by Daisy Luther
Author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and the Build a Better Pantry on a Budget online course
If the level of fear being incited by the media and the White House are any indication, it may not be long before the United States mandates another lockdown, complete with business closures, lay0ffs, and the further destruction of the economy.
If you look at the patterns that preceded the first lockdown, we’re seeing almost identical intensity in the warnings, mask mandates, and other restrictions that led up to it. This article isn’t about whether or not this is right or wrong. It’s about getting prepared before the general public empties the shelves.
I strongly advise you to get prepped right now and make a plan on how you intend to handle it if this comes to pass. This warning is not a prediction. It’s a comparative analysis of the circumstances surrounding previous lockdowns. By examining patterns, you can often deduce what’s coming next.
Use what you’ve learned.
This isn’t our first rodeo, or even our second. That means we have some experience under our belts that can help us be even better prepared if another round of restrictions come to pass. I’ve written about this when helping folks get prepared for the Second Wave, and much of the same information applies. If any of the following appears familiar, that’s why.
Think about what you’ve learned and ask yourself the following questions.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
It’s easy to play quarterback after the game is done, but this exercise isn’t about beating yourself up. It’s about learning from your experience.
- Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
- What food did you run out of the fastest?
- Were there non-food supplies you didn’t think to buy?
- Was there anything that broke and you didn’t have the necessary tools or supplies to repair it?
- About what item did you think, “Dang, I wish I had XXXXXX?”
- Were there people who hunkered down with you who made things difficult or unpleasant? How can you make it better with those folks in the future? And will you even want them to come over next time?
- Are there things you could have prepared to keep your kids or other family members more content?
Ask yourself these questions while you’ve got some time to sit and contemplate the lockdown. The things you wish you’d done differently are going to be very important things to address for the future.
What are the things you were satisfied with?
Luckily, we all probably had more successes than failures in this lockdown, so think about the successes. Here are a few examples of some things that may have worked well for you.
- You had enough in your emergency fund to cover any shortfalls.
- You were able to make tasty, nutritious, and filling meals from your supplies.
- You didn’t need to leave the house for X amount of time for groceries.
- You and your family bonded and enjoyed spending this time together.
- You discovered your group worked really well together.
- You did something productive with your time at home.
So for you, what were the things that worked and how can you replicate those things in the future?
Make some notes.
Go over the two lists you’ve made and start a third list of the things you either need to buy or need to do before the next time there’s a lockdown. Using the examples above:
- Get more ingredients for favorite meals.
- Restock your pantry so you can hunker down for a couple of months.
- Get a larger quantity of the things you ran out of first.
- Get any needed tools and repair materials.
- Grab multiples of the things you may have forgotten like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, etc.
- Get some things to stash away for future entertainment purposes.
- Figure out how to extricate yourself from partnerships that didn’t work.
- For partnerships that did work, make sure they’re on the same page for next time around.
- Do an inventory of supplies so you can replenish the things you used.
This is something that will take longer than 15-20 minutes at the kitchen table. Really spend some time being thorough with regard to this self-analysis.
Look at your budget.
Millions of Americans saw dramatic changes in their incomes over the past months. This is an important factor in future preparations.
If you’re just barely managing to pay your bills, you may have difficulty stocking up for Round 2. If this is the case, you’ll need to take a close look at your budget.
- Be sure to take advantage of whatever the government is offering in the way of financial assistance.
- Talk to your creditors and see if they’ll work with you.
- Try a month of flat-broke eating. to put aside some cash for stockpiling.
- Add just a few extra things per week. (These are the things I buy every time I go shopping.)
- Don’t spend frivolously. I know it feels like we just got out of prison. However, if you go and spend hundreds of dollars eating at restaurants, you’re going to regret it when the next lockdown rolls around and you don’t have enough supplies.
- See if there are any fixed expenses you can cut.
This is the time to reduce your output as much as possible so you can replenish your home for the future.
What should you get for the next lockdown?
Aside from the things you’ve determined above that you need, there are some other things you may want to get for the second wave of lockdowns. Think about the things that ran out first and the things that had purchase limits. when you see them back on shelves, do some stocking up:
- Toilet paper (the gold bars of the coronavirus pandemic! I recently subscribed to Who Gives a Crap, a TP delivery company. It isn’t the cheapest toilet paper around, but they delivered consistently throughout the first lockdown when you could only find those tiny little 4-packs.)
- Paper towels
- Lysol wipes
- Paper plates
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant cleaners
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Canned goods
- Dry foods like pasta and rice
- Cough medicine with an expectorant
- Cold and flu medicine
- Vitamin C
If you store them properly, all of these items will serve you well in the future even if this article is totally wrong and there is never another lockdown. They’ll help you to be ready for all manner of emergencies, not just mandated self-quarantines.
Make sure you have the following medical items too so you can monitor yourself and your family:
- Pulse oximeter – these became nearly impossible to acquire for a while
- Touchless thermometer
- N95 masks – the only masks proven to be effective against the coronavirus
When should you start getting supplies for the second wave?
