Recently we walked around Costco, and it provided a partial answer to a question that has been vexing us for a long time; why do people stockpile toilet paper in quantities sufficient to get them through an entire Presidential term? Toilet paper has got to be the most heavily hoarded commodity on the continent. Even shoeboxes run a distant second. Plastic food storage containers don’t even come close. No, toilet rolls comprise the ultimate “it might come in handy one day story”. When we’re shopping at a big-box retailer and are faced with a choice between a 40 roll package or having to go somewhere else to buy a human-sized, (as opposed to a regiment-sized) package, at three times the price, we invariably end up with the toilet paper equivalent of a skyscraper. Really, when was the last time you heard about serious toilet paper rationing or people waiting in line for hours to buy a roll or two? Is this all rooted in potty training, or does the fear of humiliation supersede all rational behaviour? Does life come down to just one giant Imodium commercial?
Having too much toilet paper has its disadvantages. Toilet paper shares attributes with other C.R.U.D. examples that are not worth the area they occupy. We have written about them before – king sized comforters, empty appliance boxes, stained pillows and neglected home gymnasium equipment. All of these items squander your precious storage space. If you are an apartment dweller living with a single bathroom and 2 or 3 closets to house your worldly goods, you are not in a position to take toilet paper home in bulk. For openers, where will you have room to store paper towels, tissues and paper napkins? These paper goods take up a fair bit of space themselves. Every foot you devote to Mr. Whipples’ favourite product eliminates room for hiding places for your personal chocolate stash or a wintering spot for a portable air conditioner.
It is time to re-think the whole toilet paper arsenal thing. We have seen clients devote bathtubs and shower stalls and even entire bathrooms to the cause. The excess finds its way into pantries, broom closets, laundry rooms, guest rooms and basements. It is precisely because the bum wad inventory is spread over five or six different locations, it is often forgotten. Naturally this leads to the purchase of even more jumbo packs, placing an even greater strain on your limited storage capacity. It also costs you money.
Every once in a while, when our clients have exhausted all of the enclosed spaces, they resort to clever storage units that hold multiple rolls. If you can knit, the rolls can be disguised under the heads of poodles or under the flared dresses of crocheted dolls. In closing, start by using up what you have and possibly donating excess rolls to a shelter.