How does your toilet paper roll?

My first roommate that I shared a bathroom with took me aside one day, exasperated, and told me I was putting toilet paper rolls back all wrong.  I’d been flipping them under without even thinking about it, possibly because that’s what they do at my house.  My family has always been a bit different (my father is an immigrant), so I figured I wasn’t doing it the American way or something.

The next year, I had a different roommate.  After a few weeks of conscientiously making sure the toilet paper was flipped over when I put in a new roll, I noticed the toilet roll flipped under.  So I asked my roommate about it, and she said not only had she been putting in rolls flipped under herself, but she’d been changing my rolls because I was *doing them wrong* and found it seriously annoying but didn’t want to bring it up with me.

The next two roommates I had, I brought up this question the first day because I figured this was something I didn’t care much about, but a lot of people have strong feelings about it.  (Me, I’m just happy that the roll gets replaced at all!)  They both thought I was crazy for even thinking about it.  (And indeed, with them, sometimes the roll would be over, and sometimes under, almost at random.)

How about you?  Is this something you have strong feelings about?  Are there other kinds of habits like this where your way is the right way but other people do it wrong?  (Squeezing toothpaste from the bottom is my hobby horse.)

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39 Responses to “How does your toilet paper roll?”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I insisted the toilet paper roll come off the front. Ex would rave if it were not off the back, the “right” way. If the tp comes off the front, I can reach it better and can see where the tear is in case it is not hanging down. Otherwise, I have to paw it this way and that, wondering where the end is. Then, when we had children, they could reach to end of the tp more easily if the paper rolled off the front.

    Plus, the roll rolls faster if you lean and pull it from the back and more paper is used. Less paper is inadvertently pulled off if the paper rolls off the front. That is the argument that finally convinced the ex.

    Flipped over? Rolling loose end to the front? Well, that is what I voted.

    I bought when married and buy now large tubes of toothpaste. I cannot handle them by squeezing from the bottom, so I squeeze it wherever I can. This drove ex absolutely nuts. He said I wasted toothpaste. NO, I was the one who took it to the kitchen and used a rolling pin the flatten the bottom and get all the toothpaste out, rolling the end up. He never EVER (not once in 14 years of marriage) put the top back on so there was always wasted toothpaste on the sink. Even the children could see his ridiculous position in the wasted-toothpaste argument since he was the waster. .

    As long as all the toothpaste is all used, who cares where it is squeezed? If you do care? Why? Now, if a half-squeezed tube of toothpaste is in the trash, the throwing away of toothpaste would annoy me. I even cut it open.

    What makes me RANT? 1)Leaving the car door hanging open for one second longer than it takes to enter or exit the car. 2) Leaving it open while you come back to the house to get something.3) Leaving even a tiny crack in the window of the car. 4) Leaving a cracked window in a car you know I will be getting into in 5 minutes or 5 hours! Why? My yard is full of Tiger mosquitoes about 8 months of the year and the car fills with mosquitoes which eat me up. I have had a guy or three I have dated and female friends argue it was their car, so they could leave the windows however they pleased. Basically, they thought I was a controlling, bossy bitch when I asked them to roll up the car windows while the car was sitting in the yard. .

    Mosquito bites become about two inches across on me. I scratch them for months and look like I have a horrible disease. Sorry, but I cannot help but be in a really bad mood when I have been bitten 20 times on the way to dinner and in the meantime I am flailing my arms about and trying to kill mosquitoes. I am not even in the mood for dinner or anything else, civil conversation or whatever.

    Plus, at a gas station I freeze or get hot and cannot breathe or the car fills with bugs drawn to light or mosquitoes or flies if you get out to fill the car with gas and go in and pay for gas and pump it. NO, I am not going to get out and close it when I say, “Please close the door.” No one wants to see me throw a great big fit in public. I either get very icy toward the person, not saying a word or I explode.

    Oh yeah. I find wasps and bees in my car and other people’s cars who park in my yard. A sting for me could be worth a trip to the ER.

    One day, a cat full of fleas got in the most vocal friend’s car. It scared him as it flew over his shoulder to get out as he drove away.

