For good or bad, we are a society that depends heavily on our paper products. We love the ease and sanitation that comes from disposable paper products. During the summer months we will see a lot of sales for paper goods: paper plates, cups and napkins, as well as paper towels and toilet paper.
You may not use paper plates very often (we almost never do) but they are a wonderful resource to have on hand. You’ll be glad to have them during an emergency when water is scarce and you are under stress. And it’s always nice to have on hand when unexpected guests drop by.
The Most Essential Paper Product
Now toilet paper is another matter altogether. You don’t ever want to have a short supply of TP. This essential commodity goes on sale about once every six weeks. That is the time to stock up. At a minimum you should have a 6-week supply of TP, enough to get you to the next sale. Better would be a three to six- month supply that you replenish every time it goes on sale. A three to six-month supply ensures that you will have enough to see you through bad times, like a job or income loss and that you will never have to pay full price for TP.
How much should you store?
Do you know how much paper products your family uses? Mark on the calendar when you open up a new pack of TP or paper towels and see how long that lasts. Then multiply that number out to determine what you would need for a three- or six-month supply.
How to store
Paper products are pretty easy to store. If you keep them in a dry room and you don’t have mice, the commercial packaging they come in is sufficient. If you have a problem with mice or moisture, you may want to buy two or three plastic storage bins with tight-fitting lids and store your TP and paper towels in that.
If you are concerned that you might be over-reliant on paper products (and personally, I think that’s a legitimate concern), there are lots of reusable cloth options. Use cloth napkins instead of paper. Try going without paper towels and using cloth rags instead. You can create a roll of “non-paper towels” that fit on your paper towel dispenser to make using cloth just as easy and convenient as using paper.
Here is a tutorial on making non-paper towels without a sewing machine. When I make these, I do not sew them right sides together and then turn them right-side out. For me, that’s too much bulk around the edges. Instead I put them right-side out and serge around the edge. If you don’t have a serger, a nice zig-zag stitch will work nicely.
The thought of doing without toilet paper is pretty much unthinkable, but a quick Internet search reveals that “family cloths” are becoming more popular as a replacement for some toilet paper use. If you are one of the many who would not even want to consider this option, then be sure to have plenty of the paper stuff on hand so you won’t have to worry about it.