In our attempts to live lightly off the land we have made another big change. I want to preface this by saying that it was my wife’s idea. She is the one that made the suggestion. So since we were out of toilet paper my wife suggested that we do without. Imagine the trees that could be saved by not flushing the paper down the toilet.
I have heard of others going without toilet paper, it’s really not a new thing, we’re just copying others. Frankly I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Sure you get the shock affect when you say that you don’t have toilet paper, but I’m really enjoying this new system and I don’t think it’s weird or gross.
I should also note that I am a toilet paper connoisseur. I grew up camping and I loved finding new things to use as toilet paper. For example, there are some big, soft leaved plants in the Pacific Northwest that put Charmin to shame. Pine cones on the other hand were a bad idea. In fact I don’t know why I ever thought that would even be a good enough idea to try. Snow was really one of my favorite TP substitutes. It’s cold, refreshing, slightly abrasive and cleansing. The only problem is that it melts. You have to start with a lot of snow because it melts quickly and you could end up quite vulnerable. Oh, and it's cold. Besides that, if your snow is too powdery, you're doomed and if the snow is too icy, you are also doomed.
So the alternative to toilet paper is a wash cloth that you get a little damp. It’s cool (unless the water has warmed up), refreshing, and it cleans well. Sure you have to do the laundry, but it’s no different than the cloth diapers we wash (maybe I should note that my wife generally does the laundry). The water makes it cleansing and it works great.
Does it make a difference? On the one hand, it’s not a lot of TP that we’re saving, but at the same time we are one family that doesn’t use any. It’s the little things that make a difference.