    • Practical Parsimony Says:

      Oh, I only have the extreme reaction about cars windows and doors left open to allow mosquitoes in the car if this is an ongoing issue. The first time, I am distressed but explain my position and my yard. After a reminder the next time or two, things are out of hand for me. I feel leaving a car open when the person knows the hurt to me and consequences is a passive-aggressive ploy, a game I will not play.

  2. Alicia Says:

    Over the top, all the way. My fiancé is haphazard with it, so sometimes I am changing it, but I can live through the time period it might be “wrong”… so I’m a work in progress.

    I’ve heard if it’s over the top it rolls easier, making it easier for little kids that are playing. I don’t gave experience with they, but the cats have unraveled it pretty quickly she it’s over.

  3. TheologyAndGeometry Says:

    I put over but I don’t really view under as wrong. It’s just not my default. Truth is that we haven’t had the toilet paper on the roll for quite some time because our son views it as a wall-mounted entertainment system and he’d have the thing unrolled the minute we turned our back to him.

    My household pet peeve is water running a second longer than it has to. My husband poked his finger last night, rinsed it off, and for some reason let the water keep running while he examined it. Why????????? It’s so wasteful? I’m sure he was either a) thinking about the finger poke and not the water or b) leaving it on in case he needed to use it again, but it took quite a bit of self-control to not run across the room and turn the water off myself.

  4. JaneB Says:

    condiments left out on the side, not returned to the fridge.

    Leaving half an inch of beverage in the bottom of a cup – GAH!

    And toilet paper unrolls from the back of the roll (depending on your type of holder) because if it hangs off the front the loose end gets caught up sometimes when you get up and the whole lot goes flying. One housemate I had and I, we disagreed, and solved it by buying a holder where the roll was mounted vertically – which in the end we both agreed was better than the horizontal ones because it was harder to accidentally take too much paper.

    • Leah Says:

      We don’t have a dishwasher, so any beverage other than water ticks me off if left in a cup. I always put a splash of water into cups if they won’t be washed right away. Drives me batty when my husband leaves his milky glass on the counter with no water; the milk dries up and is such a pain to wash out.

  5. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    I’m pretty anal but the toilet paper debate isn’t one I am invested in. Ours is flipped over half the time and flipped under the other half. I worry much more about cleanliness than things like that. For example, my husband always makes fun of me for washing the kid’s shoes and wiping their feet off before they are allowed to walk on the carpet. I also wash our bedding a lot (and clean a lot in general) which he sees as overkill.

  6. Linda Says:

    I like the paper flipped over on a roll. I find it easier to locate the end and tear off sheets that way. However, I did mount the roll under for a while a few years back when we had a young cat that would make puddles of tp by playing with the roll; mounting it under stopped that mess.

    My pet peeve is keeping the sink clean, especially in the bathroom. I have an older house with pink fixtures in the bathroom (the 50s/60s focus on pink and grey bathrooms still amazes me) and it easily shows bits of toothpaste, soap residue, etc. I think it’s pretty easy to just swirl some water along the bowl to rinse things down when you’re done, but apparently others don’t see it that way. I’m similarly bothered by crumbs and such in the kitchen sink, but the bathroom one is the most annoying to me.

  7. Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

    I never noticed til an old boyfriend pointed it out..now I’m a flip over anal person about it. It does make a difference in ease of use. I remember an old roommate and dear friend apologized to me years after I lived with him. He had never, ever bought any “community” items or cleaned the apartment.. Toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, etc never ever came home in his grocery bag. It wasn’t until he lived with a bunch of mooches that he realized that that stuff didn’t just magically appear in the cupboards and apartments do get dirty when you don’t clean them..but somehow ours was always clean. It wasn’t a big deal to me, so I never said anything, but it didn’t even occur to him that I may be cleaning or buying these things. So, the moral of the story is that don’t assume roommates do these things on purpose. Sometimes they just don’t notice when someone is or isn’t doing something.

    I have a certain way I like clothes folded which makes me end up doing laundry more often. Although it takes effort, I don’t complain when laundry gets done while I’m away because many people don’t have awesome spouses who do those things.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      When I was working as a resident assistant, the best part of training was getting this big long Roommate Checklist (how to handle food, how to handle sex, how to handle music, etc.) that we had students go through with each other that first day. It seriously cut down roommate fights compared to other halls that didn’t have their students go through it.

