* This article was originally published on Simply Laura Leigh *
Lately, it seems like life has been taken over with constant news updates about the coronavirus. Every time you turn on the TV or go on the internet, you’re bombarded with the ever-growing numbers of people infected. Or arguments between “experts” about how bad it really is, and what needs to be done about it. It’s honestly becoming stressful and exhausting trying to keep up with.
While there is still a lot of unknowns when it comes to the virus, there is one thing that we do know for sure. Many countries are starting to enact self-isolation or home quarantine periods that are ranging from 14-30 days. With the hope that this will slow or possibly stop the virus altogether. And it’s starting to look like something that might soon happen here in America.
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Regardless of how you feel about what’s currently happening, now is a good time to sit down and prepare your family for the worst-case scenario, a 14-30 day home quarantine. I know that even suggesting this is probably causing some of you to roll your eyes and think that I’m crazy.
But as a mom and a homemaker, I really feel like it’s our job to make sure that our family is ready for any possible emergency. As much as I hope that none of us have to deal with a home quarantine, as the days go on its looking like it may become more likely. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with a potential emergency situation.
So how do you prepare for a home quarantine and what exactly do you need? Every family’s needs will vary and there really is no one size fits all checklist for everyone. But I’ve put together some things to do and consider, as well as a basic supply checklist.
Inventory your pantry
If you suddenly couldn’t go out to the grocery store would you have enough food in your pantry to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for everyone in your house? I’m not talking fancy complicated meals, just enough that it would fill everyone’s stomach for 14-30 days.
Make a note of everything you have in your pantry and quickly write down all the meals you could come up with using only what you have already. This is also a great excuse to use up any food that is reaching its expiration date or has been sitting around taking up space.
don’t forget to take into account picky eaters and Food allergies/ intolerances
Rice is often listed as a food to have on hand in case of an emergency. One problem with that is my boys don’t like rice. Stocking my pantry full of rice won’t do me much good and it would probably just end up going bad before it gets used.
But, everyone in my house will eat pasta and mashed potatoes. So those are foods I’ll stock up on. Regardless of what happens pasta and instant mashed potatoes will get eaten. Even if we never end up having to self-isolate I won’t have to worry about that food going bad.
The same goes for food allergies and intolerances. If someone in your family has any sort of food restrictions take that into account when figuring out what to stock for an emergency. The last thing you want to a pantry full of food that one member of the family can’t eat.
When you’re deciding what foods to stock in your “emergency pantry” taking some extra time to make sure you’re stocking it with food that can and will be eaten. This will save you from getting frustrated when your kids refuse to eat what you’ve stocked, and it will also save you money since nothing will go to waste.
Inventory your cleaning supplies, paper goods
Just like with your pantry go around your house and think about all the things you use on a regular basis. Do you currently have enough of what you need for the next 30 days?
Things like laundry detergent, dish soap, cleaning products, toilet paper, paper towels. Are you fully stocked or about to run out? As we’ve already seen, these items that stores often run out of first. So if you’re in need of anything its better to get it now before the supplies are completely sold out.
inventory your PERSONAL HYGIENE, AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES
If your entire family is going to be stuck in close quarters for at least 14 days, personal hygiene is going to be even more important than usual. Is there enough toothpaste in the house or are you down to the last squeeze on the tube? What about body wash and shampoo/ conditioner? And don’t forget to stock enough pads/tampons.
Next, check your medicine cabinet. Do you have enough pain and fever reducers, cough medicine, medicine for upset stomachs? This is also a great time to make sure that nothing in your medicine cabinet has expired and that the batteries in your thermometers are working properly.
Do you have everything you need for baby?
For being so little baby’s go through A LOT of diapers and wipes in a short period of time. The last thing you want during an emergency is to be down to your last two diapers or completely out of wipes. Make sure you have enough for at least 30 days if not longer.
If you’re using formula stock up the best you can, and aim for at least a 30 day supply. This is especially important if your baby is on a specialty formula. If you’re breastfeeding make sure that you have some milk in reserve or extra formula in case you need to supplement
Don’t forget your pets
Do you have pets? Make sure you have enough food, cat litter, bedding for animal cages and anything else they require. It might sound silly but you need to prepare for your pet’s needs just like you are for everyone else in the house.
Last but not least – entertainment
If you do find yourself in a home quarantine there’s a good chance that everyone is going to get cabin fever at some point. Make sure you have a deck of cards, coloring books, board games, DVD’s or anything else will keep everyone busy and entertained.
The dollar store is a great place to pick up coloring books and other small inexpensive toys to help keep your kids occupied.
Get to the grocery store / Costco or sams club
Once you’ve done a quick inventory of what you already have make a list of what you need to buy. If you need help figuring out what you should get I’ve made a downloadable PDF that covers most of it that you can get at the bottom of this post. It’s not an exhaustive list but it covers most of what you’ll need.
Now all you need to do is get to the store! To help you stretch your budget to fit in extra grocery and household items shop in bulk, buy store brands, buy what’s on sale (even if it’s not your usual brand).
I’ve built a stockpile, now what?
Okay so here comes the hard and probably frustrating part. Being fully stocked doesn’t mean you start making your way through it. Since we don’t know how long this virus might be sticking around you need to hang on to what you’ve got. So either set it aside until you need it. Or do a small weekly or bi-weekly grocery shopping to keep yourself fully stocked until everything blows over!
Hopefully, we never find ourselves faced with being in a home quarantine situation. But there are just so many unknowns right now that it’s better to be safe than sorry. With a little extra time and effort, you can prepare your family for the worst-case scenario and help take away some of the stress and anxiety of the unknown.
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