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paul wheaton
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Apparently I now need to buy all new kitchen towels. And I think we need a wooden box that makes it difficult to get a kitchen towel without seeing a sign that says "these towels are for drying clean things."

Apparently people find that clean towels are the best thing for cleaning dirty things. Like dirty cast iron. And now we have zero kitchen towels that can be returned to a clean state.
 
allen lumley
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Paul W. : Years ago I caught an Industrial cleaning and toilet supply company going out of business, they had the cloth hand towel on a roller, in a tin box with a
mirror on its front face, most men have seen hundreds of them in Gas station mens rooms !

I got 3 boxes very cheap for a local hunting club, and later stopped in on a whim just before the 'everything cleaned out to the bare walls' auction and picked up 5
more boxes.

Cut to suitable lengths and hemmed on the cut ends they have made great Kitchen towels, and hand protectors in place of those oven mitts that can't be found !
Cut extra long with the edges folded back towards the center and hemmed to make hand pockets they are call moppeni's -and do double duty ! hope I gave you
a good mental picture, though thin they wear and cleanup better than anything else, they have even seen duty as Cloth diapers- just don't Tell the kitchen help !
Big AL !
 
Judith Browning
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We keep a five gallon crock full of kitchen rags....cut mostly from all cotton old waffle weave shirts and heavy knits. Those are what everyone grabs for drying a skillet. wiping up a spill, etc. they get washed one extra cycle ahead of my beautiful creamy dry only clean things kithchen towels, that are also made from recycled materials... all cotton , linen, and rami curtains , a sofa cover, etc. They were easily cut and then hemmed...just be sure that the material hasn't been scotch guarded or something. Much better that anything I could buy and I can vary the sizes for our use.

edit....the kitchen RAGS are ugly....no hemming, just backs and fronts of shirts so some kind of look like animal hides....when they are too funky to wash clean anymore they get floor duty.

and another EDIT, sorry...old cotton and linen table clothes are wonderful to make into kitchen towels also.
 
William Bronson
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I have old socks as wash cloths, cotton rags as drying cloths/napkins,and indelibly grease stained cloths of all descriptions for everything else. I am considering what kind of rag would make the best toilet paper, but my family really isn't on board with that...

I never seem to run out, people give me clothing, I wear it to death,it becomes clean rags then soiled rags then compost, the cycle continues.
However there is a question that using rags as a permie raises:
Are you really going to spend your time hanging rags out to dry?

I just can't see this as a good use of my time here on earth. Maybe there is another way I haven't considered, but right now the dryer or line drying seem like a choice between wasted energy and wasted hours.


As far as keeping people from using good rags for filthy tasks, providing better options and posting expectations at the point of use might help.
For example, luffas, steel wool,scrapers and/or chain mail style scrubbers staged right next to the "good" towels, with signage "theses are for drying clean dishes", " Theses are for scrubbing dirty dishes".

Should you have to do this? Who cares? Working with peoples natural tendencies is as permie as working with natures natural tendencies...in my humble opinion...


 
Judith Browning
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However there is a question that using rags as a permie raises:
Are you really going to spend your time hanging rags out to dry?


happily and chop wood and carry water....

 
Burra Maluca
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William Bronson wrote:
I never seem to run out, people give me clothing, I wear it to death,it becomes clean rags then soiled rags then compost, the cycle continues.


This is only a cycle if you live somewhere where people give you a steady supply of clothing!
 
Judith Browning
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Judith Browning wrote:We keep a five gallon crock full of kitchen rags....cut mostly from all cotton old waffle weave shirts and heavy knits. Those are what everyone grabs for drying a skillet. wiping up a spill, etc. they get washed one extra cycle ahead of my beautiful creamy dry only clean things kithchen towels, that are also made from recycled materials... all cotton , linen, and rami curtains , a sofa cover, etc. They were easily cut and then hemmed...just be sure that the material hasn't been scotch guarded or something. Much better that anything I could buy and I can vary the sizes for our use.

edit....the kitchen RAGS are ugly....no hemming, just backs and fronts of shirts so some kind of look like animal hides....when they are too funky to wash clean anymore they get floor duty.

and another EDIT, sorry...old cotton and linen table clothes are wonderful to make into kitchen towels also.


I use the word rags, but these are really good used thrift store clothes that are cut into large size flat pieces...removing the seams and stuff....all well worth reusing and washing repeatedly. I would even suggest having a container of just rags for ironware.
We don't use bleach and the washer has only cold water, so a good soak first with a bit of eco brand laundry liquid and a second rinse is usually necessary and line drying in the sun to finish
 
William Bronson
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In my part of the world used clothing that doesn't sell is turned into rags or shipped to the third world.
Many folks would rather give it to individuals than see that happen to perfectly good clothing.

Id rather gather sticks than chop wood and tap into a rain fed cistern than carry water, so I guess I want an equivalent solution for drying rags...
 
Leila Rich
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It seems there's a few issues going on with some people at the Lab really not 'getting' stuff.
If there's no written Lab rules (and no philosophy against it)
Maybe get a bunch of people together over a meal and put together a list of simple rules/induction.
When new people come to stay, they get a quick tour/induction/rules session.
I suppose there'd need to be 'tour guide' roster
And signs. Lots of signs.
Cast iron rags and dish cloth storage as far away from each other as possible,
and always stored in the same place.
 
Marianne Cicala
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We have interns and wwoofers with regularity. At first I went on the assumption that people would respect our stuff just like we do. NOT the case. I ended up making a 1 pager that is given upon arrival; I initially thought that was unnecessary. Things like the difference between a cloth and a rag, leave muddy boots on the rack outside the door, don't sit on fabric furniture in fresh from the garden dirty clothes. It immediately stopped my frustration that people don't care for things given or provided as carefully as those that have to buy or make them.
Written House Rules and an occassional reminder, like using dish cloths for rag - they get to properly clean the whole lot of them in their spare time. That's only happened once.
 
