Non-Food Essentials To Stock Up Now

People think I'm always calm and organized, but it's a controlled illusion. I appear calm because I am so fricken meticulous when it comes to tying up loose ends. I don't run out of stuff. I watch my animals like a hawk. I pay attention to every ache or injury my husband mentions.

In short, I don't leave details to chance. Why?

Because despite your best efforts, even the best laid plans can go awry in a heartbeat.

Take Jammy the cat, for instance. I always make sure the pet run is clean, their food and water is fresh. Yet in a freak accident Jammy somehow swallows a beetle too big for his intestine. That one little incident has cost us thousands, not to mention worry and sleepless nights.

If I am this careful and things still go wrong, it's no wonder normal people freak out when the government closes all non essential business or retailers run out of stuff. I'd be a basket case too if I left things to the last minute.

This is why I strongly encourage people to take matters into their own hands. Don't rely on your local grocery store to always carry your favorite mustard. You might not like what you get in exchange.

With that in mind, I'd like to break down essential non-food items in order of type.

Disinfectants and Cleaners

  • Alcohol: I'm a strong advocate for isopropyl alcohol. I've used it for years to clean and disinfect, especially my granite counter tops where all the food prep happens. If you can't find isopropyl, settle for ethanol alcohol. It's just as effective. I just don't like the smell.

  • White Vinegar: This is a remarkably cheap and effective disinfectant and cleaner. You can use it on your wood floors or your laundry.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Another outstanding disinfectant. Careful where you use it since it can damage non colorfast materials. I use it for gargling whenever I have a sore throat.

  • Bleach: Bleach has a short shelf life so it's the only item I buy to last one year at a time. Like peroxide, it can damage sensitive materials, but it's great for disinfecting water and hard surfaces. Buy bleach WITHOUT dyes, scents, or additional cleaning agents. You want unadulterated sodium hypochlorite.

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Laundry soap

  • Paper products: Aside from toilet paper which I'm assuming everyone keeps now, include paper towels, tissues, and sanitizing wipes.

  •  UVC lights or light box: I need to write a much longer article on UVC lights. There's a lot of misinformation out there and I've noticed a great many cheap and useless light boxes/wands that are not in the correct UVC wavelength for killing viruses. I can offer a couple of recommendations here, but a more in depth post is coming. Click each picture for prices and info.


Home Pharmacy

We're talking general over-the-counter stuff here. I'm going to assume you have your prescription needs covered.

  • Petroleum jelly: Friend to man and beast alike.

  • Allergy medicine: Because pollen happens.

  • Bandages: Both sticky and the gauze type.

  • Aspirin or other non-aspirin pain reliever.

  • Anti-itch cream: Should something bite you or you run into poison ivy.

  • Triple antibiotic cream: For simple cuts and scrapes.

  • Soap, bar or soft

  • Dust masks: I gotta be honest. I'm not a big advocate of dust masks. If you think a thin piece of fabric is going to save you from covid, your trust is misplaced. It helps minimally to keep you from touching your face after you've touched something contaminated or keep you from coughing on others, but only proper PPE (N95 or N99 masks) will protect from covid. If you really want to be safe, you'd also wear protective goggles since the virus can enter through your eyes as well.

  • Tweezers

  • Thermometer: Not all thermometers are accurate. I still have several mercury filled thermometers which are accurate, and Greg has industrial grade thermometers that are highly calibrated. While both of these are accurate to each other, many cheap drug store digital thermometers are not. Don't panic. Trust me, if you're really that sick, you won't need a thermometer to verify it for you.

  • And as above, a bottle of alcohol and hydrogen peroxide for the medicine cabinet.

The Tool Box

  • Basic tool set: This includes: claw hammer, pliers (needle nose and adjustable), screw drivers (Phillips and flat head), wire cutters, utility knife, and tape measure. You can add lots more to this, but these are the absolute essentials.

  • Tape: You must have duct tape. Duct tape solves a multitude of problems. And if you don't already have some, buy plumbers tape for leaky pipe threads.

  •  Garbage bags (large): These are great both as impromptu rain gear, a way to seal a door, or as viral infection protection for your clothes if you have to tend a sick family member. 

  • Flashlight: We keep regular and UV flashlights. Scorpions are highly visible in UV. And we have scorpions galore out here.

  • Pocket knife: Get a good one. The cheap ones will break when you need it most. 

  • Sewing kit

  • Batteries: You do not want to run out of batteries if you're self isolating. Stock up or better yet, buy the rechargeable batteries.  

There are many more things you can add to the list, but I think this will get you started. If you remember what it was like to be confined to your home, think back to what you ran out of first. This will help to define your personal list.

All of us have specific needs depending on who also lives in our homes. Are there children, pets, elderly, or disabled people who live with you? You'll have to plan not just for your needs but theirs. It's a great responsibility.

I hope I've given you a solid foundation for stocking up on non-food items. Most of these items are readily available. Some disappear during crises so stock up now when you see them.

As we go forward I'll post new lists for other supplies that we often forget. Stay tuned.

This is Part 2 of Sensible Prepping.


Mike Keyton said…
Thank you for the mustard shout-out 😀.ref masks, I think it was a US university that posited the argumen7 (based on research) that the very ineffectiveness of face masks makes them a natural vaccination. That is, yo may absorb a fragment of Covid. Enough to make you sick/under the weather, but not enough to make you seriously ill. Despite this, you retain the antibodies a vaccine would otherwise give you. Who knows ?
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Your righteous outrage struck a chord with me. LOL!

re: masks

Wearing a mask is a trade off too. You might get a low dose of covid, but a major bacterial infection from wearing a mask too long. If you happen to be particularly vulnerable to respiratory infections (like me) you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Much easier to avoid people all together.
Luba Meader said…
LOL on the avoiding people all together. A very well laid out plan for non-food items. I have to admit, I have a lot of those already in my house as well. Maria, I remember my mom always said to have disinfectant alcohol around the house to kill the germs. I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you. I got a chuckle re: the mustard and then I just read Michael's blog. Yellow mustard isn't so bad, it's not terrific and I'm like you I like the Dijon mustard overall. Looking forward to more of your listings.
Maria Zannini said…
Luba: Welcome Luba!

re: mustard
Mike is a man of the world, but he still comes home for Colman's English mustard. :)
Mike Keyton said…
No, I take it with me
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: LOL! I believe you.