26 November 2012

Health: Toiletries (& where to put them)

I hope that you're setting aside more than beans, bullets and band aids. Having an ample supply of your regular toiletries on hand can make an emergency much more comfortable for you and your family, not to mention it'll make you much more popular with the folks who must stand downwind. Just like everything else you can save money by buying them in bulk and taking advantage of sales, instead of buying toiletries on as "as-needed" basis. I suggest you ought to have plenty of:
Bars of soap: For washing yourself, obviously, but plain (non-moisturizing) soap can also be used to wash clothes. If you store it unwrapped the bar dries out, which makes it last a bit longer.
Shampoo: Regular shampoo and baby shampoo. The baby shampoo is for the kids, but it also makes a great homemade baby wipes solution.
Toothpaste: I know, you can use baking soda. We have that, too. I just don't want to fight my kids to get them to brush their teeth. But look to "Where There is No Dentist" for alternative uses of fluoridated toothpaste in dentistry.
If you think this is bad, look up "hairy tongue"
Toothbrushes: Did you think of this one? They don't last forever, you know. I also like to have extras on hand to give guests who forget theirs at home.
Toilet paper: Lots and lots. If you have one, consider putting the big packages in the attic. They're light enough, and as long as it stays dry the temperature changes won't bother them.
Feminine hygiene items: The wash-and-reuse kinds are available, and while it's not a bad idea to have some I'd refer you back to my "doing laundry by hand" post. In a pinch they could also be used as bandages.
Razorblades & shaving supplies: I've had this discussion with DH. Not shaving for a weekend is okay. Not shaving for a month means no kisses. Our daughter agrees. Not to mention having my shaving supplies is bound to make me feel better groomed and more comfortable myself.
Contact lens supplies: Saline solution, cleanser, extra cases, etc. They'll last longer if you take care of them. Glasses are in here, too, of course.
Deodorant: The people you share space with will appreciate this greatly.
I also have a bin for the hotel shampoos and samples I accumulate, one for first aid supplies, a catch-all bin for nail clippers, tweezers, etc.
Now, I'm not too keen on storing my soap and shampoo in the same place I store foodstuffs. It just seems like a bad idea. That and it takes up room when my storage space was already at a premium. I looked into "storage ideas" at the specialty stores, and about choked at the prices they were asking to organize my cabinets. This is the cheaper system I came up with:

The boxes are actually plastic shoe boxes I got at WM for about $1 each. They're a manageable size, they stack well, and they're good at keeping all the little stuff from getting everywhere. It's amazing how much more stuff you can fit when you're using the space efficiently. The boxes are also narrow enough to use in my above-the-toilet shelves.

For the stuff I don't need to get to frequently, I've stacked them directly on top of each other in every available space under my sinks. Above you see the things I need to get to more often, and I've used the shelves to make them easier to access.

(http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Wire-Stacking-Shelf-Long/17785629) They come in a few sizes, but you may have to look in the store. Don't buy the shelves online without measuring them and your cabinets first.