  8. Leah Says:

    I think I might be a really hard person to live with. Among my pet peeves:
    – leaving water running
    – leaving lights on (hello, long dead organisms!)
    – the TP roll (I put mine over, and I’ll even switch the roll at someone else’s house)
    – crumbs on counters
    – unwashed dishes in the sink if we have a dishwasher
    – crud all over the sink

    I could probably write more. Living alone makes me so happy. I’m lucky I have a tolerant husband who indulges most of my issues.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Don’t switch things at other people’s houses!

      • Leah Says:

        I totally do at my MIL’s house in her guest bathroom. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t care.

        I think I got in the habit based in my mom. She for sure doesn’t care (and doesn’t pay attention when she puts a new roll on), and everyone else in my family prefers over the top.

  9. Debbie M Says:

    I used to put the toilet paper under because I thought it looked better; now I understand that over is more accessible. I do whatever my roommate likes–currently, that’s over.

    What’s more important is that the toilet paper have no scent. Next, that it’s made from recycled materials. Next, that it has not been beached with chlorine bleach. We now have some that isn’t bleached at all (score!). I used to like toilet paper with colors or patterns, but my roommates haven’t–my current bathroom has enough color that white or unbleached probably looks best anyway.

    Modern toothpaste tubes are made of plastic instead of metal, therefore it doesn’t matter how you squeeze it.

    I never want to be one of those people who wants you to stop living your life in order to keep things clean, but it is disheartening that there are always whiskers in the bathroom sink. Like within seconds sometimes. I think every time he walks by, he notices a stray long hair in his beard and takes care of it.

    Most of the things like that that bug me are wasting things or poisoning the earth when there’s not even any benefit:
    * driving somewhere close
    * leaving water running
    * leaving lights on
    * leaving doors open (refrigerator, exterior)
    * throwing things away instead of cleaning them (kitchen sponges, toothbrushes)
    * disposable everything

    The other things that bug me are when there are consequences that the other person doesn’t deal with (which I guess is somewhat true of the above as well)
    * microwaving things with no lid (unless you clean it up afterwards)
    * cleaning the sink strainer by dumping the stuff down the drain (because they’re sure that won’t clog the drain)
    * storing bottles sideways (assuming nothing ever leaks)
    * leaving trash in the car when you get home
    * driving fast with the top down (I have waaay too much hair to enjoy the consequences of that!)

    I do wear shoes in the house, but I also understand that I am in the wrong on that issue.

    • Linda Says:

      I wear *some* shoes in the house. They have to be clean, and the only reason I do so is that being without supportive shoes is a problem for me lately with all my ankle/foot problems. But I hate when people just generally wear shoes in the house and track in dirt, gravel, sticks, snow, rain, mud, etc.

      And another pet peeve I was just reminded of…cleaning up drips, drabs, and splatters in the kitchen while they are still fresh. I used to give my ex-husband a bit of leeway on this because he was visually impaired, but oh how I hate to find stuff stuck to the cabinets, counters, or major appliances because there was no clean up while it was still easy to do so. Ugh!

      • Debbie M Says:

        I do take my shoes off at other people’s houses if I know their rules. I’m not sure how great I am at noticing racks of shoes near the door and getting the hint yet, but when you actually tell me, then yes. Knowing ahead of time is helpful because then I can make sure to pick socks without any holes in them.

        Yes, fresh splatters! The hard ones are when stuff bubbles over on the stove, though–you have to wait until you turn the stove off!

    • Leah Says:

      Trader Joe’s sells awesome recycled TP, FYI. I think it’s non-chlorine bleach too. We buy it because it’s 100% recycled. I am tempted by the new no-roll Scott TP, so I might try that out next time we need some.

  10. Foscavista Says:

    Over, for I fold the toilet paper to a point for guests.

  11. Karissa Says:

    The TP roll used to be an issue with me, but now I cannot even remember which way was most important to me. As long as there is TP on there, I don’t care which way it faces!
    My peeves are: lights left on, cupboards left open, socks left on the floor, water left running, dishes left unrinsed, clutter in backyard (e.g. large bags of potting soil left on the lawn), beard hair in and around the sink, and probably 100 things more. I wash and hang the laundry because I like it done a certain way. I try not to nit-pick about dishes, since I rarely wash them myself. I also shed a lot of hair, so I try to be mindful that others in the house might be bothered by my stuff too.
    Oh yes, and toothpaste tubes: solved that issue by each having their own: Partner uses plain, Bean uses kids’, and I use sensitive teeth formula. We have a shelf with baskets and all the tubes and bottles get put away there when not in use.

