Last-Minute Coronavirus Quarantine Supplies: What to Buy (and Where to Get It) When the Stuff You Want Is Sold Out

by | Mar 9, 2020 | Emergency Preparedness, Experts | 18 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper. 

    Do you have the horrible feeling you may have waited too long to purchase supplies for the possibility of quarantine due to the Covid-19 outbreak sweeping the United States? While it’s true that shelves across the nation are bare in some departments, there are still options.

    In this article, I’ll suggest some last-minute emergency supplies you can purchase in place of the ones you wanted if you’ve waited too late to shop. To do this, you may have to cast away your plans of being organic and healthful, and you may not get the exact household products you want. You’re stuck with what’s left at this point. So please don’t write to me, angry and horrified because I suggested conventional crackers instead of chia seed ones that were ground by the hardened lava of a Chilean volcano, okay?

    If you’re looking for general information about quarantines, go read this article. For detailed information on general preparedness, check out this book.

    Don’t panic – you can still do this. Remember that those of us who are well-prepared all started somewhere – and most likely the place we started was where you are right now: realizing at the last minute we didn’t have what we needed.

    These are the suggestions I would use myself to put together last-minute emergency supplies.

    Some general advice

    Don’t be married to the idea of getting everything at one store. Most folks are flocking to Walmart but there are so many other stores out there where you can purchase what you need. Consider the following for some of your supplies.

    • Office supply stores
    • Dollar stores
    • Discount stores
    • Large pharmacies
    • Grocery stores (for things other than groceries)
    • Target
    • Big Lots
    • Hardware stores

    Think outside the Walmart box when prepping for an emergency.

    What to buy when the store is out of water

    Here’s a photo of the water aisle at a Walmart near where my daughter lives.

    There are lots of other options if the water aisle looks like this. They may not be as healthy but they’ll keep you from dying of dehydration.

    • Sports drinks (like Gatorade)
    • Flavored or sparkling water
    • Juice boxes or individual bottles
    • Juice
    • Soda pop (not too much though because that can be dehydrating instead of replenishing)
    • Vegetable juice
    • Premade iced tea

    A good trick here is to go to the aisle where people get individually packaged stuff for their kids’ lunches. You’ll find all sorts of beverage pouches and plastic bottles of drinks here.

    I warned you – not the healthiest, but healthy is no longer available. Trust me when I tell you it will be far better than having nothing available to drink. Oh – and don’t forget the wine. It won’t really rehydrate you, but you won’t care as much that you don’t have water.

    Finally, use containers. You still have running water, right? Use vessels you already have and/or buy containers, wash them, and fill them up. No one is going to be sold out of containers unless you specifically look for “Water Containers.” Grab mason jars, pitchers, canisters, etc. Just make sure they’re food-safe and you’re good.

    What to buy when the store is out of those meals in a box

    Everyone seems to be looking for things like macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, and ramen noodles. If this is something you desire for your stockpile, here are some options. (Some of these are healthier than the original.)

    • Get plain pasta and cheese powder to DIY your mac and cheese
    • Get powdered milk to use for when you run out of regular refrigerator milk
    • Instead of ramen, get angel hair pasta, cook as directed, and add some soy sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder
    • In place of Hamburger Helper and that type of thing, use regular pasta or rice, a few spices (like an Italian spice blend) and a half a jar of marinara sauce. For a creamy version, go with garlic powder, onion powder, and cream of mushroom soup concentrate.

    All of these options are very simple to make.

    What to buy when the store is out of rice

    Rice seems to be a big seller and for good reason. It’s cheap and it can really extend a meal. When I stopped by Walmart to look at what was low, they were down to only the teeny tiny bags of rice.

    • Buy the teeny tiny bags – yes, they’re much more expensive but better than no rice at all.
    • Order large bags from Amazon – there’s still plenty of rice there. This page is all bags of rice that are 15 pounds or greater in size. If you choose a product that is part of Amazon Prime, you’ll probably have it faster. Before ordering, look at the estimated date of arrival and try to find one that will be to you in less than a week.
    • Get a different grain like pasta, quinoa, amaranth, or barley.

