Items people should be hoarding instead of toilet paper

Got enough TP on hand in case of coronavirus quarantine? Chances are, you probably do, since you probably don’t need quite as much as you might think. Whew, that’s a relief! Now you can turn your efforts to stockpiling other necessary items — hopefully before everybody else also realizes that they should be hoarding those same things. While it’s always sensible to have a decent supply of non-perishables on hand in case of any emergency, make sure you’re choosing foods that you’re actually going to want to eat. Also be sure to have your own favorite snacks on hand, since social distancing can be enough of a bummer without having to subsist solely on canned tuna, Spam, dried fruit, and other typical doomsday bunker fare. 

While the typical “holy trinity” of disaster-induced panic-buying is said to consist of eggs, milk, and bread, none of these is really what you call non-perishable, so not suited for hoarding. Also, you may not feel the need for quite so much French toast. If you want to make sure you’ve got the basics covered, however — sanitation, stimulation, and relaxation — then your own holy trinity of pandemic preparedness might be focused on the following items: soap, coffee and/or tea, and liquor.

Stock up on soap

Let everybody else slug it out over the last bottle of hand sanitizer, assuming it didn’t already sell on eBay last week for $100. You need not worry, as long as you’ve got plenty of soap — bar or liquid, either works. The Centers for Disease Control recommends hand washing over hand sanitizer use since soap and water are more effective than alcohol at removing all types of germs and bacteria from hands. Quick, before everybody else catches on, run out and grab a few bars. Or bottles, if liquid soap is your preference. 

You shouldn’t need to corner the market on either type of soap, though. Office supply company Richter estimates that an average-sized bottle of liquid soap should provide 178 hand washes, while according to a study detailed in Scientific American, it takes about .35 grams of bar soap to clean your hands. With the average bar of soap coming in at 3.75 ounces, this works out to about 303 hand washes per bar. Even if you’re as obsessive cautious as the medical professionals who told Time that they washed their hands 75 to 100 times per day, a four-pack of bar soap or six to eight bottles of the liquid stuff should see you through a two-week quarantine. If you’re not washing quite so often, then you might be able to get by with just one or two bars or bottles.

Don't forget coffee and tea

While you’ll obviously want to have a supply of non-perishable food on hand in case of lockdown (heck, even perishable food — that’s what the refrigerator’s for), remember your daily dose of caffeine as well. If you’re used to getting your morning pick-me-up from Starbucks, be aware that the chain has suspended dining in and gone to a quick pickup or drive-through service model for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, and Dunkin’ and Tim Hortons have gone the same route. While in theory this means that yes, you can still get that venti half caf soy caramel macchiato or Dunkaccino to go, do you really want to start your day in a mile-long car line?

Best make sure you’ve got coffee or tea of your own on hand, as well as any necessary equipment for making these: coffee machine, filters, teakettle, etc. Don’t forget your preferred creamers and sweetener, either — though you might be out of luck if you’re an oat milk fan, since everybody’s been hoarding that stuff, too.

Maybe get some booze

While several states including Ohio, Illinois, California, and Massachusetts have announced they’ll be closing down all bars for the duration (via CNN), so far only the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has announced plans to close down a number of state-run liquor stores. Still, these things tend to spark chain reactions… and the Dayton Daily News out of neighboring Ohio reports that liquor stores in that city are starting to see lines out the door. While this may be more of a response to the Ohio bar closures than to Pennsylvania’s liquor store shutdown, still, these closures seem to have a domino effect. 

If you think you’re going to need a drink or two to get you through this whole pandemic panic, not to mention keep yourself entertained during the long days of social distancing that may lie ahead… well, best swing by the liquor store sooner than later. Once it’s too late… well, booze is one thing it’s kind of difficult to DIY, at least without putting yourself in more danger than the virus will.

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