|Bar mops, really cheap wash clothes, |
100% cotton fabric handkerchiefs.
So think about how you would handle the situation. I recall a cartoon from many, many years ago showing an old timer sitting in the outhouse poring over a Sears catalog, then tearing a page from the book for sanitary purposes before leaving the facilities. I have heard that corn cobs were also popular for this purpose. Or a handful of leaves.
With a little preparation, you wouldn't have to resort to any of these solutions, but toilet "paper" would not longer be a disposable item. Reusable toilet paper? Don't freak! Think cloth diapers; these serve a similar purpose, are washed repeatedly and reused until they wind up in the rag bin. Replacing TP is as easy as cutting an old flannel sheet into pieces about, oh, 4x10 inches, or purchasing some really, really cheap wash clothes. I found some of these priced at 25 cents each, cut them in half and sewed around the edges with a zig zag stitch. My pinking shearers are in the shop for sharpening. I'll use them to cut the flannel so it will not need hemming.
Paper towels, napkins and facial tissues can all be replaced with fabric options. Finding that I used more paper towels than I thought reasonable, I was delighted to find 24-count packages of bar mops for about $20. The last time I bought a kitchen towel, I think I paid $7.00. The mops are smaller, but not by much. Since I bought two bar mop packages, I have no problem now with grabbing a clean towel to dry dishes or hands, cover rising dough, or wipe up a mess. There is a roll of paper towel in the dispenser, but it will be longer before it needs a replacement.
For napkins and facial tissues (let's call them handkerchiefs), buy 100% cotton fabric, cut it into 18 inch squares (or smaller, if you prefer) and hem the edges. Don't sew? This would be an excellent first project. I suggest turning the fabric once all the way around, then going back and turning it again for a finished edge. Press with a hot iron as you go, then sew by hand or machine. Select linen for the napkins, or use the same soft fabric for both napkins and handkerchiefs, or even visit a thrift store for used sheets.
All of these paper product substitutes have other uses regardless of whether or not the products we know and love are available, and they are cheap. In fact, if you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider using them to save money now. In any case, give some thought as how you would store the used items and how you would wash them. I am thinking primarily of the reusable TP. As with diapers, you may want a pail to keep them in until wash day. Putting them in your washing machine is fine unless the SHTF and you have no power. Consider getting one of those hand washers that look like a plunger. This sounds so much more appealing than using a wash board and I hear they work very well. Lehman's catalog lists them for about $19.00.