This is Why We Hoard Toilet Paper

Remember that whole lack of toilet paper thing? If you are like most of us, you have noticed the shortage of toilet paper in stores near you. But, is there really a shortage or are we just natural hoarders?

toilet paperBefore we get into this, it’s important to recognize, that if you ran out of toilet paper, then it must be acknowledged that you might be lacking a certain proactive mindset that is necessary to maintain a basic personal security posture.

Having plenty of food, water, toilet paper, sanitary napkins, even a generator, back up heat source, and essentially anything that you might need should the grid go down for any period of time, is what it means to be a “prepper” and be prepared.

Is there Really a Toilet Paper Shortage?

The first thing we want to look at is if there really is a shortage of toilet paper in the US. On average, each person uses about 100 rolls of toilet paper a year, or one every 3-4 days. When you use that stat and multiply it by the number of people in the country, as a whole, we need about 3 billion rolls per year.

With more than 150 different companies manufacturing toilet paper in the US, we are not at risk of running out, so why are people stockpiling it?

The Psychology Behind Toilet Paper Hoarding

A number of experts have been weighing in about why people are suddenly hoarding toilet paper. Here are some of the suggestions:

  • Other people are hoarding, so I will too – A lot of people are falling into that lemming mentality where they think “I will do whatever everyone else does.”
  • I see photos of empty store shelves – If you have been on social media recently, you probably have seen those photos of empty toilet paper shelves. This creates a sense of urgency that you, too, must fill up in case the supply is not replenished.
  • I am worried, so I want to do something – There is so much about this pandemic that is out of our control, and this can make people feel even more fearful and stressed. To fix this, we want to do something, and stocking up on toilet paper is something that can make us feel more secure.
  • Toilet paper is an easy thing to hoard – There is also the fact that toilet paper is a thing that is easy to hoard. First of all, it isn’t a perishable, so you can keep it for many years. Another reason for this is that it is fairly inexpensive. Plus, you probably don’t have a ton of it anyway, unless you have room to store it. There is also the fact that you can use toilet paper for a tissue or even a paper towel, but we generally aren’t comfortable using paper towels or tissues as toilet paper.

The message about coronavirus that is presented to us is one of cleanliness and hygiene. You are told to not touch your face, always wash your hands, and don’t get too close to other people. Another thing that is all about cleanliness and hygiene is toilet paper. So, when you think about it that way, it makes sense that people would want to have it in their homes.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.