Plenty of TP — thoughtful planning

March 20, 2020


TP - thoughtful planning. Conserving toilet paper during the Coronavirus - by Leslie Anne Tarabella for

I haven’t had to run out and buy many items for isolation at home during this Coronavirus crisis, and that’s because I already had most of the necessities on hand. Growing up along the Gulf Coast taught me one big storm can clear the store shelves of essentials, so while friends have kept a year-round supply of soup or Spam, I’ve always opted for the security of bathroom tissue, and now, my family finally appreciates my genius. 

Even if you don’t think anyone is dropping by, everyone knows a good Southern hostess should always have fresh flowers, cold drinks and a closet full of bathroom tissue on hand . . . just in case.   

My abundance of “TP” or “thoughtful planning” has finally paid off. I didn’t rush out and hoard deluxe triple rolls, but instead, accumulated the stash slowly over the last few years. Studying the crop rotation plans of George Washington Carver, when I added a new package, I moved the older rolls down a shelf and tucked the new one way up high. There was definitely a method to my madness. 

My arsenal of soft puffy rolls grew after I read of a man who bought a truckload of Charmin on sale, reasoning it would never go down in price and he could also use it as insulation in his attic. I was charmed by his practicality and weirdness, so when I shopped at the Bulk-o-rama, I’d pick up an extra package “just in case.” Big crowds of college kids popping in for the weekend only reinforced my efforts. 

Some find security in ice-cream. Others feel soothed when they are surrounded by a stack of books. For me, safety comes from knowing I am a modern woman who will never have to live in rough conditions like Little House on the Prairie. It calms me to know I have electricity, perfume and proper toiletries. 

As a little girl, I remember being shocked when the rural house we were visiting had an outhouse. I clenched my little fist and whispered, “As God is my witness, I’ll never . . . ” Daddy had to drive me to the Dixie Dandy to borrow their facilities. 

This is why I never walk in the wilderness long enough for it to be called a “hike.” When beautiful leaves are viewed as anything other than a seasonal bouquet to be taken home and placed in a vase on the mantel, it’s time to return to civilization. 

The ladies from The Committee for the Preservation of Loveliness are posting photos of empty store shelves and crying, “What will we do without the aloe-enhanced triple roll?”  I, on the other hand, have enough for my family and extra just in case I need to throw caution to the wind and TP someone’s yard. It’s 2020’s luxury status symbol if you’re caught. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve shared my supply with my children, mother and friends who’ve shown up dancing on my front porch . . . after I determined they were indeed roll-worthy. 

I notified the committee that I’m open to trade options. So far, I’ve received offers of Wickles Pickles, two porch ferns, a hummingbird cake and even a puppy. So, “ha-ha” to my family. My years of planning have finally paid off and I’m definitely on a roll. 

This story originally appeared on and in their newspapers, The Mobile Press-Register, The Birmingham News and The Huntsville Times.

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