    What to buy when the store is out of canned food

    The things that tend to be gone first are items like canned pasta meals, soups, and chili. That makes sense because they’re pretty reasonable meals when heated up slightly, and can even be eaten cold out of the can in a worst-case scenario.  If your desired canned goods are not available, look to these items:

    • Canned baked beans (tasty right out of the can at room temp
    • Canned refried beans
    • Canned V-8 and a can of mixed vegetables (turn that into soup)
    • Canned potatoes (Mash them up or put them on the grill)
    • Canned fish

    Try a different store – Walmart isn’t the only game in town. I had fantastic luck at Aldi getting my kids well-supplied. I was able to get them entire cases of canned fruits and veggies.

    Or move away from the regular canned goods and see what they’ve got over on the International Food aisle:

    • Noodle bowls that just need boiling water
    • Soup that may not be as familiar
    • Small cans of salsa or enchilada sauce

    Look in other areas for shelf-stable food.

    • Pudding
    • Applesauce
    • Pouches of precooked rice (some have beans and other vegetables mixed in)
    • Peanut butter
    • Breakfast cereal
    • Granola bars
    • Jerky
    • Candy
    • Veggie chips
    • Potato chips
    • Pre-popped popcorn
    • Fruit cups
    • That squirty yogurt you get in pouches (the shelf-stable kind, not the refrigerated kind)
    • Vienna sausages
    • Pre-cooked bacon

    You get the idea. Go out there and be creative. Scan every aisle to look for things that won’t spoil that your family will eat. I know whenever I’ve grabbed this kind of stuff, my girls have been thrilled since we don’t usually keep junk food in the house.

    What to buy when the store is out of toilet paper

    Toilet paper has been a biggie. There are videos online of people literally coming to blows over TP to wipe their behinds. If your store is out of toilet paper, check out the following options.

    • Baby wipes or “flushable” wipes (regardless of what the package says, do not flush these – you won’t be able to get a plumber to your house if you’re quarantined.)
    • Paper towels – not soft but it will get your heinie clean – also do not flush
    • Kleenex – pro-tip – do not get the ones infused with Vicks. Even the cheapest facial tissues out there will be a lot more expensive than toilet paper but it’s better than nothing.
    • Order from Amazon. They still have tons and tons of TP. I just ordered this which will arrive on Monday.
    • Go to an office supply store or a janitorial warehouse
    • If you simply cannot manage to acquire toilet paper, you’re going to have to use cloth. Treat it like you would a cloth diaper and have a bucket by the toilet for soaking so that your homemade wipes come clean easily. Here’s an article about it.

    Think creatively for bum-wiping. Toilet paper is a relatively new, albeit wonderful, invention.

    What to get when the store is out of bleach and cleaning supplies

    Lots of stores seem to be running low on bleach, Lysol, and cleaning wipes.

    • You can make bleach from pool shock (calcium hypochlorite). Get pool shock at your local swimming pool and jacuzzi store and be sure to select one that doesn’t have additions like algaecide, or here on Amazon.  Here are instructions on how to make bleach from pool shock.
    • Hit up your local office supply store like Staples or Business Depot for cleaning supplies. They’ll be more expensive than Walmart but you may be able to find what you need.
    • Try the hardware store, grocery store, or dollar store for cleaning supplies.
    • Again, Amazon may have what you need for cleaners and wipes.

    Think creatively – all sorts of stores sell cleaning products.

    What to get when the store is out of over-the-counter medications

    If the first store you visit is out of OTC meds that you want to have on hand, you still have some options.

    • Visit pharmacies.
    • Most grocery stores have a pharmacy section.
    • You can order them on Amazon for both adults and children.
    • The dollar store carries some OTC meds in smaller packages. You might also find them at places like Dollar General and Family Dollar.

    If you are really, truly desperate, truck stops and gas stations have small, expensive single packs of a lot of different medications.

    Don’t forget something to do

    If your family is cooped up in quarantine for weeks, you’re going to need something to do. Grab some stuff that the kids haven’t seen before, like new toys, games, or puzzles. Craft supplies might be fun – you may have time to learn that new skill you’ve been thinking about. Also, hit up the used book store or Goodwill and grab yourself a quarantine library. Get reading material for the whole family.

    Remember that even in the house, you’ll want to stay active. It isn’t healthy physically or mentally to sit there watching Netflix 20 hours a day. Run up and down your stairs, work on a home project (you can finally declutter that storage room), or do some exercise videos with the family.

