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The Great toilet paper shortage of 2020

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Let’s talk about toilet paper. I know, I know... during "the great toilet paper shortage of 2020" most of you were not affected. You had supplies enough ahead that it wasn’t an issue, and that’s why it was a toilet paper shortage... ;). So, this post may not be of interest to you, but for those who think about a long-term supply, what is our options? I don’t know about you but in my news and research, another shortage is pretty likely and what if this time it is not a matter of “when it comes into stock in the store”?

We are a society that is very pampered. We don’t really know the meaning of long-term shortages and having to think outside of the box. We are used to going to the store and buying on an “as needed basis” and if an item isn’t there that week, it’s truly inconvenient. I challenge you to look outside of the box to start using your logic and problem-solving skills to have systems in place to solve such problems as what do I do if I run out of toilet paper? Your question right now should be "do I have six months of toilet paper saved? Or will I be one of the unprepared ones running around calling people hoarders because they have, and you don't?"

A week or so ago I posted on the preparation of having no electricity for a period of time and what to do with all the laundry. This topic falls into the same category. What system do you have in place if you have no electricity for going to the bathroom? Have you thought about things like How will my toilet flush? Will you be able to get water from an outside water source to carry to the house to pour into the toilet to flush your toilet manually? Do you have an outhouse or a place set up with a quick composting toilet? These are all things to be thinking about as other countries right now are sitting in darkness because their power is being rationed. The power grids are old and weak and it’s beyond me how they think that switching to electric cars is a smart idea when there are countries whose power grids are down and can’t be sustained right now due to an old and failing infrastructure.

So, back to the toilet paper issue I have been thinking about this as it really is impossible to think long term for storing enough toilet paper mostly because of storage space. So, what did our ancestors do? Well, actually I know what our ancestors used and that was the sears and roebuck, 4" thick catalog in the outhouse. Probably where the idea came from to read while doing your business. Those days are long gone though, as we have come to a point of no sears and roebuck catalogs. I’m not sure that the minimal catalogs we get now would be very useful. If it’s summertime and you are in a pinch you can always use Wooly lambs ear or mullein leaf, but where I live you can’t preserve that and eight months of the year they don’t exist. So now what? So much information has been lost because we are in a throwaway, go buy it culture. We have never had to think outside of the box. I came along this idea the other day and I thought that is a pretty smart solution. Granted, it’s not one that I look forward to, but regardless it’s a solution to a problem that if arises, I have a back up system in place.

The idea was to cut cotton material into squares that can be used for wiping, then washed and reused. You would have a bucket next to your toilet source with a cleaning solution in it and then they can be washed and reused.

The cleanup would not be something I would look forward to, but again, for you mom’s out there that did cloth diapers, it’s the same concept. I actually think my idea incorporated with the plunger to wash them would make the job a whole lot more manageable and not as bad as it seems.

Cotton is the material that was recommended, but I also ran a crossed another ides. Going to the dollar store and buying washcloths.

So here are thoughts on what you can use. Cotton was recommended, so I can go buy material at the store, or I could look for items that are made from cotton material that would not cost as much. For instance, some sheets are made out of cotton and it’s pretty easy to go to the thrift store and buy a set of sheets. I would be able to cut into squares to use without costing as much as if I was to buy material. The other thought is going to the dollar store and buying washcloths. The advantage to this is you could get different colors, so each person had their own color cloth to use. It would be easy to get a stock up for a minimal amount of money. Also, the space needed to tuck away this back up plan would be minimal compared to large packages of toilet paper. While you’re in the dollar store, buy a couple of plungers. This way you have your own plunger specifically to wash out these cloths and you won’t have to interchange between your clothes “plunger”. You also need to think about a cleaning solution and laundry soap. I have posted before about making both of these and I will re-post in a blog soon.

You might not live in a place where you can have an outhouse and need a solution. Composting toilets are very good for the job, but they cost quite a bit and you would have to store such a thing and may never need it. One of the best and cheapest composting toilets is a 5-gallon pail with a toilet seat on it and a side pail of sawdust. Sawdust?

As you use the "toilet" you always keep the deposits covered with a layer of sawdust. This keeps everything covered so there is minimal smell and mess seen. You can put this together in minutes and the storing would be minimal. No water needed to operate.

All in all, this is something you seriously need to be thinking about. It never hurts to be prepared, all of the generations before knew that “being prepared” was life-saving information and built into their lifestyle. Why now all of a sudden, do people look down on those who are prepared and call them hoarders? Perhaps you should take a look at the difference between the two and ask yourself, am I prepared?

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Judy Aldous
Judy Aldous
22. Okt. 2021

We have an outhouse and use either wood ashes or lime to cover the debris.

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