The Life-Saving Magic of One Massive Roll of Really Crappy Toilet Paper
My husband works for a restaurant supply company, a job that comes with perks like: 37 tiny bottles of olive oil brought home from a food show, an economy sized roll of shrink wrap that you can keep in your car to make people wonder if you have a side hustle as a serial killer, and—my personal lifesaver—one really big, really terrible roll of commercial toilet paper.
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He brings home a lot of random stuff, is my point. Stuff with wildly varied levels of usefulness in our non-restaurant-owning life. And because I write about clutter for a living, I’m usually really good at deciding whether the thing he’s carrying into our apartment at the end of each work day is useful or not useful. I can open up a tiny bottle of olive oil to cook dinner every night for a month. I will never need 400 nautical miles of shrink wrap (that’s why I insisted it stay in the car). But the toilet paper—it perplexed me. It’s toilet paper… nothing could be more universally utilitarian. But it was really bad toilet paper. One ply. This was not toilet paper destined for a five-star hotel. This toilet paper’s fate should have been in a questionable dive bar with sensitive pipes. But it was here, in our loft.
So I just… put it where the toilet paper goes. In the cabinet next to the toilet. And it sat there for a really long time. We piled the Good Charmin on top of it, restocking when our preferred supply got low. The jumbo toilet paper became kind of a shelf for the other stuff.
Until one day—during a particularly busy phase of life when I must have been too preoccupied with other things to stay on top of my grocery shopping—when the shitty toilet paper suddenly became the only thing I could shit with. I sat on the toilet, holding the last square of Charmin in the apartment, and reached for that massive roll with fresh eyes. Dreamweaver played in the background. The paper wasn’t great—but it meant I could finish my day without scrambling to run to the store for TP. The giant roll of bad toilet paper was a lifeline. A pulpy emergency fund. A way to maintain control over my life and my home when worse comes to worst.
I bought good toilet paper again the next morning, so I barely made a dent in the giant roll. And it was untouched again for months. Until another day, during another busy time. And another some time after that.
Today, I ran out of toilet paper again. Only this time, I noticed that our formerly-giant roll of toilet paper is running low. So I fired off a text to my husband: “Can you pick up toilet paper today? Also I think we should get another giant shitty roll like the one upstairs because it’s getting low and it has literally saved my life several times.”
Here’s the lesson: Everyone should have a backup roll of toilet paper somewhere in their apartment, and it absolutely has to be so awful that you’d never ever want to use it except in case of emergency.
Here’s one similar to what we had, available on Amazon in a 12-pack. Share this article with 11 friends or coworkers and ask them all to Venmo you $3.50 and thank you later.