Matu Collins
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This is what we call a systems design question here at our place. I have three kitchen cloth streams, clean tea towels for drying, rags for cast iron and cleaning dirty things, and cloth napkins. These are folded differently and kept in different places.

Signs are very nearly useless.

I send out a "handbook" via email to the wwoofers who are to come here. They do seem to read that. Then I give a tour when they arrive. I never cover everything and there's bound to be questions and mistakes. Better to have a stained/dirty kitchen towel thank have a helpful earnest wwoofer scrub all the cast iron with soap and water!

Careful training helps, careful choice of helpers works even better
 
Kate Muller
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Keep the cleaning rags out in a basket so they are easy to reach for any purpose and label the basket. People tend to grab paper towels because
they are easy to locate. So make the cleaning rags the easiest to find and grab. Hide the clean dish cooking towels in a drawer or cabinet. Make sure they are
different looking from each other in shape and/or color. This will reduce the confusion of what the function they are for and help make sure they are put in the
correct location after washing.
 
R Scott
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Matu Collins wrote:This is what we call a systems design question here at our place. I have three kitchen cloth streams, clean tea towels for drying, rags for cast iron and cleaning dirty things, and cloth napkins. These are folded differently and kept in different places.

Signs are very nearly useless.

I send out a "handbook" via email to the wwoofers who are to come here. They do seem to read that. Then I give a tour when they arrive. I never cover everything and there's bound to be questions and mistakes. Better to have a stained/dirty kitchen towel thank have a helpful earnest wwoofer scrub all the cast iron with soap and water!

Careful training helps, careful choice of helpers works even better


We have 5 or 6--yours plus milking rags (for cleaning udders, never to be used elsewhere), general cleaning rags, and "disposables"--those rags so worn or dirty that they are now to be used for those tasks where you just through them away (greasy car parts, plugged toilets, etc).
 
Zach Muller
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Matu Collins wrote:This is what we call a systems design question here at our place. I have three kitchen cloth streams, clean tea towels for drying, rags for cast iron and cleaning dirty things, and cloth napkins. These are folded differently and kept in different places.

Signs are very nearly useless.



I agree on the sign thing. I used to work for an organic deli that had a benevolent dictatorship model and they thought signs would cure every problem. Signs seem to work for a little while, but people would slip back into the old habit no matter what. Then the volume and severity of signs started ballooning. It started slow with little reminder signs, labels etc. As things escalated the signage got out of hand and everywhere you looked there was some tidbit on a sign. Came to be incredibly annoying and non functional.

Since the signs were really just a band aid on a non functional system design, I had no problem tearing them down and throwing them out.
 
kadence blevins
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Maybe color coded towels and signs in different areas? Tan towels- kitchen... blue towels- bathroom... like that plus sign in the kitchen sayin tan towels for kitchen yadda yadda.. one in the bathroom sayin blue towels.. a sign of all rooms towels colors in the washroom.. etc.
 
allen lumley
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_ I saw a sign in a laundry room - ''don't you love the 12 seconds when all the laundry is done ?''

- The never-ending job of sorting laundry and stacking on shelves is never given proper respect, but Someone who doesn't care are burned out can destroy
any plans to have a working -this here- that there- system.

This is also a place where too many helpers is chaos ! The laundry person and the pot scrubber both need to be recognized and be rewarded with a chance to
do anything they like as a mental health issue, especially in a non family group dynamic ! Big AL
 
Leila Rich
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I totally get people's concerns with sign fatigue;
the "do this, don't do that" notes seem to breed and get ignored
In my experience, more detailed "do this, don't do that" goes in a kitchen manual type thing.

By 'signs', I'm definitely meaning the sign-as-label variety:
kitchen towels-drying dishes only
Kitchen rags-drying cast iron only

Another thing that could help keep things less confusing for new people,
is to ensure that kitchen towels, and cast iron rags are clearly, obviously different things.

Maybe buy a bulk load of 'proper' kitchen towels, all with an identical pattern/colour.
(Not red-unless they're really fancy, that red will inevitably stain every white item on the Lab pink
They only get used for dishes; when they get old/yucky they go out to a distant shed to be rags there.

Cast iron rags always were rags-old clothes etc, and if the fancy kitchen towels never end up as cast iron rags,
there's far less chance of confusion between a 'good cloth' and a 'cast iron rag'.




 
Dale Hodgins
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Apparently you need some sort of rack. The ones used during the inquisition should be perfect. Find a big burly guy to run it and tell him to continue stretching each culprit until they are taller than him.

It's important to invest in stocks. Leave a bucket of half rotten fruit nearby.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
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I'm training new wwoofers right now and thinking about systems design a lot. I'm trying to balance respecting people even when they make what seems like obvious mistakes and making sure that obvious mistakes don't impede our forward velocity. Morale is important for forward velocity too.

There are so many details that matter on a permaculture project. If we had Crap teflon pans and throwaway sponges the wwoofers wouldn't be able to set us back by washing the pans with soap and ruining towels. Training new workers in plant identification takes so much time and effort and attention and patience. Making healthy food from scratch takes more work, etc too. The "helpers" sector is as important to get right as any other sector and maybe it's the most important to forward velocity.

 
Burra Maluca
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Maybe the first job allocated to all new gappers should be 'washing the kitchen towels until they are clean'. Then they'll all be protective over them. Maybe...
 
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