Sew and Grow, Save and Recycle Your Way Into Preparedness – Part 2, by S.T.

Minimum Quantities Needed

You will need the minimum quantities that are listed below.
However, you can start on your path to reusable products with lower quantities and can continue to add additional quantities each and every week as you produce additional quantities of final product.

Washable feminine hygiene products-

  • 50- 8” for each female in the home
  • 25- 12” for each female in the home

Washable toilet paper-

  • 50 for each male in the home
  • 100 for each female in the home

Washable dish towels-

  • 20 each

Washable napkins-

  • 21 for each person in the house

Washable aprons

  • 2 for each person in the house


You can grow not just food and cooking herbs, but medicinal plants and household products. For example, gourds such the little dipper and big dipper can be used to make ladles for your kitchen. Bottle gourds can be made into bowls. These will be very useful and needed items when there are no more manufactured products. Loofah gourds make wonderful kitchen sponges. AloeVera plants are also another item to grow.

Saving & Recycling

Egg cartons make a very good way to start seeds, make fire starters, and to hold fresh eggs from your hens for sale.

Paper grocery bags can be used with a pattern to make seed saving envelopes. I give these away free from my vendor table at a local preparedness expo. Just print out three or four on card stock to use as patterns, then mark, cut, and tape the ones made from the paper grocery sacks. I found a free pattern on the Internet. Be sure that any printed part of the grocery bags are folded into the inside.

Empty Kleenex boxes are used by cutting the entire top of the box off. Then they are now the perfect containers to set on the back of the toilet to hold our supply of washable toilet paper and menstrual pads. Empty shoe boxes also work well for this. I do not use Kleenex in the house, but I have family members who give me their empty boxes.

Empty cereal boxes also make very good long-lasting material for sewing patterns.

Empty toilet paper rolls can be cut in half to make a great container for starting seeds indoors and producing homemade fire starters.

Empty glass jars make great containers for my homemade candles, homemade salves, homemade coconut oil toothpaste, homemade horehound cough syrup, and storage for home dehydrated vegetables and herbs.

Empty pump soap dispensers make a great container to hold our homemade hand sanitizer and homemade liquid soaps.

Metal coffee cans work great for making and storing bulk homemade salves and toothpaste.

Large Folgers brand plastic coffee containers work great for storing kitchen items, such as wooden spoons.

Canning jars with a chipped lip still work well for holding home grown bulk spices. This is also a good way to reuse canning lids. I have a couple of fabric shopping bags hanging on a hook in my kitchen that hold all of my used lids and rings, so I can reuse them.

The green “shake and pour” lids that are on the containers of Parmesan Cheese will fit on a regular mouth canning jar. These are great for dispensing our home grown herbs and spices that we grow.

[JWR Adds: Similarly, the flip-up pour tops on standard cardboard salt canisters can be cut off and fit nicely underneath the rings of large mouth Mason type canning jars.]

I have a 5′ long linen closet and use 2½ of the shelves to hold my empty containers for future reuse.

Holiday popcorn tins are useful, too. I purchased some of these at Wal-Mart and CVS a few years ago for the grandchildren at Christmas and asked them if I could have the empty tins back after they ate all of the popcorn. Now, they are filled with Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels-Naptha soap– all the supplies I need to make the laundry soap we use in our house. They are also a very good container to make a cache. Just duct tape around the lid, set inside a heavy trash bag or two, and then bury.

Altoid type tins are very good containers to hold homemade salves and toothpaste in your bug out bag, when a glass jar will just not work.

Footnotes and Warnings

*The costs of fabric can be reduced if you are lucky enough to find fabrics at a yard sale, estate sales, or auctions.

** Roll ends of newsprint are available for free or at low cost from your local newspaper company and also make good pattern-making material for clothing and larger items, such as the wonder oven.

*** Do not use fabrics with metallic threads on washable pads or washable toilet paper.

**** Beware of the Explorer”. However I was surprised to see a copyright notice on a woodland camouflage print fabric. The copyright notice stated “Sold For Non-Commercial Home Use Only”.

***** The FDA (Federal Dumb Agency), considers washable feminine
hygiene products a medical device that requires an annual registration fee in order to sell them. With this in mind, I will not be selling any until things go bad. Will cloth diapers be the next item to require a registration fee in the near future? What would your local public school district think if you kept home your child for five days per month due to a medical device needed to fix her condition?

****** I am sure that there is a “Ewwww!” factor with using washable feminine hygiene products and washable toilet paper, but the “Ewwww!” factor is worse imagining going without these products.

******* Do not use “Fleece” or “Microfibers”, as they repel versus absorbing water. Therefore, they will not get clean and could lead to future infections. Again use only 100% cotton fabrics.

P.S.: For washable toilet paper kits that will be for sale, a kit should include: 1 kleenex box with the top cut off, 1 peri bottle, 25 washable toilet papers, and washing instructions.

Closing Notes: What is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Consider potential future use before you throw something away, because it may just have another use or two or 20 uses in the not too distant future.

Switching from disposables to reusables will increase your laundry for an average family of five by only a single load per week, as aprons and dish towels and napkins can be added to the regular wash and only the feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, and cloth diapers require separate washing in very hot water.