Think back to when the outbreak began to come to the public eye. It only took two days for the shelves to become nearly bare. Here are some pictures as a reminder. It would be pretty foolish to wait until the rest of the country becomes aware and there’s another run on things, leaving the media to scold preppers for hoarding.
Of course, it’s not preppers doing the “hoarding.” We already got our stuff weeks, months, or even years ago.
My advice is to start replenishing your supplies immediately. Take a look at your lists and begin fulfilling them as soon as you can.
You don’t have to buy these things all at once. But start now. Grab a couple of items and put them back. Do this every time you are out. If money isn’t tight, buy one of everything on your list that you might reasonably need when you’re out.
I have a feeling that the supply chain isn’t going to bounce back this time around, at least not very quickly. Think about anything you might need to repair or replace that is made in China, and if you can afford it, get the parts and items you may need.
Mentally preparing for the next lockdown
Something that is potentially even more important than your physical preparations is the mental ones.
Did you find yourself reeling in shock that it happened? Were you depressed or anxious? Lonely or isolated? Understand first that all those feelings are completely normal during a time period of dramatic change. You’re human and you’re allowed to have feelings. When there’s so much uncertainty, it can be difficult to prepare for the future. It’s the ability to move past these feelings and still accomplish the things that need to be done that is important. A lot of people have suffered problems with their mental health during the past year and a half, and being a prepper doesn’t exclude you from a normal reaction to prolonged stress.
Think also about the personalities you encountered within your group. Obviously, you’re not going to kick your bratty teen out of the house the next time there’s a quarantine but the involvement of certain people is optional. Some folks really surprise us (unpleasantly) with the way they behave under pressure.
Other things you may want to do before the next lockdown
The following items are miscellaneous tasks you may want to undertake. Most of them will be effective not only in a lockdown scenario but also during other types of emergencies.
You may have also noticed things in your outer circle that were unsettling. I wrote more about the different kinds of people you may have encountered – friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. – during the lockdown. You should take some of the time you have between now and the next lockdown to assess these folks a little bit more closely. Pay strict attention to the things they say and do once this is over. Do they “joke” about coming to your place? Are they spending frivolously? Did they learn a lesson and decide to get better prepared? This will tell you a lot about them and let you know if you need to begin quietly distancing yourself from them.
If you weren’t happy with where you took shelter during this period of lockdown, examine the reasons why. We were in an apartment that shared ventilation with the neighbors. (It was an old house turned into a duplex.) That was okay for us because the neighbors were also self-quarantining carefully, but if they moved out and someone else moved in, would it be okay then? We also didn’t have a place for a garden, and there were a few issues that would make the house fairly easy to break into if someone was interested in doing so.
When you examine this, you may need to make a major decision – is it time to relocate? Or you may simply need to make some adjustments to the place where you are like a padlock on the gate, a new fence, security film on the windows, etc. This article has some tips on home security.
If your home needs some repairs, do it while there isn’t an active virus floating around. Our dryer died during the first lockdown but we weren’t crazy about the idea of some repair person stomping through the apartment, spreading his germs, and potentially seeing our stockpile of canned goods. If you have an appliance giving its last gasp, this might be a good time to replace it. (If you can – there are long waiting lists for appliances of many types.) The better maintained your home is, the less likely it is that you’ll have a repair emergency during the lockdown.
Take the opportunity to get any services performed that were needed before or during the lockdown. If there is a medical procedure you require, go ahead and get it done. Many patients saw their treatments delayed for months to prevent them from possibly coming into contact with COVID patients. Get everyone a dental exam and get your pets to the vet if necessary. If you need to have your house sprayed or gutters cleaned, get all of that stuff done as soon as you can.
Work toward greater self-reliance. Get those chickens you’ve been thinking about. Plant a garden and set up cold frames to extend your growing season. Get yourself well-positioned for an uncertain future.
Prepare your family
Your family may want to live in a rosy world in which this was an unpleasant interlude and now it’s over. It’s tempting to let them have that happiness, but it’s a mistake not to add at least a small dose of reality. If it hasn’t crossed their mind that the future could hold more lockdowns, it’s going to be a stunning blow when (or if) it happens again.
You also don’t want to meet pushback when you try to replenish supplies. Consider reminding them, “Remember the toilet paper apocalypse? We don’t want to run into that problem again!” or “Weren’t you happy we had this when we were stuck at home?”
If you see the situation is beginning to look like you might be facing another lockdown soon, casually mention it to family members. Don’t terrify them but begin gently making them aware that the situation could change quickly.
On the other hand, you may find that family members who previously thought you were a little bit nuts are now far more on board with preparedness. This might be a great time to start teaching them more.
The time to prepare is right now
Here’s a great article written by other preppers who share what they learned during the first lockdown.
I may be wrong. I hope I am. I don’t see how our economy will withstand the restrictions we’ve gone through before.
But the signs are all there. The urgency is increasing. The fear is palpable. The best thing you can do is be ahead of the crowds. I also think we’re going to see even more stress, increased violence, and complete desperation for many families that are at the ends of their ropes.
What are you expecting?
Do you expect to see another lockdown soon? What warning signs have you on high alert? How are you preparing? Are you making any changes? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs The Op Online Classroom and Bookstore. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.
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