Published Oct 27, 2017

A couple of weekends ago I was at a family lunch at a restaurant and my sister pointed out how I fold my napkin. She knows I have a special way of using napkins at restaurants. It’s a habit I picked up a long time ago, and I don’t even remember where I got it. It seems so obvious to me now but I’m not sure why more people don’t do it.

How do you use a napkin at a restaurant? Do you just pick one up, find a random clean spot, fold it up randomly, and start over? That’s what I usually see. Eventually peoples’ napkins end up looking like this.

Crumpled paper https://flic.kr/p/8WW6By

Here’s how I do it, which is way more efficient in my opinion. I make sure I have a napkin in portrait orientation, long enough to fold several times. Then I make sure to use only the top of the napkin. Once I’m done, I fold the top so I’m left with a slightly shorter, entirely clean napkin. And then I keep going until I use the entire napkin.

Napkin fold

I find that I use way fewer napkins this way. Done right, this approach results in almost 100% usage of the entire napkin area.