How to Prepare for a Quarantine in Your Apartment

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Written by Luke Smith

There’s nothing quite like being quarantined in an apartment. The thought of being trapped in a small space, with thousands of others just like you all cooped up on all sides can feel a bit claustrophobic.

It’s a scenario that can make even the most diehard recluse pause. And yet, millions of Americans are being asked to stay within the confines of their homes for days, weeks, and potentially even months as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the nation.

If you’re prepping for a quarantine in your apartment, take heart! Here are a few suggestions for ways to make the best of your situation, put your mind to rest, and ensure that you’re ready for any challenges that might come your way.

Don’t Panic

It’s always wise to start by sitting down and thinking things through. Don’t blindly follow the panic-stricken, alarmist advice of the latest article or news story you might have read. Remember, there’s a difference between promoting Doomsday chaos and genuinely prepping for a worst-case scenario.

So, before you step foot outside of your apartment in search of supplies, start by getting a hold of that fear, taking a few deep breaths, and then coming up with some lists.

These lists should focus on separating wants from needs. For instance, getting in line to pick up a copy of Doom Eternal for your Xbox One X hardly qualifies as a necessary activity. Restocking your pantry, though? That counts for sure.

Also, as you organize your shopping list, remember that cheaper isn’t always better. Sure, if you’re looking for garbage bags, you don’t need to worry about quality much. But food and even hygiene products can have a treasure trove of poisons hidden in those ingredients lists. Even things as seemingly harmless as talcum powder can have things like asbestos in them.

The point is, consider both what you need and the required quality of each item.


Once you have your wants and needs broken down into lists, it’s time to prioritize within each list. Every situation is different, and the items you’ll need — outside of a few basics that always apply — can vary. Organize both your wants and your needs into their order of importance. 

For instance, a few items that should fall fairly high on your needs list during the battle with COVID-19 should include:

  • A few weeks’ worth of non-perishable food.
  • Bottled water is always a must to have on hand in an emergency.
  • Hygiene items so that you can stay clean.
  • Basic cleaning supplies so that your apartment doesn’t end up smelling like a boy’s pre-teen bedroom.

 Other considerations that are important, but not as critical, include:

  •  Baking soda — for a million uses.
  • Trash bags — you’ve got to do something with all of that trash in a small space.
  • Seeds — if things drag out, you can always start container gardening right in your apartment.
  • A portable charger — to help you “stay online” and in communication with loved ones if you lose power.

While none of these lists are comprehensive, the point is, it’s important to come up with the most essential for you and the less essential items before you go shopping.

You can also do this — though in a less intense manner — with your needs list. Figure out what kind of entertainment, snack food, or other comfort measures would be the most valuable to have during your time indoors, and then invest a little effort in seeing if you can get them without too much drama.

Consider Your Restraints

Next up, make sure to consider the restraints that come with living in an apartment by taking some time to set up your small living space. If you skip this step, you’ll just end up looking like you’re a hoarder or a slob who can’t keep things tidy.

Declutter what you can, get rid of unnecessary junk and try to shift to a minimalistic mindset. As you clear things out, you can also thoughtfully invest in things like bookshelves and lockers to help provide more vertical storage space.

Think Beyond Food and Hygiene

Along with covering your basic bodily needs, it’s important to remember the larger community that is trying to survive a quarantine along with you. With that in mind, look for ways to preserve basic utility staples like energy and water.

When it comes to water, follow basic best practices such as avoiding running the shower for too long and trying not to flush the toilet more than is necessary. You can also create a more energy-efficient home by using LED light bulbs, sealing up any drafts, and lowering your thermostat’s temperature a little bit. The focus should be on sustainability and having as minimal a drain on “the grid” as possible.

Be Thoughtful

Finally, remember to always be thoughtful as you go about prepping your apartment. When you need to leave the house, always limit your exposure — both for your own safety and the safety of others — through washing your hands, avoiding crowds, and social distancing, in general.

In addition, always keep that first piece of advice in mind: don’t panic. We’re all in this together. Only prep the basics that you need, and make sure to leave enough for other preppers to still be able to stock up in your wake. If you can go about the process of prepping your apartment thoughtfully, you should be able to weather a longer quarantine, even in an apartment, as successfully as possible.

About the author:

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

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  1. Please explain the necessity of storing water during this pandemic. Being conscious of water usage I understand and am extremely frugal in its use, after all I have to pay for it.

    1. Hi Bellen, That is a good question. The storing of water is not necessarily just for the pandemic. Because water is essential to survival and we all need water for drinking, cooking, hygiene. We need to be prepared in case there is an interruption and our tap water is not running or gets contaminated. For example, in Houston, before COVID-19 happened, the whole city’s water system got contaminated when a main pipe broke. Repairs took a couple of days. If enough people get sick in a pandemic and there is no one who can do the repairs right away, tap water may not be restored for several days. Thanks for bringing up this question.

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