The Toilet Paper Escapades and Prepping

toilet paper in 2020

One of the craziest shortages that arose during this all was an extreme lack of toilet paper. It was so bad that numerous memes were made about it and stores put limits on how much you could purchase. 

Toilet paper Meme tailgunner

Due to this shortage many people have hoarded toilet paper since then. Now there are a few minor issues with that. First I do love a good toilet paper, however from a prepper perspective I have to look at several factors. 

When I am considering items that I am going to stockpile, the amount needed, space needed, longevity, cost and multiple uses of that product are considered. I also consider if there are any other alternatives to this product, toilet paper in this case. What does that mean? Well in the case of toilet paper I would ask myself the following questions.

How much toilet paper will I need for a week, a month, a year?

How much space will I need to dedicate to storing that much toilet paper?

Does toilet paper expire? How long will it last?

How much is storing this much toilet paper going to cost me?

Are there any other uses for toilet paper, besides being toilet paper that is?

Are there any alternatives that may be a better option?

Let’s look at each of these questions in more detail.

How much toilet paper will I need for a week, a month, a year?

The first thing when considering an item for your stockpile is how much of that particular product do you use and thus need to stockpile.The Federalist estimates that the average person uses 56 rolls a year. Other sources cite that as a much higher number. 

For the purposes of this article though we will use the 56 rolls mentioned by The Federalist. I have 6 people in my family so I would need to store 6.5 rolls for a week, 28 rolls for a month and 336 rolls for a year. 

Having purchased toilet paper for years I feel these numbers are a bit low but it is what we are going to use. So for the rest of this article let’s assume that we want to store enough for three months. That equals 84 rolls. 

How much space will I need to dedicate to storing that much toilet paper?

Now that we have decided we need to store 84 rolls of toilet paper to have enough to last our family 3 months let us decide how much space we need to store that. 

We are going to assume that a 12 pack of toilet paper is 13”x10”x9”. (Rounded numbers of Scott Brand for ease of math) This results in needing 1170 cubic inches for one 12 pack. In order to store the required 84 rolls I would need 7 packs which equates to a total of 8190 cubic inches of space.

So stacking this many rolls up while not taking an absorbent amount of space would take a decent portion of a normal sized closet. I am not sure that I would try and stock much more than this though.

Does toilet paper expire? How long will it last?

So if I stockpile this three month supply of toilet paper, do I have to worry about it expiring? Does toilet paper expire? Will toilet paper rot sitting in my closet? 

These are all valid questions as many stockpiled items need to be rotated out. However, in the case of toilet paper there is a simple answer, no toilet paper does not really expire. 

Manufacturers often put expiration dates on toilet paper and other paper products however if stored in a dry environment these items will last years with no issue. Decades may start to cause problems though as after a while it could become somewhat brittle.

How much is storing this much toilet paper going to cost me?

Another consideration then is cost. Do you store the expensive brand you like, or since it’s for an emergency purpose do you store just whatever happens to be on sale or the best buy at that time? This is a decision that you will have to make, though I prefer to store the kind that I would normally use anyway. 

That same philosophy holds for all of your stockpiled items. Only store those items that you will actually use. There is no point in storing, let’s say grits, if you don’t eat grits.

But for our figure of needing 84 rolls of paper we can figure a rough price of $1 per roll so it will cost between $75 and $100 to store this much toilet paper depending on the brand and quality you choose.

Are there any other uses for toilet paper, besides being toilet paper that is?

The only other uses for toilet paper that I can think of still revolve around hygiene, blowing your nose etc. So no not really a multipurpose item, though it does excel at its primary function. 

Well then again, there is the classic TP of the principles house but in an emergency situation we may have to forgo that one.

Are there any alternatives that may be a better option?

The last step in this journey is checking to see if there are alternatives to toilet paper that could be a better option to store. For instance a bidet or even using cloth instead of toilet paper are both options that could be employed. 

A bidet is an option that I have been considering recently. In case you are not familiar with what a bidet is, it is a small device, frequently hooked to a toilet’s water supply that uses clean water to wash your backside. Many people who use one, first wash their rears and then use a bit of toilet paper to dry off.

Recently there has been a push to make camping versions etc and you can now get some that are attached to their own reservoir or screw on to the top of a common bottle of water. This method of cleaning yourself seems not only to limit the need for as much toilet paper but to also result in a cleaner result.

I use to keep a roll of toilet paper or three in my bug out bag, however I think I am going to replace that with a single pack of wipes and this small bidet. 

It’s cheap and small enough to toss just about anywhere. This particular design is just the cap but can be fit onto any water bottle, empty soda bottle or even a 2 liter bottle. It currently has excellent reviews and for the price it appears to be well worth it. Check one out for yourself at Amazon.

The Conclusion of this Assessment

After you have considered all of the information presented it is up to you to decide if adding toilet paper to your stockpiles is ideal in your circumstances. I think that I will incorporate some for my stockpiles as I have ample room for storage, however your situation may be different. With that being said I am also going to add in some of the portable Bidets and possibly even a more permanent version as well. This Luxe Bidet option from Amazon is a great option.

While you are here make sure to check out our other articles such as Prepper Food Storage Lists or Dehydrating Survival Food.

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