Preparing for Isolation: Tips & A Shopping List
I’ll be honest here. I’ve been betwixt and between about writing this shopping list. I don’t want anybody to think I’m jumping on a bandwagon because I’m not. It’s no secret that I maintain about a month’s worth of supplies in the house (okay it’s more). My supply levels are not a ‘prepper’ thing or even a ‘money saving’ thing. It’s simply that it was not too long ago that I didn’t have the buffer of a full store cupboard; when times were tough financially and I had to seriously plan out every meal.
Being so open about my kitchen stores has led to a few requests from people on social media looking for an idea of where to start in case they do end up having to shut the front door to the world for at least a fortnight and go into isolation. I’m not suggesting you stockpile. Please don’t actually; please check and see what you have in your store cupboards before you go to the supermarket. Only buy what you need as otherwise you may end up with food waste and a rake of stuff that you might not need in the future.
Do be careful about calculating what you need to eat. It’s natural to want to comfort eat when you’re confined indoors, but your exercise levels will be far lower unless you have exercise equipment in the house that you’re going to use everyday.
I’ve deliberately included food here that is easy to prepare and cook just in case you do come down with the virus and aren’t feeling great. Cooking an epic slap up meal is the last thing you’re going to to want to do. If you generally eat more convenience food or would like to make your shop this way then go right ahead. I’ve not included alcohol; I figure most people have it in some form in their house if they really want it or will add it to the list.
After the (non exhaustive) shopping list below you’ll find other tips on how to survive if you’re not able to leave the house.
- Apples (in a paper bag)
- Carrots (in a paper bag)
- Broccoli (if plastic wrapped leave it that way it’ll keep for longer)
- Peppers (in a paper bag)
- Tomatoes (yes I know they shouldn’t be stored in the fridge normally but this will preserve them for longer)
- Cheese (1 block, see also freezer)
- Butter (1 block, see also freezer)
- Yoghurt (see also freezer)
- Milk (see also freezer)
- Salad leaves (held loosely in a paper bag)
- Oven chips
- Milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt can all be frozen to make them last longer than 2 weeks so fit them into your freezer if you can. We go through about 6L of milk a week for reference
- Meat/protein of choice – I’d suggest sausages, chicken breasts, minced beef, chops, all items that are easy to cook
- Sliced pans (just take out a slice or two at a time)
- Baked Beans
- Tomato puree
- Tinned chickpeas/blackbeans/beans of your choice
- Potatoes (keep in a cool dry place in a paper bag away from sunlight)
- Onions (store in the same manner as potatoes)
- Porridge Oats
- Wheat Biscuits
- Plain Flour
- Eggs (about 2 dozen but as many as you think you’ll need, store them in the fridge to make them last longer if you have to)
- Dried Fruit
- Cocoa Powder
- Stock Cubes
- Cooking Oil
Other essential items
- Toilet Paper
- Surface cleaning spray
- Paracetamol/Ibruprofen (in liquid form if you need it for children)
- Dioralyte or Zero tabs for rehydrating when ill
- Washing detergent
- Shampoo/Showergel etc
2 weeks or more is an incredibly long time to be shut off from the world. There’s a lot to think about if you want to be prepared.
- Make sure your prescriptions are up to date, filled, and that you have at least 2 weeks in stock in your house. Speak to your pharmacist if you are unsure about what you might need.
- If you pay your utilities using a pay-as-you-go meter make sure your card is topped up and that you have access to a way to add credit if you need to without leaving the house.
- It’s mad the things you don’t think about needing when it’s so convenient to nip out and grab them; do you have enough batteries/plasters/nappies/sanitary towels?
- Get a free library card (if you haven’t already) and get yourself set up with BorrowBox on your smartphone and/or tablets. You can borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the comfort of your home for free. I guarantee you will go nuts if you watch TV all day.
- Organise your friends and family to facetime/call you at intervals during the day. Think about playing games online with one another to keep in touch face-to-face (without touching faces that’s a no-no).
- Have a routine for emptying the bins out to the wheely bins then sanitising as you go out and back.
- Have a plan for deliveries coming to the door that you may have to sign for.
- If you have kids board games will come in handy along with learning a new skill, maybe origami or knitting.
This might help you/it might not. If you have any suggestions or tips to add to this blogpost please comment below so that everybody can benefit. To those who asked me for this in blogpost format I hope that this answers your questions!
Are you worrying about keeping your kids occupied? Here’s my list of free online resources.
Thanks for the prescription reminder – mine all run out next week. Oops! And if you really are going to get stuck a couple of tins of tomatoes and either cook in sauces, pastes or spice mixes of some sort for when you don’t have the energy to put together the stuff in the spice rack. I got a couple of packets of crisps in for emergencies but the family immediately declared an emergency
Yes great idea. I just rarely buy or use them so it didn’t occur to me. I think you’ll find there are always crisp-emergencies!
Always keep onions in fridge so a learning curve even if isolation not required
Oh yes, actually it can be poisonous to keep your onions in the fridge. Always keep in a cool dry place, not the fridge!
Is that true? Yikes, I always throw my onions into the fridge..
I always have ice pops in the freezer. If my son has a sore throat or a high temp & is verging on dehydration (he can’t take dioralyte), the ice pops help
They can become poisonous. In all fairness though they store so much better in the cool dark place that you may as well free up space in your fridge for other more essential items.
I keep a couple of pouch type for emergencies but they usually finish up going out of date. Though the Green Saffron Spice mixes get used. Really good quality spices better than you find in the shops even buying individually.
Think you have it covered Caitriona so I have nothing to add except that I love the idea of learning a new skill like knitting . Thanks for sharing
Oh definitely learning a new skill will help to break up 2 weeks of monotony. Thanks Catherine!
I did a check on my first aid kit, and realised i had to get burns gel and some paper stitches / steri strips, as if i have a small accident i don’t need to go to local emergency dept.
Great tips there Sue. Thank you!
Thought it was just some anecdotal suggestions that cut onions might breed bacteria in the fridge because of the high sugar content? But cold does convert the starch to sugar and make them go mushy. Not to mention they make everything else in the fridge smell on onions. Onions, tomatoes and eggs are the three things I always store out in a cool visible place. Cool dark cupboard would be better but then I’d forget I had them. Of course an egg tray in the fridge door is the absolutely worst place you can store eggs because all the opening and closing breaks up the structure of the white. So in the fridge they need to be on a shelf in the box. And again I forget them there so I just leave them out on the counter. Mother Earth News ran a comparison a couple of decades ago and decided a cool counter top was the place for eggs – in the fridge they eventually dry out but they’ll literally last a couple of months on a shelf in a cool place.