Ultimate Essential Items Checklist: The Best 130 Items to Invest in Now

During the coronavirus pandemic, many people are heading to stores in search of essential items.

Governmental authorities and medical experts are concerned that people are leaving the safety of their homes for items that those entities would not deem essential.

What does “essential” really mean, though?

It depends on the context.

In this situation, members of the CDC and US government might deem exercise equipment, fancy coffee, and children’s coloring books essential. In fact, a recent article by the BBC said that people are confused as to the meaning of essential items during a pandemic and purchasing non-essential items instead.

They may be right. However, looking at the bigger picture – at life beyond the pandemic and lockdowns and curfews – what is essential varies from person to person.

Today, you will get an idea of some of the most important things that your family and home should not be without – from essential office desk items and essential food items to travel items and essential survival items.

The items on this ultimate household list will make life easier and more pleasant during and after the pandemic.

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The Ultimate Essential Items Checklist: 130 Items to Stock Up on Now

Starting with quarantine essentials and covering nearly every aspect of your life, here is your ultimate checklist of essential items for home, travel, and beyond.

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Essential Quarantine Items

Currently, the US is seeing COVID-19 spikes across the country. Daily death rate reports have reached an all-time high of 2,000 people lost. Experts say to expect the worst over the winter because of these spikes and the potential for holiday super-spreader events.

Local governments may order more shutdowns, in which case, you need to stock up on essential quarantine items. Even if the government does not decide to impose lockdowns, you may decide to avoid going out to protect yourself and your family from the virus.

Here are the items you need to have on hand during these times. Ideally, you should have a two weeks’ supply.

  • Water
  • Toilet paper
  • Canned foods
  • Dried foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Soap
  • Medications
  • Baby supplies
  • Pet food and medications
  • Hygiene supplies (cleaning products, hand sanitizer, disinfectant)

Essential Household Items

Home is where the heart is. You want to make sure you have items that make you, your family, and any visitors (after the pandemic, of course) feel incredibly comfortable. Some essential household items that can help keep your home safe, comfortable, and well-maintained include:

  • A binder or smartphone/computer app to keep track of important contact information, a babysitter’s checklist, birthday and holiday reminders, chores and home maintenance, budget and finances, and meal planning
  • Drawer organizers
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Extension cords
  • Candles and flashlights
  • A complete toolbox
  • Extra sheets and pillows
  • Your favorite books, movies, and games
  • Plenty of kitchen and bathroom towels, as well as rags for cleaning
  • Comfortable seating, like a couch and recliners (massaging recliners are the best!)

Essential Kitchen Items

Having high-quality kitchen tools on-hand will make home cooking easier and more enjoyable. Add these 10 essential kitchen items to your essential items list.

  • Cutting board
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Can opener
  • A quality set of pots and pans
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Chef’s knife (though a complete knife set is best)
  • Non-stick skillet
  • Metal and silicone spatulas
  • Whisk
  • Tongs

Once you have the basics out of the way, you can invest in things like a crockpot, Instant Pot, Vitamix, and a French press.

Essential Food Items

Having a well-stocked, organized pantry will mean you always have your favorite snacks on hand. It can also help you stick to your diet since your pantry is regularly stocked with healthful snacks to combat hunger. Additionally, by prioritizing organization, you can avoid purchasing items you do not really need, thereby saving you a lot of money. Here are some essential food items to keep in your pantry.

  • Spices and herbs: salt, pepper, bay leaves, ground cinnamon, garlic powder
  • Oils and vinegars: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grapeseed oil, white wine vinegar
  • Grains: rice, breadcrumbs, pastas, crackers, quinoa
  • Cans/jars: Tuna, tomato sauce, chicken/vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, olives
  • Sweeteners: sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup
  • Produce: onions, lemons, potatoes, garlic, and shelf-stable tofu
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, peanuts, cashews, sesame seeds, chia seeds
  • Condiments/sauces: salad dressings, mustards, your favorite hot sauce, salsa
  • Freezer items: meats, bread, vegetables, fruits
  • Baking items: Flour(s), rolled oats, baking soda, baking powder, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, vanilla extract

Essential Survival Items

According to Scientific American, 2020 has been a record-breaking year for natural disasters. Many of the disasters – including the largest wildfires in California history – have forced people to evacuate their homes with only a moment’s notice.

Because natural disasters seem to be getting worse, many people are planning ahead, creating a go bag that will help them escape safely with essential survival items.

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Here are some ideas for what items you should add to your go bag.

  • Water filtration system (Sawyer or LifeStraw)
  • A high-quality, durable survival tarp
  • Cold-weather tent
  • Waterproof matches or a lighter
  • Survival knife (Swiss Army Knife)
  • Survival shovel
  • Survival hatchet
  • Survival whistle and signal mirror
  • Hand crank radio
  • Tactical flashlight

Essential Clothing Items

High-quality, timeless basics are essential. They will allow you to switch up your look without spending a ton of money. Even though higher quality items can be more expensive, the investment is worth it because these clothes tend to last much longer.

Essential clothing items for women:

  • Trench coat
  • Little black dress
  • Ballet flats
  • A wrap dress
  • Black trousers

Essential clothing items for men:

  • White-collared shirt
  • Long-sleeved polo
  • Indigo jeans
  • Beige chinos
  • A peacoat

Essential Hygiene Items

Essential hygiene items will keep you clean and healthy. Have plenty in stock to avoid remembering you have run out of shampoo or soap in the middle of your shower.

