"Can you spare a square?" 5 quick tips on toilet paper usage.
That classic scene from Seinfeld got me thinking over the weekend. Is there a strategy for using toilet paper? Is it worth our time? But when I spend money to literally flush the product down the drain, I often wonder…how much should I be flushing? Am I wasting money?
As an adult, I had never given it much thought until a comedian I was listening to pointed out that even hardnosed conservationists seem to forget their scruples in the stall. Why use a few sheets when a massive wad of paper will do the job just as well?
My mother worked out, pretty quickly, that regardless of how good the toilet paper was that she bought, we’d use the same amount; way too much. So instead of buying the luxurious double rolls with extra absorbency, she’d get standard rolls. And as kids, we never really noticed the difference, and would still pull armfuls of paper from the roll, leaving the cardboard tube spinning on the holder for a good 10 seconds.
So, what to do? Pardon the pun, but even to a frugal guy like me it seems a little anal to have a toilet paper strategy. I mean, I don’t have much of a life but I’m not at the point where I’m counting TP sheets…at least, not yet. But there are a few things I can suggest, especially with kids around.
1) Think twice about getting those expensive, luxurious rolls of paper for the kids' bathroom. Regular paper works just as well, and kids will use either one with zeal.
2) Consider having a box of baby wipes in the bathroom. On those times when things get a little messy (stomach flu anyone?) a baby wipe or two will do the work of handfuls of toilet paper. They’re designed to handle much bigger messes than regular TP.
NOTE: As many readers have pointed out, buy FLUSHABLE wipes. Kandoo and Cottonelle are popular, but many stores (Walgreens for instance) now carry their own brand of flushable wipes for a nice saving.
3) Buy standard sized rolls. Double rolls actually run down quicker than two standard rolls. The reason being, we see more of the roll and subconsciously use more because there’s plenty. It’s the reason you keep seeing manufacturers up the size of the roll, so that now we need extra equipment to fit these jumbo sized rolls onto the holder.
4) Go with store brand. As I’ve said many times, there is very little difference, if any, between name brand and store brand; especially in this instance when it all ends up being flushed down the drain anyway.
5) Practice restraint. There’s no reason at all to attack the roll and pull masses of paper away with the force of Rambo starting a speedboat. Grab what you need and nothing more.
These few simple tips will save you money on a product every single one of us uses on a daily basis. Let’s save a few trees and a few bucks at the same time.