Stockpiling During lockdown – What Do You Really Need?

Posted on  June 1, 2020, Edited by Jason, Category  

Stockpiling and prepping are actions often associated with a pandemic, quarantine, lockdown or highly unpredictable situation you have no control over. Stockpiling is, similarly to prepping, the act of accumulating a large stock of goods or materials, and usually takes place before an emergency situation by means of preparing for it.

But the main drive behind stockpiling and prepping is often fear. And the one thing that people do when they fear they may run out of essential goods is panic-buy.

Panic-Buying and How to Avoid It

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the CDC recommended having a two-week supply of food and knowing how to get food delivered if necessary. Naturally, panic-buying was already a thing in countries like the USA and Australia, and it seemed that these people, who were overstocking on goods like toilet paper, were not going to change their minds any time soon.

As it is easy to get caught up in the panic yourself, you might want to keep a distance from such notions. Panic-buying and hoarding can be avoided if you avoid being influenced by others and learn to exercise self-control. Some useful steps include the following: 

Tip #1: Think about others when you go to the grocery store.

Then next time you enter a grocery store, look around you. What kind of people do you see? Are they, potentially, in a more vulnerable state than you are (elderly, disabled, etc)? If they aren’t, they may very well be suffering on the inside, dealing with anxiety and panic due to the situation, or even a chronic emotional condition. As soon as you begin to sympathize with these people, you may begin feeling a little different about how much you want to buy. 

Tip #2: Think about what example you are setting when you overbuy.

Do you really want to turn into one of those people who get into a fight over an extra 6-roll pack of toilet paper, then end up having their face all over the news or YouTube and being made fun of? I didn’t think so. If you’re not a maniac hoarder, then don’t act like one. This isn’t the kind of example you want to set or be known by.

Tips #3: Think critically rather than emotionally.

If you go by your emotional impulses and nothing else, you are bound to let fear get to you as soon as you turn on the TV and hear about rising pandemic numbers. As a social being, you will also get affected by your friends and the people that surround you, following their example and splurging on whatever it is they’re panic-buying (why do you think people started stockpiling on toilet paper during the Covid-19 pandemic? Was there any rational thinking behind it, do you think?). BUT if you can pause for a moment and think critically, you will most likely realize that fear will get you nowhere, and thus avoid panic-buying.

Tip #4: Help others who cannot stockpile.

Sometimes helping others who are in more need of help than we are gives us a sense of purpose and lifts the weight of our own perceived problems off of us. It also gives us a good reality check by illustrating what it really looks like to be in need. Delivering groceries to a disabled neighbor or putting in an online grocery order for your elderly parent who does not know the first thing about computers are great, soul-fulfilling ideas to implement during uncertain times.

Tip #5: Relax and remind yourself that this is only temporary.

Take a few deep breaths, hold, then exhale for double the amount of time it took to inhale them. Now affirm to yourself: “This is only temporary. It will pass”. And there you have it – a quick and easy way to calm yourself down and rewire your brain for positivity rather than negativity!

How to Stockpile Sensibly for a Lockdown

Whether your country is shortly going into strict lockdown or you want to be prepared for it just in case it does (or you can’t get to the shops) or you are for whatever reason going to be self-isolated during this period, it is advised you at least stockpile on what is absolutely necessary. 

To stockpile for whatever duration, you will have to first make some calculations:

  • How many members are in your family?
  • What are their diets like?
  • What can everyone eat?
  • What can everyone live without for a while?
  • If you are on your own, can you get food and other necessities delivered to you?
  • What are your funds like? Are you relying on some kind of income?
  • If you are low on funds, can you ask for help, donations or government support?
  • What can you comfortable afford for a week, 2 weeks, and a month?

Based on your answers and calculations, you should be able to come up with:

  • The essentials you need and their approximate quantity.
  •  The things you don’t need.
  • Your budget.

