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.

  • Ha…! I can’t smell so no perfume, but buy TP at Sam’s Club when it’s on sale, usually a limit of two packages of 36 rolls each. I took count this weekend and had 78 rolls. Hopefully, that’ll keep the two of us for a while 🙂

    And my childhood training in how to keep a clean house is definitely paying off! We don’t wear our shoes indoors, either. Think of the yuck on the bottoms…

    Stay safe, Leslie Anne, and keep the humor coming. We need it more than ever in this increasingly humorless society!!

  • Love this! I, for no particular reason, had stocked up on TP via Amazon a few weeks before all this started. More of an “I might as well get this now and not have to buy again for a while” than anything. So glad I did! Hopefully by the time I need to restock things will have settled down a bit. Also, I’d gladly trade a roll or two for a couple of good looking porch ferns! Thanks for the humor today, Leslie Anne!

    • Glad you were “led” to purchase advance rolls of TP. God moves in mysterious ways! Keep focused on better days ahead and thanks for the note!

  • I totally agree about toilet paper. I may have been known to have well stocked closets with TP as well. I do think living in hurricane country does keep us a bit more in the preparedness mindset. I wouldn’t call myself a prepper but more of a Nancy Drew girl who just likes to have what she needs when she needs it.
    Take care of yourself. I have felt so loved by my kids this week with the kids making sure I don’t go anywhere and fussing at their dad if he does:)

    • That’s a great way to look at it. Nancy Drew was a savvy girl! Good for your children. They always come through for us, don’t they? Even my 20 year old college kid is giving me daily updates and telling me to stay put. It’s a learning experience for us all! Take care Sandy.

  • Wayne Conrad says:

    Our kids all live elsewhere and we built a fairly large home to accommodate their visits (our immediate family consists of around 75 people, including 20 grandkids and 30 greats). Therefore we do stay fairly well provisioned with food and TP. I did hit the Spam and Vienna Sausage aisle a couple of days ago, but then, they are a regular part of my cuisine! We shop Sam’s for paper goods usually and buy the big bundles, although I must admit that you have us beat somewhat on volume. My spouse cooks as a hobby and the freezers are quite full of her experiments. We’re ready to ride it out.

    I Love your articles and appreciate the humor in the land of the offended. Thank you much!

    • So glad to see your comment here. A family of around 75 is a major group of folks! No wonder you are prepared. Good for you, and in the future, I’m sure we’ll all be like you. Sometimes it comes down to whether or not you have the space to accommodate the extras. I’m lucky to have great storage. Not much space for hanging dresses, but toilet paper? No problem. All the best to you and your large family!

  • Perfume??? Sounds like you have your priorities right! Me too…ditto for electricity and tp! ??

    • Mercy . . . I’m running low on Chanel Gabrielle, but hate to say anything for fear of appearing too “first world” with my worries! I was without electricity for a week after a hurricane, and it was terrible. But at least I had perfume.

  • I felt like a cave woman out foraging for TP. No luck on 3 separate trips, so I’m getting a little nervous. But I did manage to snag the very last bag of Dixie Crystals sugar. My very survival is dependent upon sweet tea (and gin &tonics). You are a wise woman, Leslie Anne!!

    • Come dance around on my porch and we can make a deal. Nice readers go to the front of the line!
      Be safe and wise — and drink more tea!

      • Hey friend, can you spare a square?!? Last night I was supposed to see Cher in concert…I’d been dancing around my kitchen for weeks just in case she needed a backup dancer!

  • Ellen Shook says:

    Ha! You sound like my late mother. I think she bought a multipack or two every time she passed by a store. I don’t recall ever leaving her house as an adult when I didn’t take home a couple. That went for everyone who knew her I think. After I cleaned out her house when she had to go into care, I don’t think I bought tp for a couple of years. I think all this hoarding is so silly. All the CEOs of companies which produce tp say that they run 24/7 and we are not going to run out. What is really tragic is that Sprouts would not let Ray buy but two bottles of white wine today!!!

    • Wine rationing? Now it’s getting ugly. Your mother was a wise woman, in my book! Take care and be safe!

  • Good show! After this passes I bet people will think about having extra supplies on hand. I have been fascinated by reading what people do to get ready for that day when you know hits the fan. So have jars of rice, beans and such with bay leaves in them to keep away the critters. Never like cooking from a can, but have some of that in my closet also.
    When all that started in Asia, I started getting extras on everything. So glad I did because we are in that range of age that doesn’t need to be in crowds. I’m very healthy but my husband has serious tissues.
    I’m also fascinated with foraging, have read a lot about what you can eat by just knowing the names of plants.
    Where and what to look for.

    • Those “Preppers” aren’t so weird anymore are they? Wish I had been as “weird” about other supplies like I was the TP! Hang in there and take care of your husband!

  • Love this story! It helps lighten the doom and gloom. Keep up the good work.
    TP scarce here in Virginia also.

    • Thanks so much Sharon. I was hoping everyone would see the humor in it and not make an angry mob on my front porch demanding a roll!
      All the best to you in this tough time.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    %d bloggers like this: