Every now and then I come across an article or forum suggesting that preppers stock up on paper products. I personally know people who have rooms stacked full of toilet paper, paper towels, sanitary pads, and paper plates.
While it’s a good idea to have maybe a couple of weeks’ worth of disposable products, filling the spare bathroom with paper goods floor to ceiling isn’t the best way to use your space or your money.
Consider reusable alternatives instead. While paper products are a God-send during times when water is limited or inaccessible, if you are preparing for a long term emergency situation you really need to have items which can be washed and used over and over again.
Not only are reusable products essential for your preps, but I’d encourage all of you to replace disposables with washables in your every day life, in every way possible. We’ve become a nation of habitual consumers, it’s easy to forget that we can save money by investing in products that are actually made to last.
Here are 10 reusable alternatives to your daily disposables…
1. Cloth Napkins– Stop throwing your money in the trash can every month, and save a bundle by replacing paper towels with cloth napkins. Make sure to buy something absorbent, not a fancy napkin meant for laps only.
2. Handkerchiefs- Do people still use these nowadays? Sure they do! We stopped buying boxes of Kleenex long ago, and have enjoyed the convenience of never running out of a hankie when you need one.
3. The “Family Cloth”- Instead of stocking up on roll after roll of toilet paper (which can be ruined by moisture, eaten by mice, and is a fire hazard), consider having a good stash of soft, washable cloths to wipe with instead. Use these along with a squirt bottle of water, and it really isn’t as bad as it sounds.
4. Cloth Diapers and Wipes- Super easy to use, and much more economical than disposables. It would stink (haha) to use up the last of baby’s diapers and have no way of getting more. Buy a pack of prefold cloth diapers and some pins, and never worry about running out.
5. BPA Free Plastic Dishes- Have a durable set of plates, bowls and cups that won’t break when dropped and can handle long term use. These can be for everyday, but can also be thrown in a Bug-Out-Bag when necessary.
6. Tattler Reusable Canning Lids- Instead of stocking up on a huge supply of one-time-use canning lids, consider buying Tattlers as your budget allows. They’ll last indefinitely, as long as you take good care of them. It’s a relief to know that I’ll never run out of canning lids with my Tattlers on hand.
7. Permanent Coffee Filter- If you plan on making a cup of Joe when the SHTF, grab a washable coffee filter instead of a stack of disposables. You can also use it for making teas, straining herbs for medicinal purposes, and straining fresh milk, among other things.
8. Washable Feminine Hygiene Products- Yes, have some tampons and pads for convenience. But for a long term situation I’d highly recommend the Diva Cup and a few packs of Glad Rags. This may be TMI… but I’ve been using these products exclusively for over a year now, and absolutely love them.
9. Straight or “Fixed Blade” Razors- You know, the kind our great-grandparents likely used. There’s a learning curve, and they’re a bit of an investment up-front to buy new, but think of the freedom of never having to buy disposable razors again! Of course, you could just grow a beard… or hairy legs. In a true survival situation grooming probably won’t be top priority.
10. Miswak Sticks- These natural sticks have been used for thousands of years for cleaning teeth naturally. They require no water and no toothpaste. Although they do eventually wear out, I’ve read where people have used the same stick for six months, up to several years (with the thicker Miswaks). You can make your own teeth cleaning sticks out of Dogwood, Walnut, Sassafras, and other tree varieties (click here for more info). A great alternative to stocking up on toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Not only will these items save you money over the long run, you’ll also have the peace of mind that you’ll never have to buy them again (well, not for a really long time, anyways), so you’ll be all set should the dollar tank and the store shelves run dry.