Essential Vs. Nonessential Items During Covid-19

The Corona Virus outbreak has impacted every life on the planet. People are living their lives under a new set of rules and are stopped from doing basic things that were previously openly allowed.

Covid-19 has also shined a light on the difference between essential and nonessential items, as there are now restrictions in stores and rules placed by the government; closing popular locations, limiting items purchased in stores and so much more. Through this pandemic, people can begin to see how many items we felt were necessary for survival, have really just manipulated us into believing they were a lot more important than they actually are. 

Here, I will be formulating a list of items that I have learned were either essential or nonessential during my experience of Covid-19. 

Essential Items:

  • Cloth face masks.

It is recommended to wear one every time you leave your house, to protect others in case you unknowingly have the virus. Cloth masks would be most preferred because they can be reused.

  • About 3 weeks of food. No more than 4 weeks. 

There is no reason to hoard all the materials in the shopping aisles. Make sure to take as much as you need to keep you away from grocery stores for as long as possible, while at the same time being courteous. 

  • First Aid Kits/ Over-The-Counter medicine. 

It is better to have these items in your home, for easy access in case of any emergencies. But once again, do NOT hoard supplies. 

  • Soap and hand sanitizer.

Currently, it is difficult to get a hold of either of these items, but once they are available it would be beneficial to purchase it. 

Reference  WIRED’s guide to making your own hand sanitizer !

Nonessential Items:


There is a shortage of face masks. Any of these that are available should be saved for the use of medical personnel only! Any N95 face masks you have purchased should be directed to a healthcare facility as soon as possible.

  • EXTRA toilet paper and paper towels. 

There is a major shortage on these two items, do not buy an unnecessary amount. Those who already have purchased large amounts, do not waste it. Wasting these products will not only hurt the planet, it will also hurt your waller.

  • New Clothes. 

I have seen an endless amount of clothing hauls from people who are purchasing new clothing out of boredom. Do not do this! There is no reason to buy new clothing during a pandemic! Nobody should be leaving their house for recreational purposes, so there should be no need to buy 15 sets of new clothing to keep up with the current trends. Instead, try revamping your closet by restyling old clothes.

Advice on the purchase of nonessential items include recognizing the money you are also spending on these items. In addition to the possibility of nonessential item purchases putting warehouse and delivery workers at risk, it is also known that the economy is unpredictable. Therefore, spending money on products with little intention of use would not be recommended, considering the possibility of an unstable economy; especially keeping in mind our place in the global pandemic. For example, regarding families who receive stimulus money, if the extra money from the government is not needed for bills, it is recommended to put the cash in reserves, in case of an unfortunate situation where the economy does not recover quickly. 

Making wise purchases is just as important as wise actions during these times. Stay safe and healthy.

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