Are You Toilet Paper Prepared (TPP’d)?

Special Guest Contribution from longtime BackdoorSurvival reader Donna

This article is all about how you can have a year’s supply of toilet paper, no matter what size house or apartment you live in.

Lack of sanitation has caused the death of more people worldwide than all of the wars in human history combined. Many of those deaths were due to poor sanitation methods and lack of understanding of diseases and how they link to poor hygiene.

So why is it that those who live in prosperous countries do so little about that aspect of self-reliance?Sanitation is such a vital part of survival yet do we consider it a vital part of our survival preps….at least enough to have a year’s supply of toilet paper and other sanitation supplies as well as “cleanliness” knowledge?

I’m making an educated guess here that only a tiny percentage of preppers have a years’ supply of this indispensible commodity.

We have all seen the frantic rush to the super market when a snowstorm is predicted. Those TP rolls just fly off of the shelves.

But, but, but, you say…how can I have a year’s supply of toilet paper? I just don’t have the room….I have a big family…. I live in an apartment! Is it really possible to have enough TP in my small space?

Good News! The answer is a resounding YES!

Your space is definitely big enough. It takes about 1 square foot of floor space to store a 6 month’s supply for 2 people. Do the math for your family size. You CAN do it. You DO have the space.

If you have a garage your TP storage will actually take no floor space at all. If you store it inside your house, no one will even realize that it is there because neither friends or family will be able to see it! It’s a quick and easy project that will be fun for the whole family to work on together.

For even more motivation to do this, just spend a little time thinking about what you would do without it! Hmmm?

I wish I could take credit for thinking of this ingenious storage method but about 4 years ago when I was searching for a better way I came across this marvelous idea on a YouTube video. Since then I have shared those ideas with friends, family, neighbors and anyone who wants to learn. Perhaps you have seen it but if not, I am sharing in words and photos what that video taught me…how we did it and how we became fully toilet paper prepared. No last minute scramble to the grocery or big box store just to discover that the shelves are bare of this essential item.

I’m sharing how not to get caught with your pants down, so to speak, and with no vital solution close at hand.

To make an accurate assessment of you family’s toilet paper needs keep a running list of the number of rolls (and note the roll size) your family uses for one week. Now multiply that by 52. The method used here cost less than the cost of buying toilet paper in those 12 packs and takes up far less of your precious floor space. It’s all good.

So let’s begin.

How to Store Toilet Paper Efficiently

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 Cardboard 10” Masonry Tube
  • Duct tape
  • 7 old plastic grocery bags
  • 7 dryer sheets
  • Box of 12 coreless commercial size rolls of toilet paper

(Exact information about this to follow)

Once your supplies are together, this process only takes about 20 minutes to complete!

Okay. Let’s go. Here is the simple process to become fully toilet paper prepared.

Below is a photo of the heavy cardboard tube that is used by contractors for pouring concrete foundation supports. The tube is open at the top and bottom. It can be bought at most stores that sell contractor supplies. Places like Lowe’s or other similar home supply stores. The cost, if I remember correctly, is around $10 to $12 dollars for the tube. I can fit one in my mid-size car kitty-cornered. They also fit flat in our small truck bed.

First Step

The first step is to duct tape one end securely. Don’t skimp on the tape. Then do it again in the opposite direction to add more strength to your make-shift “lid”. Are you with me so far?

Now turn the tube over so that the taped end is on the floor and the open end is at the top. Next, take an old plastic grocery bag and drop it into the tube followed by one dryer sheet….yep, that’s one dryer sheet.

Second Step

You will need to order a box of coreless toilet paper. There are 12 very jumbo rolls per box and for 2 people one roll will last a bit over two weeks, so that’s a 6+ month’s supply. These large coreless rolls are for use in a toilet paper dispenser like you see in a store restroom.

You can order a dispenser as well. Ours dispenser cost was about $10 four years ago, but I just checked the cost today and the price has, of course, sky rocketed. You don’t absolutely have to have a dispenser because when the time comes to use your emergency storage TP you can simply slip a small smooth rope through the hole in the roll and hang it up.

Here is a photo of the information on the box of toilet paper. I ordered it from Amazon. These were one ply since at the time, the 2 ply version was nowhere to be found. I have recently seen the 2 ply coreless. Make sure you purchase coreless because the core size may not fit in a 10” masonry tube.

Third Step

Okay, the next step is to take 2 rolls of the coreless 9” rolls of toilet paper, seen below, and put them in an old plastic grocery bag that is snuggly tied. Now drop them flat end down into the tube. They will gently slide to the bottom. Drop in another dryer sheet.

Now repeat this process five more times until all of the toilet paper is in the tube…. 2 rolls TP into plastic bag snuggly tied, dropped into the tube, followed by a dryer sheet.

The empty plastic bags at either end of the tube will help the bag containing the TP not to stick to the duct tape lids. The dryer sheets are to deter little critters like Mickey and Minnie from nibbling on your new precious and needed sanitary resources!

Including Children in the Process

This is a fun way to include children in the preparedness process.

When an emergency comes and there is nothing but empty grocery shelves and the toilet paper is much needed, the children who have worked alongside you will not balk at using something a little different than they are used to using.