    When the store is out of last-minute emergency supplies you wanted

    Don’t despair if you can’t the last-minute emergency supplies you wanted. It just means you’re going to have to be flexible and creative. And don’t let people who accuse you of panic-buying or being “selfish” get you down. Sure, you waited later than is ideal but you are doing the best you can, and I commend you for doing so. Ignore the jerks – most of us are really glad you’re here and you’re trying.

    And when this crisis is over, think long and hard about the things you wished you would have had. Make yourself a list and start buying these items and by the time the next disaster rolls around, you’ll be much further ahead.


    Daisy Luther is the author of the book Be Ready for Anything: How to Survive Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Pandemics, Mass Shootings, Nuclear Disasters, and Other Life-Threatening Events. You want to be prepared for whatever emergencies come your way. While prepping for a dozen different disasters may sound like a daunting task, there’s good news.

    Preparing for a wide variety of disasters requires the same basic supplies as preparing for one or two. For each event, there will be some special steps, unique information, and precautions you need to take, along with a few additional supplies, but your essentials will be the same.


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      1. Where I live we are likely a couple weeks or so from mandatory school closings (just my guess). Combine parents working from home with bored children, and I don’t think the Internet can handle the load.

        Expect the Internet to have significant outages. The Internet may not be a reliable form of entertainment.

        • ^^^this^^^
          Trust me when I tell you, it wont go “down” per se, but you can expect to see the tremendous load from gaming and streaming services making life tough for telecommuters and those trying to keep critical infrastructure going remotely.

          If that happens, expect severe bandwidth throttling, outages of certain services (PSN, Netflix, and the like), etc.

          the internet (background network to the web) will be fine. Just don’t expect a lot of the “fluffier” web services to remain stable.

          • for gosh sakes, I’ve been here forever, despite recently returning, and NOTHING I post is inflammatory, yet I’m constantly auto-moderated. can this be fixed? No point in having a conversation that may or may not ever be seen….

        • PTPO, how you been? I’ve got everything I need here at the BOL. If the internet goes I still have shortwave radio for backup. I doubt if that virus gets anywhere near me but I’m very well prepped just in case. I sure miss chatting with all the others.

        • They follow me around, like the cat and dog, and anything can be made into a toy or a science experiment.

      2. Mac,
        I’m seeing a lot of cognitive Dissonance over Coronavirus.

        Time to dust off some of those old articles, they could help people. ?

      3. Already have 5 years of food, water filters, 300 gallons of water stored, beans, rice, corn meal, wheat etc.

        I personally think it’s a bit to late to get the #10 cans I have bought over the years but I think Honeyville Farms may have some TVP left. You can still can much of the produce that Costco and other box store have in their freezer. You can also trade/barter your canned food if it comes to that. Tampons and toilet paper will be great bartering items to. Oh don’t forget about seeds. Heirloom seeds are readily available.

      4. The other day I swung by for my dozenth prep run, just sort of keeping it going, lots of pop, other cleaning supplies, spices, etc.

        Found the very last lysol in the whole store in the most unexpected place. 1 oz travel size in the beauty makeup isle.

        We’re not going to run out of tp and lysol, it’s just temporary lulls. What is likely to run out is vitamin C, iodine, collodial silver, ingredients in many soda pops, solid goods, textiles, and regular medical supplies.

        We found non stop supplies at the pharmacy for flue related items after they were gone at costco for weeks.

        IW AJ reported today that the federal agencies tried to sweep out all the atomic iodine just today. He reported that wal mart tried to place an order for 300m bottles of nano silver. Things that Iwarriors have had anyways just because.

        Seeking more seeds, full functional self contained solar system, and going to pick up more propure and berkey gravity filters.

        Glad I saved all the old Berkey carbon filters for the past decade. Have a dozen of those. Wait and see what happens.

        My basement is cleaner than ever and I have about a years worth of food. So really that’s 3 months if the neighbors rush over for some. I told all of them, I bought enough for you so just be ready to trade me real gold and real silver 1 oz coins and I’m ready to trade. The day later, I observed them coming home with a lot of groceries. Mission accomplished.

      5. Posted this same comment in another shtf thread, but why not also put it here, inspired and important.

        Stop asking other people to save you. It’s up to We the People now. Back it up or step down and take what’s coming to you.

