Sabi Saturday, Week 24 : DIY toilet paper

Sabi Saturday, Week 24 : DIY toilet paper

Sabi Saturday Linkup Week 24

Show how you love, treasure, reuse or creatively transform things that may be a bit worn but nevertheless is still useful/beautiful and have character or history.

As you know while I post on Saturdays, the blog hop is open for the whole week so feel free to share any time during the week. Add your link at the bottom of the post. I do moderate the links to avoid spam so it may take up to 24 hours for the link to show.

  • the vintage/antique items handed down or we “rescue” from garage sales and thrift stores so they don’t end up in a trash bin
  • items we’ve upcycled instead of throwing them away
  • items we’ve repaired in a transformative way to make them more beautiful or cooler than before
  • process or tutorials on how we upcycled or repaired something to make something new, more beautiful, or cooler

Sabi Saturday Linkup Week 23 Roundup

First the roundup of 2020 from Week 23 posted the week of March 10, 2020:

Cactus Catz also shared a thrift store she saw in New Orleans with cool vintage stuff in the window

This week’s my Sabi Saturday contribution:

(a 2016 DIY toilet paper video of making family cloth, a cloth toilet paper alternative. Back then people were more concerned about going green.  It seems like a really good idea now and so easy.)

(fyi, I’m an Amazon affiliate.  Some links are to search terms or products on amazon and I may earn a small percentage if you click a link and buy something.  See affiliate disclosure in the side bar or at the bottom)

During WWII, living on Okinawa, my mom and her family had to hide in caves while the war raged over the island.  One of the long-term effects of that experience is mom hoarded toilet paper.  When she passed, it took me a year to go through the toilet paper packs piled high against the wall.  Of course, after that, the side effect was that I only bought enough for a couple weeks or a month.  After all, who hoards toilet paper?

uhhh, Everybody!

It’s weird.  I work 12 hours so working days, I hit the sack after work, get up, eat, get ready and go to work.  And this week we had mandatory overtime because so many people are ordering online.  Yesterday, I’m off and it’s time to go food shopping and it seems like the world has gone nuts.  Some items are wiped out like toilet paper (explains why I saw so many toilet paper orders getting packed) and the next shelf over, there are tons of stuff.  Well not in the paper aisle.  There are no toilet paper, paper towels, or tissues.  So weird.

I don’t like it when communities panic.  As a group, we humans can make some incredibly bad decisions like a few people hoarding toilet paper which triggers other people’s paranoia and then it’s like the 70’s.  Do you remember the gas panic and the long lines of cars at the gas stations because of the shortage?  The shortage that was due to people hoarding gas?  Or maybe this is like the 1950s bomb shelter panic. In the future, they will be making documentaries of the great 2020 toilet paper panic. Yeah, sounds like a comedy farce but it’s not.

What I am worried about is we lose the world’s forest due to a panicked demand for paper.  I don’t want to explain to a future child:

Child : “Why is the air so bad? I can hardly breathe.”

Me : “Trees use CO2 and release oxygen.  We need the oxygen to breathe.”

Child : “What are trees?”

Me : “Well, there used to be a lot of them but we chopped them all up to make toilet paper.”

Toilet paper causes the end of the world.  News at 10.

Another DIY family cloth tutorial from 2015

Let’s not do that.  I have traveled in countries that don’t use toilet paper.  What did I do?  Did I adjust?  Nope.  I carried toilet paper in my backpack.  No way was I living without toilet paper.  I still have a few rolls which will last for a couple of weeks but will the paper panic be over by then? Depends on if the trend towards citywide lock-downs continue. Obviously I need to readjust my thinking about toilet paper.

You can live without toilet paper as this list of “Off the Grid Living : 15 toilet paper alternatives” proves.  Apparently each person uses about toilet paper each year to fill up about 23 football fields and each roll takes 13 gallons of water to make so the greenliving folks have been doing alternatives for years.

