The Unexpected Reason You Should Always Keep Paper Towels in Your Bathroom

published Apr 30, 2024
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

I love having guests over, even though I live in a tiny studio apartment. One of my favorite ways to see and catch up with friends is inviting them over to play board games (especially Wingspan), so even though I have a Murphy bed and a kitchen only big enough for a mini fridge, I’m determined to make it work.

And in addition to putting away the Murphy bed, vacuuming, and hitting up my local Trader Joe’s for some snacks when I’m getting ready to have people over (especially if they have the Cornbread Crisps, my god), I always put out a roll of paper towels in the bathroom.

I know that paper towels aren’t the most sustainable item, but they really come in clutch when guests are looking for something to dry their hands on after washing. Most people I know from living in New York City have just the one bathroom, so the benefits of a powder room are a distant dream. So many times, I’ve found myself in that moment after washing my hands where I look around and think, Which towel do I dry these on?

If you’re lucky, there’s a towel hanging next to the sink or some napkins set out for your use. But many times, there’s also a towel hanging on the door. Or another one on the towel rack. You don’t know how clean they are, how long they’ve been there, or what they’re used for. This is where the paper towel roll comes in handy.

In my bathroom, for example, we have a pedestal sink with no storage space or nearby hooks. Instead, we keep a couple of washcloth-size towels right behind the sink. One is black, which I use for drying my face after washing off my makeup. I use another to wipe down the sink after use, and the other one is for hand-drying. That system works great for me and my fiancé, but we can’t expect people to know or guess which one is right.

Someday, I may be fancy enough to be a “nice napkin next to the sink” person (and have enough room for them on the vanity), but for now, I place a roll of paper towels right next to the faucet as a way of saying, “I’ve got you.”

I’m not out here judging people who don’t think of this, since hosting in an apartment is enough of a mental gymnastics routine, but next time you use your bathroom, ask yourself, “Where would I dry my hands if I didn’t live here?” That may lead you to a paper towel roll of your very own. And if it does, your guests will thank you.