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Toothbrush
  • Sanitary pads or tampons
  • Facial soap
  • Body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Toilet paper

Essential Baby Items

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Taking care of young children requires a lot of time, energy, and essential baby care items. Add the following items to your checklist to take care of babies and toddlers.

  • Breast pump
  • Bottles
  • Bibs
  • Diapers
  • Changing table and changing pad
  • Onesies
  • Blankets and burp cloths
  • Baby soap and shampoo
  • Waterproof mattress covers
  • Approved car seat

Essential Office Desk Items

Whether you are working from home or the office, having these essential office desk items at the ready will make your workday flow easier. They will also help you practice good posture and workplace ergonomics, so you will experience less pain and more energy and productivity.

  • Laptop stand
  • High-quality office chair and chair pad
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • File organizing system
  • A notebook
  • Plenty of pens
  • A wireless charger
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Extra charging cables
  • A cord organizer

Essential Travel Items

When life gets back to normal, a lot of people are going to hit the road as fast as they can. If the traveling bug has bitten you, here are some essential travel items that will make your trip more enjoyable.

  • Travel pillow
  • Hand sanitizer and/or wipes
  • Earbuds and earplugs
  • Eye mask
  • Compression tights or socks
  • Portable charger and charging cords
  • A good book
  • A notebook and pen
  • Travel wallet
  • An extra set of clothes

Essential Self-Care Items

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Self-care is vital for feeling balanced, reducing stress, and maintaining a positive outlook in life. Create an essential self-care items list so you can take care of yourself regularly.

  • An inspirational quote journal
  • Your favorite tea or other hot beverage ingredients
  • An ergonomic scalp massager
  • Deliciously scented candles
  • A fleece blanket
  • Sheet facial masks
  • Moisturizing gel socks
  • A spa pillow for your bathtub
  • Your favorite scented bath bombs
  • Essential oil diffuser with color change mode

Essential Outdoor Items

Do you love the great outdoors? If camping and hiking are your favorite ways to de-stress and spend time with loved ones, you definitely need an essential outdoor items checklist. Here are some items to add to that list.

  • Map, compass, and other navigation tools
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • First-aid kit with insect repellent
  • Extra water
  • Extra food
  • Flashlight
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Sleeping gear (sleeping bag, pad, blanket)
  • Comfortable, quality hiking shoes

Essential Apps

In the digital age, apps are just as essential as some of the essential items on your self-care or quarantine items checklists. The following apps will help you keep all aspects of your life organized and even help you relax and have fun.

  • An insurance app (it will make filling and keeping track of claims so much easier)
  • A meditation app (Calm, Headspace, Aura, and other apps will help you feel calmer throughout the day and allow you to sleep better at night)
  • Your favorite game app(s)
  • EdX (get access to courses from over 100 top Universities, like MIT and Harvard)
  • Project Foodie: Guided Cooking (professional chefs break down recipes and take you through the process step by step)
  • Peloton (guided workouts include everything from cycling and bootcamps to yoga and cooldowns)
  • TikTok (who doesn’t love spending some time watching funny videos?)
  • An investment app (there are options for beginners and expert investors)
  • Productivity app (Trello, Asana, Monday, and others will keep your projects and your life organized while increasing your productivity)
  • Goal, habit, and time trackers



Why Online Shopping and Stocking Up on Essential Items are Here to Stay

Some people love online shopping. Others prefer to shop for their essential items in person. They like to browse the shelves of their favorite stores and feel the fabrics of the clothes and bedding products they are thinking of purchasing.

Due to COVID-19, purchasing essential and non-essential items online has been the safest way to shop. Online shopping is safer and more hygienic. Shopping from your computer is the best way to ensure social distancing, allowing you to protect yourself from exposure to the virus.

But what happens after the pandemic? When life gets back to some level of normalcy, will people forego shopping online?

Experts believe that online shopping is here to stay. In fact, they project that more people will start ordering home staples online after the pandemic, including:

  • Over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements
  • Groceries
  • Skincare products
  • Household supplies
  • Makeup
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing

Some things consumers love about online shopping:

  • It is a time-saver: Point, click, purchase. That is it!
  • You get to shop when you want: You do not have to wait for the stores to open or worry that you will not get to them before they close. Online shopping is available 24/7.
  • Products tend to be more affordable: You can purchase directly from manufacturers, cutting out the middleman, and therefore, cutting down on costs.
  • Greater variety: If you live in a small town, your options are limited. Go online and the world is at your fingertips. You can get products that once would have taken hours of travel to procure.

While online shopping is not going anywhere, there is a risk of fraud and stolen personal information. Make sure to shop on secure, trustworthy sites and use something like PayPal or a credit card instead of providing bank account information.

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Prepare Now to Stay Safe, Healthy, and Sane

During a pandemic, the items you need to keep your family safe and healthy are considered essential. At this point in time, anything else is deemed non-essential.

When things get back to normal, though, there are going to be things that you will transfer from your non-essential items list to your ultimate essential items list. The things on that list will not be all about survival – they will be things that help you and your family thrive and live a happy, full, and productive life.

When you need to buy essential items, you do not need to waste time going from store to store. EssentialItems.com is your one-stop shop to get everything you need.

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