Here’s A Coronavirus Self-Isolation Checklist

Ashlyn Davis Ashlyn Davis

self-quarantine shopping list

Stay calm, read this and, of course, stay at home as much as possible.

Schools, colleges, offices, bars, and nightclubs have closed as officials rapidly take action to slow the spread of the coronavirus on the West Coast. Naturally, this has caused many to descend into a state of panic. Much of this panic can be witnessed at places such as Costco, where we can all judge each other’s emotional state based on the contents of our baskets. Hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer is the new norm, meanwhile, others are stockpiling essentials like Tostitos. This might get you wondering: what do I really need to survive the next few weeks? Here’s a list of things to cover, just in case you glitch out and land up panic-buying an endless supply of Nutella.

Patience (and possibly a tent)

Overnight, queues have increased exponentially. This is a great test of patience, stamina, focus and determination. If you don’t have a local bodega, a smaller supermarket or access to online shopping, you will need to come prepared. Arm yourself with an extensive podcast playlist (preferably with content related to practicing mindfulness), some type of fold-out seating and protective clothing. Alternatively, you can smother your face in pollen and sneeze once or twice and watch the queue vanish.


In accordance with the guidelines set out by the Center for Preparedness and Response (CDC), the general list is: water, foods that last, and items that don’t require cooking.

Non-perishables and dry foods

Of course, with all the uncertainty, choosing things that will stick around beyond a week is always a good idea. Luckily, most of America is still focused on milk, eggs and La Croix right now. Things like canned vegetables, dry legumes, rice, pasta and oats will do the trick.

Fresh foods

During the first couple of days, you might feel inspired to keep a quarantine food diary on Instagram, so pick up whatever you would normally put in your fancy Acai bowl or breakfast burrito. But once supplies run out and the novelty wears off, you’ll want to make sure you have things like lemons, garlic and other items that will add flavor to your porridge. You may also want to consider buying seeds to grow your own garden.

Frozen foods

Frozen pizza is a balanced meal, right? Frozen foods last longer, as we know, but there’s nothing stopping you from freezing your own meals too. Frozen berries and grapes also make for great treats.


Water is, of course, essential for life. A gallon a day per each person (and pet) is recommended by the CDC. Additionally, buying a water filter could prove useful and possibly disinfectants, if you plan to purify your own water.

NOTE: During a “coronapocolypse” you should always be wary of essentials that remain on shelves.

In the case of water, the public has unanimously agreed that death by Dasani is worse than death by COVID-19. If Dasani ever had any uncertainty regarding the viability of filtered tap water with high salt and microplastic content, the message is staggeringly clear now. One Twitter user has even stated that they “would rather dry up from the inside and turn to dust before drinking Dasani”. Ouch.

Other beverages

Tea is a great way to maintain a sense of calm and may even have additional health benefits. Rasmus Monk, the hyped molecular chef from Denmark, lists Oolong tea as one of his secret ingredients for broths and describes the beverage as having more flavor depth than wine.

You’ll also need to stock up on coffee, so you can stay up until 4am everyday, refreshing Reddit and Twitter feeds for the latest viral news and entertainment. See if your favorite local store is offering online coffee subscriptions that can be delivered to your door.

Naturally, alcoholic beverages will come in handy too. You know, because of hand sanitizer shortages and whatnot.

Condiments and nice things that come in jars

You probably already have sriracha on your list, but don’t forget other essentials like olive oil, spices, Thai curry pastes, herbs and honey. Tom Hanks has been surviving quite well off of Vegemite, so depending on where you stand in the debate, it may be a great way to change things up. Jams are also a great option, you could even make your own by following this class by Chef Massimo Bottura.

Other essentials

Physical health is just as important as mental health. Thus, comfort foods are in fact essential. Whether it’s Haagen-Dazs, Captain Crunch or a barrel of Merlot, make sure you look after your emotional needs too.

Sanitation products

Soap, hand sanitizer, plastic bags, wet wipes, female hygiene supplies, and toilet paper are definitely useful. However, you do not need to hoard the toilet paper, even if you are sh*tting yourself. Natural, multi-purpose items like coconut oil to soothe dry skin and hair or tea tree oil for anti-fungal and anti-bacterial uses are worth stocking up on too.

Medical supplies

If you can get hold of masks, non-latex gloves, paracetamol and oxygen tanks, that would be ideal.  On top of that, having all the standard first aid kit supplies stocked up is always good. Personal prescriptions, contact lenses and other medical supplies you use daily should be collected too.

Pet supplies

Don’t forget to scour the shelves on behalf of your furry friends, who should also have their needs covered. Cat litter, food and toys should be on the list.

On the other hand, if you do not have a pet, you may want to consider getting a rescue pet to keep you company during this trying time.

Baby Supplies

The usual things that keep infants alive and healthy is a good place to start. But above and beyond that: toys! Lots and lots of things to keep them occupied and you sane. Good luck!

Technical supplies and special equipment


It’s an obvious one, but secure internet is vital during these times. For all the Netflix binging, group video calls, online shopping and live concert streaming that’s about to ensue, you will want to make sure you have a stable line and abundant bandwidth.

Sound equipment

If Italy is anything to go by, house parties will take on a completely new shape and form. Gather essentials like disco balls, laser lights and speakers. Alternatively, if you live in with proximity to others and prefer silence, you may want to consider ear muffs.


Home office equipment

Lap trays, cushions and lamps, beer helmets, coffee machines and anything else that may make office hours more comfortable should be considered.

Protective clothing

While factories are scrambling to turn the latest Gucci collection into hazmat suits, many are coming up with improvised alternatives.

“COVID couture”

Alternatively, you can fashion your own protective gear out of anything you can find.

#CORONAVIRUS Halloween Costume 2020 🦠🙌🏻

— Candice Anne Marshall Ⓒ ♫♪♩·.¸¸.·★ (@CAMARSHALLSTAR) March 16, 2020


There is plenty to keep you entertained online, but you may want to think of things that involved more activity.

Makeover supplies

This is a great time to reinvent yourself. Get creative with makeup and crafts and make sure you collect all the tools and supplies to do so.

Arts and crafts

Channel your creativity and discover your inner Picasso. Stock up on pens, paper, blow pens and paint.

Board games

Try stocking up on strategy games to prep yourself for any possible outcomes of the pandemic. Or you can try The Campaign For North Africa which offers around 1,500 hours of “fun”.


While you don’t necessarily need to convert your bathroom into a home spa, small things like essential oils and candles can help you feel rejuvenated.

Community activities

There are all sorts of ways to keep fit and maintain social interaction. Including a Netflix Party, which synchronizes playback and allows group chats. So, ensure you have a mat, workout clothes and a whiteboard (or empty boxes from the store) to communicate with neighbors.








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