Monday, November 26, 2012

7 Essential Toiletries To Stock Up On

Yes, you do have more than 7 toiletries on your shelf, but I listed what I consider essential, and then listed the nice-to-haves. Nice-to-haves are items you might not need (or find) after a disaster, but you use them everyday, and boy they would be nice to have if you ever became unemployed. Essentials are necessary for hygiene. You could definitely argue the point and move some nice-to-haves to the essentials list and vice versa. But if finances are tight, I recommend gathering a supply of the 7 Essential Toiletries first. Then some of the nice-to-haves. Then tendency to buy things only as they run out will leave you helpless when disaster strikes.

Because I encourage taking a mini-inventory of your food and home storage each week, this list coordinates with my 52-Week Food Storage Inventory. In the past, I listed toilet paper and facial tissue on the Paper & Plastics inventory list; but I've reconsidered and think they are much easier to count with other toiletries.

Obviously your toiletries will be quicker to count if they are in a centralized location, but that doesn't work if you put some personal items in your basement, some in a bathroom cupboard, and some in the garage. You might want to work on a bit of organizing. But as long as you know where they are, you'll be okay taking an inventory. Obviously you have other items in your cupboards that you could add to the list as well.

The nice thing about toiletries is you can buy them everywhere, and there are lots of sales and coupons. But I warn you; Costco makes a lot of money on toiletries. So, the list below only shows a few items I buy at Costco. However, convenience sometimes wins out.

If your home storage space is tight, focus on a 1 to 3 month supply of toiletries. Or buy one item to use and one for your shelf. Having a smaller stock means you will need to replace items more often.

My last bit of advice is don't go overboard and buy a year's supply of every toiletry or you won't have any money left for food storage. The stuff that keeps you alive. Moderation is a good thing. You've watched shows like Extreme Couponing. Well . . . that's extreme. A year's supply of toilet paper in your tiny apartment or a year's supply of peanut butter. You choose.

Adjust the list. Eliminate what you don't want. Use it as a starting place.


Item 1 mo. 3 mo. 12 mo. Store
Soap, bar 1.0 3.0 12.0 CC
Toilet paper 4.0 12.0 48.0 CC
Feminine items 30.0 90.0 360.0 WM/DS
Shampoo 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Deodorant 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Toothpaste  0.3 1.0 4.0 WM/DS
Toothbrush 0.3 1.0 4.0 WM/DS
Item 1 mo. 3 mo. 12 mo. Store
Conditioner 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Lotion 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Razors 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Sunscreen 0.2 0.5 2.0 WM/DS
Dental floss 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Facial tissue 0.3 1.0 4.0 CC
Body wash 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Mouthwash 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Cotton swabs 30.0 90.0 360.0 WM/DS
Shaving cream 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Contact solution 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Hair products 1.0 3.0 12.0 WM/DS
Lip balm 1.0 3.0 12.0 CC
CC = Costco
WM/DS = Walmart or Walgreens/Rite Aid with coupon

(just learning how to add spreadsheets, so bear with me)


  1. Great list! Silly question... under the 1/3/12 months, does that mean how many you should store?? So, like 1 bar of soap, per month, per family member??? Thanks so much for all your hard work!!!

  2. For these items, if you travel a lot for work, you can start a nice little stock pile (as I have) of soap, shampoo, cream rinse, lotion, (also, I keep all the coffee & tea and the little sugar/napkin packets that come with them). These can come in handy for barter should it ever come down to it.

  3. A bar of soap per person per month? Huh? There's two of us, with still 3 baths in the house and we rarely use a bar of soap per bath per year. And body wash, too? My stick deodorant came in a two-pack early this past summer -- still using the first one perhaps half gone. 12 per year? One toothbrush per 3 months each? A tube of toothpaste that won't last a person an entire year? One lip balm per month? My shaving cream lasts years. Think the prudent thing to do here is use less.

    1. Brent, Brent, Brent...
      "Adjust the list. Eliminate what you don't want. Use it as a starting place."
      It's not a one-size-fits-all kind of list.

      The other thought that comes readily to mind is... maybe you should use more toothpaste and deodorant? Just sayin... :)

    2. Keep in mind these might be good barter items ... if it comes to that. Especially the TP!!!

  4. Valerie-
    This list is great! I'll pick and choose what pertains to me in my situation. Thanks for thinking of things I may have forgotten.

  5. Love the list. The only thing I'd change is putting sunscreen on the Need list instead of the Nice list.

  6. This list is great -- I love how you help with prioritizing needs, as well as giving a good list and schedule of how much to buy and how often. Thank you!

    One thought in terms of stocking up on feminine items - have you heard of menstrual cups? They're basically feminine hygiene products you can reuse. The first time I ever heard of them, I thought it sounds completely nuts/gross but I finally started using one (I use the Diva Cup)and they're great! No need to stock up on pads and tampons because one of these cups can last years. Like I said, it's a bit of a paradigm shift, but I think they're a really great option for emergency preparedness.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!