At a time when a majority of your time is spent at home, being properly prepared is essential. During college, it’s hard to know what you need and when because odds are, your parents seemed to have everything you ever needed.
I know I always think of something I need and then realize I don’t have it. I’ve gotten accustomed to my parents just magically having paper towels, toilet paper, food and more always around.
During a pandemic, what you need can change. You have to plan for a couple of weeks rather than a few days. It’s imperative to be prepared. Here are some things I always need and items that have become essential during the pandemic.
1. Cleaning supplies
These may be hard to come by right now, but they are essential at any time, not just a pandemic.
Some basics you will need are paper towels, sponges, a multipurpose cleaner, a vacuum and a broom. These can be used to clean your kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom.
If you can’t find a multipurpose cleaner, you can make your own. Most DIY cleaners include vinegar, water, soap and essential oils. Mix the ingredients together based on your recipe in a spray bottle, and you can clean nearly anything.
Masks aren’t necessary inside your apartment, but they are for when you leave. Manhattan currently requires masks in all businesses and areas where social distancing can’t be maintained. Kansas State’s campus also requires masks or face coverings in all areas.
I keep my masks on a hook on my bedroom door. I can grab one as I leave my house easily. It also helps to keep one in your backpack or purse, if you have one, that way you are always prepared.
3. Toiletries (toilet paper, feminine hygiene, etc)
No one wants to run out of toilet paper. I’m not condoning hoarding toilet paper, but try to have more than a couple of rolls in your apartment at one time. If you live with several roommates, that toilet paper can be used quickly.
For those who menstruate, it also helps to have lots of tampons and pads around so you aren’t caught off guard. This is especially important if you have to quarantine for any reason and can’t go to the store. If you have reusable menstrual cups, cotton pads or tampons or other items, make sure you have enough available as well.
Other items like soap, toothpaste and skincare items don’t need to be kept in bulk, but sometimes it’s nice to have one or two extras around. You may unexpectedly use the last bit of toothpaste and not plan on going to the store for several days.
4. Dry foods (rice, beans, pasta)
Non-perishable food items can be a lifesaver. When the pandemic began, people went in droves to grocery stores to stock up on rice, pasta and beans. These are staples of many meals and can be used in numerous ways.
If you find yourself needing to quarantine, these may be a staple in your diet. A cup of dry rice becomes 3 cups of cooked rice, which can easily feed you for several meals when paired with some meat, veggies or beans. You can make your own burrito bowls and not even leave your house. Not to mention that rice is pretty cheap, too.
By buying non-perishable items, you can save yourself from going to the store too often and save time when you do go by only needing a few items.
5. Hand sanitizer and hand soap
This item isn’t easy to come by lately, but is great for a quick disinfectant when you arrive home. If you put some by the front door, you can easily suggest its use to guests in your house.
Since this is a hit-and-miss item at the grocery store, you may just need to wash your hands when you arrive home. If you can’t find liquid hand soap, you can make your own out of castile soap, water, essential oils and coconut or almond oil.
6. Books, movies, board games
Being at home also may mean you have some more time on your hands. To pass time, I’ve been playing with my dog and reading or watching TV when I can. If you don’t have any books at home, you can borrow them from the Manhattan Public Library digitally on the Hoopla app. All you need is a library card.
You can also borrow albums and movies through the app. However, most people use Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services. For free TV, Peacock by NBC is an option. A large number of shows like “Psych” and “Parks and Rec” are available for free, as well as some big-name movies.
There’s always board games, too. I enjoy board games when there’s a large group of people to play with, but that’s not common lately. A good alternative is JackBox games, which can be played over Zoom with friends.
7. Comfort items (blankets, knick-knacks, photos, keepsakes)
Finally, since this is a troubling time, it always helps to be comfortable wherever you live. If you feel comfortable where you live, you will be happier. I like to have multiple blankets in my room and photos of friends and family around. Other people enjoy keeping knick-knacks on their desk so it feels less dreary.
Find a method or item you enjoy so you stay comfortable and happy at home. You never know when you might get stuck there.
Bailey Britton is the managing editor and rising editor-in-chief of the Collegian and a junior in journalism and English. The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.