8 Good Things to Have on Hand During a Quarantine
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A quarantine is scary and uncertain—how long will it last? Here are eight products you should try to have on hand for the coming weeks. If you plan to buy any of these items online while observing the shelter-in-place orders, get the free Wikibuy browser add-on. It will automatically add available coupon and promo codes to your cart across tens of thousands of retailers before you check out.
1. Canned and Frozen Goods
Although fresh produce is delicious, it can go bad before you’ve even had a chance to eat it (we’re looking at you, bananas). But there are ways to get those nutritious staples without having to worry about looming expiration dates.
Whether it’s chili, beans, fruit, or corn, canned items can last for years in your cupboard, and can still be used for months after a quarantine is over. Canned goods also serve as wonderful bases for filling and nutritious meals that will keep you satisfied without fretting about having to go to the grocery store. And with so many different options to choose from, they’ll never get boring.
The other option is frozen fruits, vegetables, and grain kits. Studies have shown that frozen produce doesn’t lose much, if any, nutritional value compared to the fresh stuff, and a bag of frozen peas, berries, or spinach can last in the freezer for over a year. Just make sure to stick to the more basic items without added sauces and flavorings, since they could be packed with additives like sodium and preservatives.
2. Antibacterial Hand Soap
Soap and water is actually more effective than hand sanitizer when it comes to combating germs, and there’s actually still plenty of it available that you can buy in bulk. And while you should always check for the soap with the best antibacterial properties, you’ll find that even the budget-friendly brands are just as effective as their pricier brethren. So stock up on extra bars or bottles for your house that you set aside.
3. Boxed Pasta and Grains
Like canned goods, dried pasta is a pantry staple that can sit on your shelf for a long time—and it’s versatile enough to get you through a few lonely weeks. You can pair it with an equally long-lasting jar of pasta sauce for a quick dinner, throw it into a pot of soup to make your broths a little more filling, or even eat it plain with some cheese sprinkled on top. There are so many different kinds of pasta out there to keep mealtime interesting, and in addition to different shapes and sizes, you can try gluten-free, chickpea, or lentil varieties, too. And if pasta isn’t your thing, stock up on rice or quinoa. They’ll work just as well and can last for just as long.
Quarantine-friendly foods, like rice and pastas, won’t solve all your nutritional needs, so consider stocking up on a few bottles of multivitamins for an extra boost. Keep an eye out for anything that’s high in vitamin C for your immune system and vitamin D, since you might not be going out in the sun as often as usual. And as always, consult a doctor for more recommendations.
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5. First-Aid Kits and General Medications.
It’s smart to have a first-aid kit and a supply of over-the-counter medication in your bathroom year-round, but it’s doubly important to have them on hand during a quarantine. A stocked first-aid kit guarantees that you’ll have gloves, rubbing alcohol, thermometers, and bandages at the ready in case of any minor injuries that you can't go to an emergency clinic for. And once you’ve got that settled, buy some bulk bottles of general headache and flu medications, just to avoid unnecessary trips to the pharmacy or grocery store in case anyone in your house gets sick. Just remember to keep track of expiration dates—first-aid kits will have products that expire at different times, while over-the-counter medication usually lasts a few years.
6. Water Filter
Water is one of the first necessities people think about when an emergency hits, resulting in boxes and boxes of bottles being hoarded and shelves emptying out. But a low-cost alternative is to simply buy a filter that can help give you cleaner water right from your tap. This cuts down on plastic waste and gives you a near-endless supply of cold, fresh water that can last through anything from a week-long power outage to a month-long quarantine. Just remember to also buy some filter replacements, just in case your time in isolation really stretches into the future.
So you’ve got the serious stuff—food, vitamins, water—but remember, you’ve got to keep your mind busy during a quarantine, too. And you can’t spend all your time watching TV, either. To make the isolation of quarantine go a little smoother, be sure you’ve got plenty of ways to entertain yourself and your family. Cards and board games are obvious choices, but you may also want to use this time to pick up a hobby or take some online classes in a new skill, like coding or learning a new language.
8. Exercise Equipment
Gyms were one of the first businesses to close during quarantine, but your body needs to move, even when you’re social distancing. In addition to the myriad health benefits, exercise can help boost your mood and keep your brain sharp—two essentials when you’re spending so much time indoors. Thankfully, you can invest in some cost-friendly, at-home exercise equipment like pull-up bars, yoga mats, resistance bands, and pushup handles. Beyond that, you’ve also got a choice of exercise videos and subscription streaming services that will help guide you through a gym-worthy workout right on your living room rug.