Bum gun

I like the “bum gun” idea: a bidet on a hose so you just spray yourself clean by pushing a button.  Apparently the bum gun is widely used in Asia and Europe.  The problem for me is that I’m not particularly handy with tools so I might have to hire someone to install it. ( I used “bum gun” as a search term in Amazon and it brought up a nice selection of handheld bidet kits. Read the reviews as people will complain about needing unincluded items like “you need a t-valve’. Some people needed to buy the t-valve part to install for about $10 extra to make it work with their bathroom. One person noted on one that it included a 1/2 inch connector whereas many bathrooms are 3/8 inch so they had to buy an adapter.).

Old clothes can be recycled into family cloths, a diy reusable toilet paper

Do you remember cloth diapers? Those diaper services that would pick up your dirty diapers, wash them and deliver clean ones.  Those services went the way of dodo birds when diaper wipes became popular.  We may need to resurrect them or at least start cleaning cloth diapers again.  Similar to the cloth diaper is a toilet paper alternative called the “family cloth”, a reusable cloth.  Even if you only use them for wiping after peeing as some people do, it will cut down on toilet paper usage.  If you’re willing to clean off the poo (hmmm, I guess we can call it manure and rinse the poop off the cloth into the garden vegetables before throwing it into the washer), and have an extra load of laundry weekly, you can completely get by without toilet paper.  Apparently family cloths is something people, who are living green and leaving a smaller footprint, have been doing for years.

Family cloth is easy enough to make with old clothes cut into squares and edged or hemmed but if you are low on time, you can buy baby flannel wipes. Something soft like flannel baby wipes is a great idea. You can get cheaper ones in cotton or muslin — again read the reviews as some even with high ratings, the threads fall apart on the edge after one or two washings.  If you’re going to have to resew them, you might as well make your own, right?  A fabric I like because the fabric piece I bought is super soft although more expensive and very absorbent is bamboo.  A search for  bamboo cloths will turn up cloths for baby or dishcloths. Either will work as a family cloth.

If you go the family cloth route, you’d probably also have to invest in a baby diaper bucket so you don’t throw the family cloths into the hamper. You could edge them in different color threads or write names with sharpie markers so that family members each have their own color if some don’t like the idea that everyone in the family are using the same ones.

A talk on the radio “toilet paper vs the family cloth”, uploaded March 14, 2018.

If you do want to make your own recycled paper toilet paper, there is even a tutorial on “Homemade Substitutes for Toilet Paper” on Survivopedia.  Just scroll down to Making Your Own Toilet Paper below the video and Using Cloth Toilet Paper sections.  The headers aren’t bolded so it’s easy to miss but it gives step-by-step instructions that look fairly easy.

It’s either that or start hoarding and creating a toilet paper wall.  I’m going with the cloth version until I can do the bum gun.  Even after all this is over, I can keep doing it.  Who wants to keep using 23 football fields of paper if they don’t have to?

Linking up

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The coronavirus still isn’t affecting us much in Tucson except for the empty shelves. There have been 4 cases confirmed in Pima County where I live, 18 confirmed cases statewide and 0 deaths in Arizona. Despite so few cases statewide (the flu is a much bigger danger here) and Arizona health services stating there is a low risk of catching the virus, the governor has declared a pre-emptive statewide emergency.  Schools are closed until March 27th.

We’re not locked down in Tucson although places have made changes.   Many places are implementing the social distancing precaution recommended by the CDC. At work, every other box-packing station is closed so we don’t work next to each other.  At the library, every other computer station is closed so people can’t sit next to each other.  I also noticed at the bakery I go to, that the plasticware and coffee is put away so there is no self-service station any more.  Now the workers give it to us or bring it to the table. Old-fashioned service is becoming fashionable again.

I talked to my aunt in Massachusetts.  No coronavirus cases in her town but the town is also out of paper supplies and bleach products too.  Her apartment building has put in a rule: only family members can visit residents. It’s a normal residential apartment building and not for elderly although 3 of my aunts live there and all are elderly. Her son did get her toilet paper by going to the store when it first opened.  The store had just got a new supply and the supply was gone within minutes of opening.  My aunt gets dialysis and said if anyone shows up with the sniffles, they aren’t allowed into the building but most go to the hospital to get their dialysis.  So far in her town, the people who have gotten tested, turned out to have the flu.  All my aunties on my dad side live there so I hope the virus stays out of town as it affects the elderly more than anyone else and all of them are in their seventies and eighties.