Change is sometimes difficult for some younger children and having them be a part of any storage or prepping process can lessen their fears….. a huge asset during a stressful situation. Including children in emergency preparedness provides a self-reliance mindset that will serve them well throughout their life…. a good topic for a future post?

Now that you have all of the TP wrapped and properly installed into the tube it is time to flip the tube gently and duct tape the other end the same way you taped the first end.

Here is the number of the newest 2 ply coreless TP for you if you are interested.

–> Kimberly-Clark Professional: Scott Jumbo Roll JR. Coreless Toilet Paper (07006), 2-PLY, White, 12 Rolls / Case, 2,300

How to Store

You may be thinking, “How can I store this huge tube in 1 square foot of space?

Good question!

All you need to do is slip it into the corner of a clothes closet where the back wall and end wall meet. That space is usually dead-space anyway and that space will never be missed!

Another storage place option is the trusses or rafters in your garage or barn. Multiple of these tubes will fit there and other folks will not even image what is in them. One warning is not to put them close together. Leave several inches of space between each tube if you are storing them in the rafters.

This is because those mice may make their nests in the little area where the tubes touch…..not a good thing. I’d also put a few more of those strong smelling dryer sheets around the tubes, perhaps tape a few extra on the outside of the tubes. That should do the trick.

Use your imagination to determine the best location in your house or garage. Multiple locations might be a good idea. Check them every now and then to make sure all is well.

We have never had a problem with mice getting into the masonry tubes but precautions should be taken. Perhaps a few traps placed strategically would add a layer of security.

Having a Back-Up

Here is one last suggestion to increase your sanitary preps. If you are forced to shelter in place inside your house and there is no power, no flushing, take a look at the alternative toilet that is easy to prepare at very low cost.

Just empty all of the water from the bowl and tank by dipping it out. Save it though in case it is needed. Place a heavy gage black plastic garbage bag into the bowl and leave enough on the outside so the toilet lid can hold the bag in place. Keep a bucket of lime (from the plant nursery) nearby with a small (about a 1 cup) scoop.

After each use make sure to liberally spread or sprinkle a cup of lime into the bag and close the toilet lid. Sand will also help to keep the odor down but the lime is more effective.

Sand is the safer option if you have small children.

Depending on the number of people using this facility, the bag will have to be sealed and then if possible put into a dug hole in the ground away from your water supply and living quarters. Cover the hole containing the bag with dirt. This burying might be once a day but no longer than every two days.

When the crisis is over, the bags can be moved to a better location as suggested by your local municipality.

Be sure to have a place to clean your hands!

E-coli can be deadly, especially to older people, babies and young children. It’s not too cool for strong otherwise healthy folks either….so clean hands in a bucket of water with teaspoon of bleach in it and have a rinse bucket nearby. Paper towels should be available then follow this cleaning with a hand sanitizer. (Water is obtained from your water storage or hot water tank)

So now that you know how to have all of the toilet paper you need and can store it in a very small space….there are no more excuses. Go forth and become totally TPP’d!

Don’t be left with your pants down wishing you had something soft to reach for!


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  1. Excellent article. Saw the same U-tube. Packed 6 tubes last year and hung them between my basement floor joists with wire as I have done with other preps, tools/equipment, and home supplies. Occupies no valuable/usable floor space. Figured on using “excess” rolls as inexpensive barter if ever needed. Going to be good as gold when the SHTF. Also acquired various types of portable toilets in case of evacuation. Remember…Two is one, and one is none. Out here.

  2. Hi! I’ve found another way to save rolls of toilet paper.
    I use empty oate meal boxes. You can get 2 full rolls of toilet paper in each one.
    I buy Quaker Oates and also the good Wal-Mart brand Oate Meal. “old fashion”
    oates. The round boxes are usually sealed to keep moisture out. You can tape the lids
    on after filling. Hope this helps!
    Davy

  3. Just yesterday I was wondering how one could effectively store quantities of Toilet Paper. I always order in bulk, but it only lasts approximately 3 months and depletes daily. So I had to chuckle when I read your post this morning. Now I know. Love the tip. Thanks!

    Deborah

  4. I think prepping is somewhat a problem for the average family. Most of them are lucky to afford their regular expenses. Even durning the so called cold war, it took the Federal Government to be able to afford large stores of supplies and water. Maybe only the wealthy will be able to do what all the prepper writers suggest. Just a few thoughts on the subject.

    1. James, I agree, yet those that can afford stuff to store, some lack space. Few of us have mansions or basements anymore in newer homes, or in homes in the S.E. where basements are nil. If a shtf scenario happens, yard sheds will be broken into, off site newer gated storage unit businesses may be locked down where people cannot get their supplies under martial law. Un gated 3 and 4 decades old storage units can be broken into and not well maintained w/ leaking roofs. I went thru this during y2k like friends, saying later we won’t stockpile stuff again, much was donated or thrown out later as long term food storage sold thru the mail tasted awful. I do not like clutter and food in cans need to be climate controlled storage. We are several years past retirement now, and nothing other than a week or so hurricane prep was needed during power outage. Nothing else ever happened in my lifetime that required massive prepping. People prepped during the cold war era, canned food, etc. and we are still in the cold war today w/ N. Korea threatening. Several older prepper friends passed away after y2k and the burdened heirs got a dumpster and tossed stuff. Prep for bad weather by all means.

