How to Prepare for Another Round of Stay-at-Home Orders

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Lockdown Revisited

With COVID-19 cases surging around the country once again and the United States leading globally in total number of cases (more than 4 million at last count, according to Johns Hopkins University), it seems a second round of lockdowns, at least in some states, may be on the horizon. To avoid another nationwide run on toilet paper, it may be prudent to begin preparing ahead of time. Here are some of the ways Americans across the country say they're gearing up for yet another stretch of self-isolation, including what they're stockpiling this time (besides face masks and Lysol).

Related: 15 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Americans' Daily Lives

Woman Working from Home on Mobile Phone with Laptop, Holding Her Baby in Home Office
Drazen Zigic/istockphoto

A Game Plan

Begin creating a game plan now, says Brittany Kline, frugal mom and co-founder of the personal finance blog The Savvy Couple. "Talk to your employers about what your options are. ... Talk to your parents or close relatives if you need help with child care." 

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Medicines of all kinds — not just for treating COVID symptoms — are crucial to have on hand for both adults and children, Kline says. Why? "In the fall, not only will we be worried about COVID-19, but also the seasonal flu, seasonal cold, pink eye, stomach viruses, and so many more," she says. "The last thing we want is to have to run out to store for another medical reason and the medicine be wiped out. Be prepared and have them on hand."

Related: 15 Simple Ways to Fend Off Colds and Flu

freezer meal ingredients

Freezer Meal Ingredients

To cut down on trips to the grocery store during lockdown and avoid overconsumption of less healthy packaged or frozen foods, stock up now on the ingredients for homemade freezer meals, says Brian Martucci of Money Crashers. These are dishes you've made from scratch that can simply be reheated at a later date, such as when you're stuck at home and swamped with other tasks.

Related: 20 Comfort Food Recipes That Freeze Well

pantry items

Shelf-Stable Pantry Items

In addition to filling your freezer, be sure to stock your pantry in advance, says Erin Hendrickson, a Tennessee-based registered dietitian focused on reducing food waste and saving money. "Prepare for an extended quarantine by stocking up on healthy, shelf-stable pantry items. My top choices include canned meats, like tuna or salmon, which are versatile, nutritious, and budget-friendly," says Hendrickson, creator of  No Waste Nutrition. "Use them in salads, casseroles, pasta, sandwiches, or make a large batch of fish cakes and freeze them for later."

Related: 20 Restaurant-Worthy Twists on Boring Pantry Staples

whole wheat flour
books in a home office


If you want to set yourself up for good behavior while in lockdown (rather than spending all your time on your phone), then find some good books now, suggests Florida-based Donny Gamble of Retirement Investments. "Purchase four or five books you've always wanted to read and have them ready for the next lockdown," Gamble says.

board games
Laundry Detergent

Laundry Detergent

Gamble suggests buying plenty of laundry detergent while we can all still visit grocery stores. "It's not something you want to stock up when the stores are packed and everyone is in a panic, so buy an extra few bottles now," he says. It'll come in handy for washing those cloth masks, which experts recommend after every use.

Related: How to Go as Long as Possible Before Doing Laundry

art supplies

Art Supplies

With the kids facing long, dull days cooped up at home, now is the time to purchase plenty of crayons, markers, construction paper, and more, says California-based Annie Brown, creator of Savvy Honey, a website focused on do-it-yourself projects and money-saving tips. "Not only are art supplies great for keeping your kids busy, but they're also great stress busters, as well."

Related: How School Shopping Will Be Different This Year

boy doing school work at home

A Home-Based Classroom

If you didn't create a dedicated space for schoolwork when COVID first shut down schools, now may be a good time, Brown says. Several big school districts across the nation have already announced that school will start online in the fall. "Now the home is becoming a full-on classroom," she says. "Think about how you can either create a space or improve on an existing workspace for your child. This may include buying supplies that the school typically provides, purchasing a whiteboard to help you explain concepts, or purchasing organization and storage products, or even bulletin boards and stickers."

Related: What a Teacher Wants You to Know About Homeschooling

woman assisting child with special needs
SDI Productions/istockphoto


Another way to begin preparing for at-home learning this fall — if you have the means — is to start recruiting a tutor who can guide your children through their lessons and homework each day, says Martucci of Money Crashers. "For parents of elementary school kids who need more hands-on support for at-home learning, an in-home tutor might be the way to go," he says. "Older kids might need less supervision from hour to hour, especially if their school's distance learning process is on point, but parents should still expect higher-than-usual amounts of distraction while working from home."

grandfather and girl playing basketball outside

Physical Preparation

In addition to all the things you need to buy and the support you need to line up, be sure to prepare yourself physically, as well, for what lies ahead, says Lynell Ross, founder and managing editor of Zivadream, an education advocacy website focused on helping people improve their lives. "Getting physically prepared means eating well, exercising, sleeping well, and taking care of your overall health," she says. "When you take care of yourself physically, you will be better able to face new demands and you will have a stronger immune system, which will keep you safer than if you are run down."

Related: 18 Fitness Challenges to Keep Pace (and Your Distance) During the Pandemic

woman smiling listing to music at home with cat

Mental Preparation

Along with getting your body in shape, it's also a good idea to get your mind in shape for the challenges that come with self-isolation. "When we're mentally prepared for a challenge, we can meet it with strength, courage, and grace," Ross says. "Rather than feeling afraid, frustrated, and disappointed, those who have the mindset that 'We must do whatever we can to stay safe, well, and keep going even with all the new changes' will do the best."

Related: 13 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health During a Pandemic