What to Stockpile On

I am providing a guide of the things you should sensibly stockpile on for a month without referring to numbers or quantities, but rather the things that I believe are absolutely necessary to have in your home. Based on the previous question-style guidelines, you should be able to work out the quantities you need. Should you need to stockpile for more than a month, simply multiply those numbers accordingly (however, there must be a really severe reason for needing to stockpile on goods for that long).

Pantry essentials

  • Cooking oil whatever you like to cook and dress salads with –  consider using an air fryer with rotisserie as they don't require as much oil.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cereal (opt for cheaper brands)
  • Rice (nothing fancy)
  • Pasta (nothing fancy)
  • Any kind of canned foods with a long shelf life (tomatoes, beans, ready meals, etc).
Dairy food

Fresh foods

You may have to do without fresh food during lockdown or quarantine. But if you can access it, focus on purchasing the following:

  • Fresh fruits (but only if they can be bought or delivered to you as fresh as possible). Tinned or dried fruits are also an option.
  • Meat and/or poultry (enough for your monthly dishes, but try to cut down on overconsumption).
  • Fish (aim for at least one fish-based meal per week to strengthen your immune system). You can also opt for frozen or tinned fish.
  • Milk
  • Juice (opt for anything fortified with protein or vitamins as you may be on nutrients during lockdown).


  • Toilet paper (to avoid overstocking, make sure it’s thick and can go a long way)
  • Toothpaste
  • Waste bags

Household items

  • Kitchen towel paper (these can be used for cleaning but can also substitute napkins and tissue paper – a great choice to avoid buying too many products).
  • Washing detergent (staying indoors will not require you needing to wear a fresh set of clothes each day, so only wash your outdoor clothes as and when necessary).
  • Dishwashing liquid (or the equivalent of dishwasher tablets). You can completely avoid this purchase if you’re on a low budget, by mixing warm water with vinegar to wash your dishes.
  • Waste bags
  • Assuming you do not own Tupperware, some aluminum foil or other storage wrap paper could be essential.

Pet food (1 pet)

  • Buy a month’s worth of sizeable portions of pet food for your pet (depending on its age), either dry or tinned. You might want to opt for the cheaper option here (ie dry food) or whatever goes a long way.
  • Any leftovers you might be able to feed your pet (if appropriate and legal).
  • Several portions of pet food that can be frozen, as a backup.
Fresh foods

Some Thoughts on Cooking and Eating

Let’s admit it – no one wants to cook every day (which is why the numbers I have stated above do not necessarily apply for daily cooking). You can, by all means, order takeaway depending on your budget (but please don’t overdo it). Some other tips to avoid daily cooking include:

  • Cook a larger meal to last you more than a day.
  • For exceptionally large meals, save some in the deep freezer.
  •  If you’re stocked up on tinned or premade food, don’t eat it daily! Opt for a premade or tinned meal one day, then a properly cooked meal for the next two days, and so on.
  • Starches go a long way, so make sure you’re eating rice, pasta or potatoes 2-4 times a week.
  • Legumes also go a long way. As they are quite fulfilling due to their high fiber content, a large casserole can last you 2 to even 4 days!
  • Vegetables and fruits can be on the pricy side or simply hard to get fresh, so I recommend eating whole pieces of veg and fruit raw or cooked without having to mash them into a puree, soup, sauce, juice or smoothie (you would just need too many!). 
  • Precut salads are a good idea, especially if you can purchase them weekly.
  • Make exceptions where you can. Love baked salmon or homemade lasagna? Well, you might have to do without if your wallet can’t handle it. Buy and cook foods that don’t cost the earth and don’t be too picky!
  • Even if you have plenty of time to show off your cooking skills, remember, it’s a lockdown! It’s not a fancy dinner party or an Instagram-worthy time in history. Stay at home, stay safe, and keep your meals as simple and nutritious as possible.


Stockpiling sensibly is highly advised if you are to survive a lockdown or quarantine period. It is recommended you stockpile for a month based on absolutely necessary goods while addressing your own specific needs. There are various ways to buy smart, save money and cook sensibly on a low budget.

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