Thursday, May 1, 2014

Saving the Moola: the great TP debate (and experiment!), part 2

You can find part 1 of this series here.

When I last shared on this topic, I was getting ready to start tallying my family's TP count for the month of March. At the time, I was a stay-at-home mama, my hubby worked 40+ hours a week and my girl is not yet using TP, as she is not fully potty trained (she is 13 months old).

Can I just say that I am sickened by the amount of TP we use? We used 20 rolls of toilet paper in March. TWENTY!

I know some of you are against cloth wipes for yourselves. I know. I'm with you. I totally get it.

I promise, I really and truly do. 

If nothing else, though, can you just walk away from this committed to tracking your family's TP use over the course of one month? Whatever number you have, whether it's more or less than ours per person, may just shock you into coming up with some other sort of system for toilet paper. 

After March was over, I was more committed than ever to giving cloth a go. In March, I sewed up cloth wipes from flannel scraps I had. In total, I sewed 12 pieces. I tucked a basket I had on hand into one bathroom and filled it with those flannel scraps.

Before I share the full results of our challenge in April to only use cloth (minus extenuating circumstances, such as #2s and menstrual cycle times), I want to share some disclaimers:
  • April was vastly different from March regardless of the cloth wipes as I took a full-time job outside of the home. This obviously limited how much I was at home and using my own toilet wipes, whether it was cloth or paper. 
  • There are some instances that I have caught myself using toilet paper for things something else could have worked for: blowing my nose, wiping water off the seat (Bug splashes water everywhere when playing in the tub), etc. 
  • We have two bathrooms, but only one is fully equipped with cloth wipes. 
Honestly, I feel my results were disappointing. I thought we would use so many less rolls of TP. And we did use less: for April, we used 13 rolls of toilet paper. We saved 7 rolls, which is great!

But I really feel that isn't enough. Between both of us working full-time (and thus being outside of the home so much) and using cloth, I thought the number would be lower.

In all honesty, though, there were many, many times I didn't use cloth and could have. There were actually days, in fact, that no cloth was used. Not because I didn't want to use it. It just wasn't convenient, which is to say I was in the other bathroom that didn't have any cloth! That is an issue I will be seeking to fix over the next couple of months as I have time to sew more cloth wipes.

More surprising than the number of rolls we still used in April is how minimal the ick factor is when using cloth wipes. Shockingly, there is none. It's just pee. I have a bucket right next to the toilet so I literally use a wipe, and without moving anything other than my arm, I can properly take care of the wipe until it's time to do laundry. Since we primarily cloth diaper Bug anyway, we're used to dealing with cloth things like this. And ours is significantly less icky than Bug's as hers involves pee and poo! If you've felt unsure about cloth before, please be assured it's not icky.

Regardless of the disappointing results, we did save 7 rolls of toilet paper and that is enough to motivate me to keep going.  It is a savings of $2.70 per month. No, that's not an amazing number. But it is a savings, one that is very easy to get and maintain.

I learned a lot from this experiment, and more than anything, I learned that I can control how much TP I really use. It is up to me to be motivated enough to use the bathroom with cloth wipes, and it is up to me to make sure to use a cloth wipe for wiping water off the seat before using.

As Dave Ramsey always says, I may be the problem, but I am also the solution.

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