  12. Flavia Says:

    I much prefer the way it looks flipped under (it’s what I grew up with), but in our current main bath the TP dispenser is on the wall opposite the toilet — which is most of the length of the bathtub away, when sitting on the throne. So flipped over saves valuable inches for what’s already a reach.

  13. Ana Says:

    Huh. I know this is a thing for people, but I really don’t care. As long as there IS toilet paper, and not just one measly square. If it is running low, get a new roll and leave it nearby for the next person!

  14. chacha1 Says:

    At home the TP is over but I don’t care how other people hang theirs, as long as they HAVE toilet paper. LOL

    I also sigh a little sigh when someone uses scented or super-soft TP. I hate scented anything around the house (if your house is clean it should not require perfume) as most artificial scents give me a headache. I do okay with essential oils in very low concentrations but I don’t like very perfumey-scented oils like lavender. Re: super-soft TP: lint. That’s all I’m sayin’. I do not want lint up in there.

    My own housekeeping is not too particular. I mean, I have cats, and they go in and out from the patio at will. There is shed hair pretty much everywhere and I do not Swiffer or vacuum weekly, much less daily. I will leave an unwashed stock pot in the sink for anywhere up to 36 hours. Stuff that needs to be hand-washed, like the stemware or knives or Tupperware, can sit (rinsed) on the sideboard for days at a stretch till I have enough piled up that it actually bugs me.

    Generally I do just enough housework that I can get the place ready for dinner guests in less than an hour. Prep for a house guest is a matter of a weekend, though. We don’t have house guests often. :-)

    But the main reason my apartment does not look like a pigsty is that we have a lot of hard surfaces to which dirt does not cling (the hair collects into tumbleweeds that retreat under the bookcases), and we don’t have a lot of clutter.

    Pet peeves: waste, litter, and failure to comprehend the nature of municipal services and how to use them properly (e.g. don’t dump cooking oil down the drain).

  15. xykademiqz Says:

    I grew up in a household where the TP was always under. Lived with a guy for several years in my early twenties and now that I think of it I have no idea how it was oriented. My husband, however, is very particular about having it over and no other way in hell, so that’s how we have it now. When I am alone I sometimes place it so it’s under, just because. ;-)

    Like chaha1, at other people’s houses, I care that they have TP. ‘Tis all. It would really piss me off if a guest came and rearranged my TP.

    Pet peeves: I am far from a neat freak and I don’t mind clutter, but bread crumbs drive me ballistic.

    My least favorite chores: sorting socks and emptying dishwasher, i.e. putting dishes away (sorting stuff is painful).
    But I don’t mind doing the dishes at all and I love folding colors.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We could totally be roommates because I love sorting things and I hate washing dishes. I am also aok with clutter but hate food like crumbs out.

      I wonder if it is an American thing to do TP over.

    • Leah Says:

      oh, sorting socks — ugh. That’s my husband’s job. I’ll fold all the rest of the laundry if he’ll just pair the darn socks.

      I don’t mind emptying the dishwasher (or, in our case, the dish drainer). In fact, I often empty the dish drainer so that my husband is more motivated to do the dishes. I don’t mind doing them, but we have a newborn, and doing dishes was hard both in late pregnancy (belly too big/standing in place wasn’t fun) and now that we have a newborn.

  16. L Says:

    I don’t HAVE a TP holder – unless you count the basket containing a couple extra rolls plus the one in use. And I don’t care how it rolls, just that it’s there! Major pet peeve is people standing with the fridge door open, trying to decide what they want. Second to that is running the water for no good reason. Third is drips and splatters that aren’t cleaned up immediately they happen (I’m looking at YOU, DH).
    Otherwise, I’m pretty easy to live with.