The New York Times shows a map of the USA coronavirus cases. New York, Washington and California are the hardest hit.  NY has hit 1374 cases and 12 deaths (death rate/cases is 00.87%). Washington had less cases 792 but lost more people due that one nursing home being hit before people knew much about the virus so there have been 50 deaths. (death rate/cases is 6.31%).

A friend of mine lives in Austria which is next to Italy so there have been a lot of changes there. She said they are in a light lock down.  People are confined to their homes except they are allowed to walk pets, get groceries, go to the doctor, take care of someone who depends on them and go to work if work can’t be postponed.  If they leave their home, it must be solo or with a household member only. All gatherings of more than 5 people are banned. The police are at parks and other public places to ensure people don’t use them. Most of the country doesn’t have many cases except for one specific area that gets a lot of ski tourists. Austria as a whole has 800 cases and one death (death rate/cases is 00.125%). However, they are just north of Italy which has had 31,506 cases and 2,503 deaths (death rate/cases is 7.944%).

Japan, although it is next to China which has 81,049, has 1,535 cases. Nearby South Korea has 8,236 cases.  Despite being close, Japan has a lot less reported cases.  When I lived there, as soon as people got sick, they wore that face mask thing.  I think that slowed down the spread. it’s interesting to me that Italy, Iran and Spain have the most cases outside China.  Why those countries? And many countries have a less than 1% death rate — again why? What are they doing different that we can copy?

Country cases deaths death/case
China 81,049 3,230 3.98%
Italy 31,506 2,503 7.944%
Iran 16,169 988 6.11%
Spain 11,178 491 4.39%
South Korea 8,236 81 00.98%
Germany 5,813 17 00.29%
France 5,437 148 2.72%
United States 5,267 96 1.82%
Switzerland 2,200 14 00.636%
Denmark 1,739 3 00.17%
Netherlands 1,705 43 2.5%
Japan 1,535 42 2.7%

It just feels like I go to work for 4 days and come out and the whole world has changed.  The good thing is that with a lot of the official pre-emptive actions, I do think (and hope) that it will slow down the spread and especially keep it from the elderly and those who have compromised health issues. I went to the library and picked up my holds, went to the store and picked up a little food, and for the next couple of days will stay home like a lot of people.  I hope the next time I go to work for 4 days, I come out and there is a vaccination.  That would be a good change.



8 Replies to “Sabi Saturday, Week 24 : DIY toilet paper”

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  2. Uhhh, its awkward putting a thumbs up on a FAMILY CLOTH episode. I want to be supportive of your creative outlet but……FAMILY CLOTH…… its just like, GROAN INDUCING! HAR! laterZ, W

  3. I am glad I bought a 20 pack of toilet paper recently. I live in Massachusetts and our town library is closed. 🙁

  4. Yep, this is one way to take care of the shortage. Hubby and I already have that option if needed.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

  5. Isn’t it absolutely amazing – the spirit of fear that has been unleashed over the populous? It genuinely boggles my mind every time I hear about what’s happening in some parts of this country and around the globe.

    Yes, coronavirus is a very serious illness and we should absolutely use common sense! But statisticaly, H1N1 for the U.S. was worse. Yet the panic didn’t reach anywhere near the hysteria we are seeing today.

    The whole toilet paper situation is madness. I chuckled reading your post with all the DIY options, but it’s really not funny in so many ways. I’m still not sure I 100% understand the obsession with hoarding TP at the moment, except that living without it is well…crappy. 😛

    I’m so sorry to read about what your mom went through in the caves. Honestly, bless her heart. That had to be a terrifying time in her life. It’s tragic what war does. It really is. (sigh)

    Praying you stay safe, get some rest and please be careful at work. I know you’re working like a madwoman right now to try and keep up. Sending you loads of love & hugs – to you and your furbabies. ?

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