    2. Hi James, I know what you mean, but I am on disability and manage quite well. You don’t have to do everything at once. Just buy a tad extra than you normally would. Make water your first priority. An extra jar of peanut butter, or couple of cans of tuna, or extra toilet paper- whatever you feel you need and can’t live without. It doesn’t take long before you have amassed quite a bit. Follow the sales and check out the Dollar Tree. Learn how to can food. Buy the foods in season so they are cheaper. Do a bit of gardening. Rotate your food. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Don’t buy into the nonsense that you have to have special gear and expensive stuff. Our ancestors did well with very little. Learn the old ways. Protect your preps from insects & rodents in 5 gallon buckets with lids- you can get them for free from bakeries and grocery stores and fast food stores. Read everything about prepping you can find that doesn’t harp on weaponry all of the time, or use fear to sell products. This site is the only one I bother with because of that. There is a MASSIVE archive of information here! Make use of it. Good luck!

      1. please tell me more about getting free 5-gal food-grade storage buckets from bakeries, grocery stores, fast-food outlets. I thought most of those items were sent back to the distribution warehouses for recycling & reusing efforts

  5. Minor quibble: the number on the TP spec should be 07006.
    Kimberly-Clark Professional: Scott Jumbo Roll JR. Coreless Toilet Paper (07005), 2-PLY, White, 12 Rolls / Case, 2,300
    It even shows 07006 on the photo of the roll.

    1. .Thanks for reading the article Bruce and for pointing out the numbers differences.
      Actually either number can be used for storing in masonry tubes. It’s all in preference.
      07005 is 2 ply
      07006 is one ply

  6. BTW when you go looking for those tubes…they are commonly known in the construction trade as “sonotubes”. Home Depot has ’em in the contractor area.

  7. toilet paper disintegrates rapidly. I save telephone books to use like they did when it was common to have an out house. you can pick up extra books when you visit stores, the telephone companies have boxes with them for you to take. you can put 20-30 telephone books in a plastic storage container with sealed lid would last for years.

    1. Hey FLAPrepper!
      Thanks for reading TPP’d. So happy that you will put this idea to use.
      Loved your pun. I got a good chuckle.

  8. MORNING FROM SEATTLE ,WA. YOU know “BUTTWIPE” IS better than “GOLD” you can use it in trading MOST people forget about that when I go to SAMCLUB I always buy a case ! of the stuff ! IT is almost as stoking up on “BEANS”

  9. I really Like this idea. I have bought extra Tp took The cardboard out and used the seal a meal to store tp. Its great for bobs and makes storage easier. Flat as a pancake almost.

  10. having enough toilet paper is the least of your worries.
    worry more about having enough food and water to survive, wiping your backside is nothing, even the ancient romans used sponges!

  11. One other idea is to store standard rolls of TP in a food saver bag. They squish down to almost nothing are light enough to pack a couple in your bug out bag. This is also very budget friendly (provided you have a Food Saver) in that you can do one roll at a time as you purchase a supply for day to day use. This will allow you to build up a TP inventory over time.

  12. Wonderful idea for a bug out bag or a car emergency kit Gaye. And as you said, a nice way to consistently build up your supply over time. Thanks for sharing.
    I keep a few rolls of TP (minus the tubes) each stored in sealed cut-to-size mylar bags but I think I’ll try your idea because it might be more cost effective.

  13. Have you tried “wisi wipes”? Amazon has them. Compact wipes compressed to the size of a quarter. Add a soda top of water and they expand to full sized wipes which can be used for TP.

    1. Hmmm. So many good ideas coming in these comments Andrew. This sounds like it could have several great applications. Hygiene is extra important in any kind of collapse. Thanks for reading Backdoor Survival and sharing your ideas.

  14. Great article on a critical topic so often overlooked by people preparing for emergencies. Loved the tip on how to store the extra large core-less rolls of toilet tissue!

  15. I just put my potty 2.0 into storage last August. The silica gel cat litter (absorbs odor + 40x it’s weight in fluid) + bags + commode that when assembled can be placed over the toilet. Plus toilet tissue galore.
    At work I have had opportunity to use the Spill Kit, which has the silica gel…thank God for the Spill Kit!! It was ugly, and would have been a whole lot worse without the liquid absorbing powder with the odor control!
    In a 2.0 situation, I will be happy to avoid odor in the bathroom. The waste will become solid & when wrapped will be far less likely to leak–although my plan involves daily removal, it will not be a problem to wait out any shelter in place scene.

  16. Would love to store TP but it cost money and I feel the money should go toward food and water needs. I collect telephone books-they don’t take up too much room. Not so soft and comfy but works. Also can be used as fire starter.

  17. Great article, thanks.
    Good reminder to continue to build my tp supply. I also stored baby wipes which takes up little space and can also be used for shower/bath if water supply is limited.

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