  17. Requin Says:

    I’ve been convinced that over is the only way to go ever since my MIL confided in me that under was really the only appropriate way. Plus since then I’ve noticed that hotels always have it over. I completely agree with the comments above about not understanding why people don’t rinse cups/dishes if they aren’t going to be washed right away! (Side eye at hubby who leaves bowls with yogurt residue to sit and dry out…)

  18. Rosa Says:

    This is so small, and yet so big. We buy a lot of bags of shredded cheese. They go in the cheese drawer in our refrigerator. It’s only about 2 inches tall, so they lay sideways. If you put the bag in top-to-front, the person who takes it out next is holding it rightside up. If you put the bag in bottom-to-front and don’t seal it well, the person who takes it out of the fridge picks it up by the bottom and all the cheese falls out.

    this would infuriate me less if my husband didn’t also complain all the time about how much money we spend on groceries. If he didn’t eat all the expensive stuff intended for kiddo’s packed lunches, and if he sealed chips so they didn’t stale and PUT THE CHEESE AWAY CORRECTLY our grocery bill would be smaller!

    Personally though, i don’t rinse dishes. If i’m going to run water I’ll just wash the dish. Otherwise, the dishwasher will handle it and/or it can sit in the water while I do other dishes.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Maybe you could take it out of the bag and put it into a box with a lid that somehow fits in your drawer? Or put the whole bag into a second big ziplock that’s easier to close properly?

      • Rosa Says:

        I do the second ziplock sometimes, though they also don’t get resealed. The small containers don’t work, they just get left on the counter open. Dunno why.

        It’s the general wastefulness and eating the most expensive stuff all at once, coupled with the complaints about our food budget.

  19. Rented life Says:

    Wow. I suddenly feel like I’m more laid back than I imagined. TP is over-easier to find where it starts at night in the dark. Except the one bathroom where the holder is further away from the toilet than I can reach so it just sits on the counter.

    Pee that is somehow on the floor by the toilet drives me nuts. People humming Christmas music when it’s not December. Leaf blowers. I’m sure there are other things but I can’t really think of them.

  20. Liz Says:

    For me the TP thing is whatever, but some observations:
    –When the holder is farther out of reach, I do over the top.
    –When the holder is super close, I do under.
    –When I change the TP at the day shelter (volunteering), I do over the top and make a hotel triangle fold. Only one person will see it, but I think it adds a little class – hope it makes someone smile a little brighter that day.

    Other peeves – I’ll let you know when SO and I move in together! (Engaged. It’s happening. :)) It probably will deal with the placement of dirty clothes (all over the everywhere, for serious…), and never being able to find my car keys. He will probably be irritated about my hanging-out water cups and books. Also, we differ greatly on how loud is loud. I like my quiet, and he likes the bass to rumble his innards. This will be a great adventure.

    • Leah Says:

      Re: the keys, I highly suggest a key rack. I am so bad with putting my keys away. That was the first big fight my husband and I had while dating. He had me put up a key rack at my place. He still sometimes has to put my keys away for me, but at least now he just does it when he notices my keys somewhere random. 95% of the time, they’re on the rack these days.

  21. SP Says:

    TP: over, but I don’t care much. I rarely fix it, but sometimes I have, because… it is not like I’m super busy when I’m staring at it.

    My pet peeves are pretty small, at least that is how I feel after I read all the comments! Leaving shaving cream container on the counter with the cap off (and then a little cream comes out). Not putting the toothpaste & brush back in the holder (or putting the toothbrush in the toothpaste spot – WHY?). My husband love to pile clothes on the floor or chairs, which is kind of annoying in principle, but doesn’t bug me on a day-to-day basis. Squeezing toothpaste from the middle makes no sense to me, but it doesn’t actually bug me.

    Another one: People who don’t appropriately set the speed of the window wipers as the rain changes. Luckily, moving to Cali made this nearly a non-issue.

  22. kt Says:

    TP over.

    Peeves: leaving the AC running, the engine running, and the car doors open in the middle of a September day in the desert (Utah). Leaving the car running under almost any circumstance that doesn’t involve a fear that the car won’t start again. (I am from the North, so running the car sometimes is necessary/makes sense.) Also, leaving the refrigerator door open.

    Osaka, Japan: AC at full blast, shop doors open to the street. So weird.

  23. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    I have never paid attention to the tp orientation, and couldn’t tell you which way it is now in our bathrooms. My biggest irrational household peeve is loading the dishwasher correctly. There is only one right way to do it, which is my way.


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