How much toilet paper does one person actually need when SHTF (Shtuff Hits The Fan)? It seems that toilet paper is one of the hottest commodities due to the catatonic state of fear one falls into thinking “What if we run out of TOILET PAPER?!” This thought is often followed by a pail flushing of blood from the face, a glazing over of the eyes and the sheer terror of trying to figure out if leaves and twigs would really do the job when SHTF.
Let’s face it. After the outhouse came in, we’ve become far more accustomed to quilted, cushioned softness than our ancestors. But this is a disposable commodity, so we need to plan if suddenly it was not as readily available. In future posts, we may explore other options that are a bit more eccentric, yet none-the-less still quite effective for the more daring of derrieres. For this post, however, we will look at how to effectively figure for the stocking up of TP from a ‘trying to live life as normal’ scenario.
First, we would like to offer a painless way to figure out how much is necessary to stock up for your selected amount of storage time. For sake of argument for this portion of the exercise, we are going to assume that you are using this method of planning for when you have adequate plumbing and a flushing toilet. So, for the ‘life as normal’ type of planning, we want to share an easy way to take the guess-work out of figuring just how many rolls of the treasured tissue on a tube are needed on hand in your home if the trucks just suddenly stopped delivering to the stores indefinitely. Please don’t faint at the thought.
Behold…simple math is our friend. We’ll just use it in an unorthodox way.
Easy Steps: Select the one bathroom that is most frequented in your home, a new roll of toilet paper, a post-it and a pen or marker. Upon starting the new roll of toilet paper, put the date on the post-it and then on the wall. When the roll is at an end, mark the date on the roll.
See the images below for the start and finish:
Now here comes the math.
We figure this one bathroom as if it’s used by only one person (even if there were guests) and round days up a full day to make the weeks easier to figure.
1 bathroom = 1 person
used 1 roll
in 7 days
So in this case, if there was only one person in the home, this person would need to store 4 rolls for 4 weeks, 8 rolls for 8 weeks…and so on. If the goal is a year’s supply of toilet paper on hand then one person needs 52 rolls for one year. Then simply multiply by the number of individuals who will be sharing the home/bathroom.
Here are a few scenarios:
- 4 people storing for 4 months would be 4 (rolls) X 16 (weeks) = 64 rolls of toilet paper at a minimum for this household.
- 4 people storing for a full year would be 4 X 52 = 208 rolls of toilet paper is the minimum amount needed for a household of this size for a full year.
Another option is to run this ‘tally’ in each bathroom of the home. Provided people are home most of the time this will give you an adequate estimate for how fast TP gets used by your household. For example: if there are 3 bathrooms and 6 people and it takes 3 days to go through 3 rolls for all 6 people you can figure that this way:
3 days = 3 rolls. Multiply by 2.5 to get the week’s worth of TP for your household (plus a little bit more for padding…). This home goes through 7.5 rolls of TP a week. Then simply multiply by the number of weeks you want to have on hand.
- 7.5 rolls x 4 weeks of storage = 30 rolls of TP
- 7.5 rolls x 52 weeks of storage = 390 rolls of TP
Each household’s results will vary depending upon the methodology of using TP. Do you crumple or fold? Do you count squares or rotations of the roll? Do you use it in place of facial tissue or to stop shaving nicks and cuts? The roll of toilet paper (pun intended) is more important than it’s end result.
There are two factors, however, that cannot be accounted for when planning for how much toilet paper to stock up. They are in fact immune to your stress over being without and will indeed take full advantage of an opportunity to help you become unraveled once you think you’ve gotten it all figured out. We’ve caught them in the act and yet, even as scared as one might be about running out of TP we can’t help but realize they really don’t care and might be able to teach us a thing or two about ‘where to go’ when we have to do without. You see, there’s really just no planning for this kind of attack. Your best-laid plans are useless against their cuteness.