        China is a Shole, and they don’t even have running water in many toilets. People dip into sewage supplies to skim the oil floating on top and use that for their cornerstore market bakery deals. Hygiene will save us, it’s the same reason why we wiped out disease so long ago, hygiene. It was not the vaccines, it was running water, hygiene, and soap.

        Come to think of it, even though masks were sold out at harbor freight, disposable latex gloves were not. Going to pick up a few hundred of those, why not.

        People need to learn the lesson they have refused to learn this entire time; The purpose of the government is to protect liberties, and that is the government’s only duty, to protect liberty. Everyone calling for the government to do something, is DOING IT WRONG.

        Get on the horn and get out your supplies and planning kits. Find a way to produce a mask and gloves and the medicines you need right now. Betcha wished you knew a chemist, paper pro, and latex person right now. A mask is nothing more than properly assimlated mashed paper and other fiber pulp. A latex glove is nothing more than some sort of epoxy item with additives to make it stretchable and durable, some plasticiser of sorts. The medicines are nothing more than a certain assimilation of chemicals.

        So, who’s got the manufacturing plans and specs for these supposedly undersupplied items? Those plans and specs are right now infinitely more valuable than the products themselves.

        “F the G ride, we want the machines that are making them!” Take the power back! Take it back! If you’re bowing down, let me do the cutting. Just victims of the in house drive by, when they say jump you say how high.

        • Most of these products are semi-synthetic, meaning that natural materials have been used as the feedstock. Any tinkering which results in superior qualities is legitimate, intellectual property and should be protected.

      6. Ok This corna isn’t anything new. Its similar almost identical to a condition Horses get. called the strangles. No treatment for equine with the strangles. Horses get over the strangles or die from it.

        • covid19- viral infection of the lungs
          strangles- bacterial infection of the lymph nodes.

          not even REMOTELY similar

          • Strangles is the name of a syndrome, not a pathogen.

            Also, viruses can use bacteria as the vector.

      7. I have had my preps for decades. When this is over, we all need to start upping the PM game. Trump is right that social security and Medicare will be cut. He is also right that the virus is a hoax. But better safe than sorry.

      8. Bought the last 4 #10 cans of freeze dried Monterrey cheese from Honeyville Farms last night. They then raised their prices on the other types of cheeses they sale. Having tons of beans I figure a good burrito with cheese now and again isn’t a bad idea. Good luck out there, shit may get bad if food supplies slow or get cut.

      9. Suddenly during the height of the coronavirus the government is demandng to come inside people’s homes to change water meters! Water meters can be placed on outdoor walls as well as indoor walls, just like electric and gas meters! This is just a fascist 4th amendment rights abuse! I told them that they have to learn how to start respecting people’s 4th amendment rights and find another way to do this, like placing it outside!

        I do not want to risk endangering my life and property by allowing a stranger into my home! The government and multiple corporations were directly involved in the 9/11 atracks, proving that they are either terrorists, or aiders and abetters of terrorists in the very least, and police extrajudicially murder at least 1,000 people a year, THAT WE KNOW OF and usually without any conviction for cold blooded murder!

        So sick of living in a country run by terrorists, theives, and psychopaths!

      10. Suddenly during the height of the coronavirus the government is demandng to come inside people’s homes to change water meters! Water meters can be placed on outdoor walls as well as indoor walls, just like electric and gas meters! This is just a fascist 4th amendment rights abuse! I told them that they have to learn how to start respecting people’s 4th amendment rights and find another way to do this, like placing it outside!

        I do not want to risk endangering my life and property by allowing a stranger into my home! The government and multiple corporations were directly involved in the 9/11 atracks, proving that they are either terrorists, or aiders and abetters of terrorists in the very least, and police extrajudicially murder at least 1,000 people a year, THAT WE KNOW OF and usually without any conviction for cold blooded murder!

        So sick of living in a country run by murderers, terrorists, theives, and psychopaths!

        It’s not me, it’s them! I’m right, they’re wrong! All of the evidence proves it!

        • I met some people that suggested that they themselves are worthy of being my as well as other people’s higher powers and these individuals are of the opion that I am the one with an attitude problem, while remaining totally oblivious to the largest overblown egos possible – beleivng that they are gods that are worthy of being worshipped – which is about as sacreligous as it can possibly get in a direct and blatant violation of the first commandment. The government and Silicon Valley have the same attitude.

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