The Decorum Diaries

Unapologetically ladylike.

How I Store Personal Care Products (And other tips worth knowing.)

Recently I came upon the supposition that the Duchess of Cambridge likely provides guests with bar soap and hand cream in the lavatory, as opposed to liquid soap. The thought reminded me of how my Grand-Mère kept small decorative bars of soap in her powder room as well. Grand-Mère was known for her talent in interior design, and I'm sure the soaps made an impression on me, year after year, because of the dish that held them-- a smooth and iridescent freshwater clamshell from the family's river camp. 

As I write this today, thinking of that creative, and lovely way Ma-Mère contained soap for her guests, I wonder how she may have stored other -more personal- items.

One of the conundrums of adhering to ladylike etiquette is that there are certain sensitive subjects we usually do not discuss, except for with the closest of friends and female family members. Some topics we won't even venture to discuss with them. Many years ago when I decided to troubleshoot some feminine hygiene annoyances, I was left to wing it, preferring not to canvass the neighborhood or survey my girlfriends. 

Here, however, in our little corner of the internet where few today will venture (I lost them at Decorum) we can discuss all things feminine and lovely-- and maybe even private. 

I'll go first.
 
 

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This post is worth reading if you:

  • haven't put any thought into storing feminine hygiene products.
  • don't have a convenient, private storage spot.
  • run out of products mid-cycle or find you don't have what you need at the start.
  • flit from brand to brand or just grab the first items you see.
  • are inconsistent with the amount of product you buy each time.
  • have no idea how long your purchase will last.
  • routinely have accidents that stain or make cleaning your undergarments difficult.                 

From dishwasher powder to toilet paper, I've come to believe in brand loyalty as a way to keep clutter at bay, keep your storage spaces organized, and streamline your shopping. If you're buying different feminine hygiene products routinely and in various package sizes, you may find yourself running out of products and into storage issues.

The cure is a three step process:

Survey the available storage space.
Consider containment.
Buy the same products in the same amount on repeat.

I store my feminine hygiene products in my bathroom's linen closet when not in use. The closet is a few feet from the commode so when it is time for my cycle I move them to the toilet tank lid to keep them off the floor and within reach. However, I do not store them on the toilet throughout the month because I prefer keeping the toilet clutter free and easy to clean.
 

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I store the products inside a decorative box with hinged lid. It is just large enough to rest on the back of my toilet when needed. Most of the guests invited to use my bathroom would never give the box a second thought-- it sort of blends.

I know that my container stores just over three small packages of my preferred tampons. (I buy three different absorbencies.) It will also hold one box of panty liners and nearly one box of thin pads. Knowing what I can store makes shopping a breeze. I have a visual queue when it's time to buy, which is before I run out, but after making enough room to store the replacements. 

The goal is to consider the consumable items we use and shop for upfront so that we never have to think about it again-- at least not until a product or package is discontinued. If this idea appeals to you, I've written more about it here

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Brainstorm other items you may wish to store in your personal care container before getting started so you can consider your storage volume needs.

Here are some ideas to get you started:
A small calendar and pencil.
Pregnancy Tests or Anti-Fungal Ointments
Vaginal Boric Acid* and Acidopholus Suppositories
 

Until you get the hang of shopping for the space you have, you may have a bit of product overflow. When I have extra feminine hygiene products I do a few things. First: I make sure my travel pouch is full. Every menstruating woman needs a travel pouch. I'm able to discreetly remove mine from my purse and carry it to the bathroom if I'd rather not take my whole handbag-- say while visiting a friend's home. I also like how it keeps the items contained and not floating around loose for the world to see if I need to dig in my bag while in public. I'm certainly not embarrassed by menstruation-- but there's nothing quite so pulled together as a woman who keeps private things private. 

Says the woman currently sharing photos of her feminine care products on the internet.
 

Next, I stock my car with any products that I cannot store in my bin, which has saved me more times than I can count. Living in the middle of nowhere, Texas as we do, we spend a lot of time on the road. I can tell you, far from my mind when we're leaving for a day-trip is whether or not I may start my period while we're gone. Since I rotate purses and often carry a small clutch, my car is more dependable than my travel pouch. But I usually only think to take it when I've already started my cycle. 

One more idea for the tender-hearted: I read recently that one overlooked need of female homeless is feminine hygiene products. Can you imagine? My family and I do not encounter a lot of homeless people since we live rurally, but we've discussed putting together a few small sacks of goods to offer when we do. If we happen to encounter a woman, I may be able to slip a few pads into the bag from my car stash before handing it to her.

Bonus tip for those of you that made it this far:

The flow of my cycle is only predictable in its unpredictability. It was rare that I could get through a period without ruining an undergarment. About six or seven years ago I finally wised up and switched to wearing black panties daily. My undergarments always look fresh now. (And talk about streamlining your shopping!) I prefer synthetic fabrics because of how long they look like new-- but I insist on 100% cotton gussets. The gusset is the fabric that covers the crotch; for our health, it is important that the gusset material is breathable. I am always disappointed when I've ordered a panty that is advertised as having a cotton gusset only to find that the gusset is lined on the outside with the synthetic fabric of the brief. 

(I do keep one nude pair as a just in case, or for wearing with white slacks. I also have a stack of 100% white cotton undies in case I need to treat a yeast infection. These can be laundered in high temps and even ironed to kill any lingering yeast.)

The idea of wearing black panties now feels so elegant, natural, and mature that I've decided to switch my daughter to black undies as a rite of passage when she crosses the milestone of needing them. As a young person, I had anxiety about anyone seeing my dirty laundry, or stains on my clean laundry. Black undergarments prevent stains from showing and, knowing her, will be just novel enough to feel like a celebration for outgrowing the flowers, pale pink bunnies, and powder blue horses she's sporting now. There are many things about womanhood I'd love to rescue from this sex-obsessed culture of ours. Welcome to practicality, authentic feminity, and innocence, black panties! We're glad you're here.

*If you suffer from yeast infections, please do research and ask your doctor about Boric Acid suppositories. They are an alternative to creams such as Monistat and made all the difference for me.