either option is still a win.

But I digress...
As winter ends folks who used cotton flannel sheets to stay warm donate them to thrift stores. This is the ideal time of the year to find a selection.

Fellows should look for plaid fabric. You've got your masculinity on the line. Don't buy hearts.

A couple years back I bought sheets with hearts. A fitted sheet doesn't fit my bunk well, so I chopped it up.

Before purchase I feel the sheets. The fabric should not have pills. Pills are little round balls of thread that adhere to the cloth. Fabric like that is scratchy. Don't buy it.

Side Note: I am aware that you can buy a gizmo similar to a razor and "shave off" the pills. I have found that if the fabric quality isn't there in the beginning, shaving will not ever succeed long term.

Ideally the sheet will be soft. My skin is sensitive so I only opt for the softest fabrics.

Side Note: My fitted bottom sheet did not fit the bunk. I cut off the elastic parts. Then I cut/tore the fabric in half crosswise. It fits from my shoulders to the foot of the bunk. The advantage is that I use that part as my bottom sheet. I have successfully halved my laundry and still have a clean sheet.

Because the piece of fabric is smaller, it is easier to wash. I always use a cover too. My regularly washed bedding includes the hearts fabric piece you see above, plus a cover and my pillowcase. By keeping laundry loads small they are easier to dry inside the boat.

I am private and prefer to keep my boat looking nice at all times.
Laundry hanging outside draws attention. I prefer not to stand out.

First, fellows need to shop for a cotton flannel pillowcase. I would go to a
thrift store. This time of the year flannels are usually available and on sale.

To make handkerchiefs, the easiest way is to lay out the flannel fabric. Make little snips about 1/2 inch long every 10" or 12" along the long side. This does not have to be exact. A pillowcase should yield six handkerchiefs per side. Thus with one small pillowcase you'll have an even dozen.

Next tear all the way across your fabric. Yes, you could use scissors. For me tearing is easier plus the edges are straighter. Flannels will tear once they are started. After I have the long strips I turn the fabric. Then cut the flannel pieces into Kleenex size squares.

Voila: Done!

All of mine are approximately the same size. If you're a fellow you  might want yours larger.

They also makes nice rags for wiping my brow or neck when it is hot.
I have also dampened one with water to help keep me cool in the summertime.

Because these are made from cotton flannel, they will be absorbent. If you need to sop up a bit of coffee that spilled, you are ready. Need to clean your dip stick? All set. If you are like me you will find more than a dozen uses for these rags. Aboard Seaweed, flannel rags are an essential gear item.

If I did not already have a good supply, I might consider adding a flannel sheet to my thrift store shopping list. This is not worth paying full retail price in my view. Still, having rags that dry quickly (faster than regular towels) is a real boon.

Aboard Seaweed having absorbent rags is Very Useful.

This is my version of Puffs with Aloe brand tissues. They are soft, absorbent and last practically forever. I do not hem the edges. That's just too much work.

After repeated washing the threads will start to unravel at the edges. I just use scissors to cut off the loose threads. Honestly though, it is easy to to do this. Plus these rags save me money.

My skin has become thinner as I age. I find these flannel pieces ideal.
Several are used each day. I wash at least a half dozen every other day.

An Update regarding my Broken Arm: My arm is getting better. Thankfully the pain levels are decreasing. The bruises are fading. Thanks for the comments and emailed notes regarding the arm. Your encouragement is so nice. Thank you!!! J.

Thank you for reading. Happy boating.

I'd love to know if you use disposable tissues or cloth handkerchiefs.
And, do you think "real" handkerchiefs are just a thing of the past?

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Categories: Comfort, Gear, Money,

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