How to Be a Prepared Homemaker: Stock Up on These 20 Things

Wish you knew how to be a prepared homemaker? Start by stocking up on these 20 things!

Over the past few weeks, a growing panic over the global pandemic has set in across America. The stock market keeps dropping, schools and businesses are closing, and toilet paper has vanished from store shelves. People who need the reminder to wash their hands and stop touching their faces also could use the reminder to Keep Calm and Carry On.

When hearing about quarantines around the world, homemakers may wonder how to survive if and when stuck at home. For most Americans who are used to running to the store every day, it’s been decades since people have needed to be resourceful and plan ahead.

If you’re not a homesteader or prone to disaster preparation, what can you do?

Woman shops with empty cart

Woman shops with full grocery basket

Preparing for the Unknown

Preparing for the unknown is nothing new – in fact, it’s considered wise living. Like the ant prepares for winter by working hard and storing food, homemakers can prepare for the unknown by keeping basic supplies on hand. And you don’t have to wait for a pandemic to get started.

Even if you don’t want to become a survivalist, you can still prepare your home. Years ago when I learned about cleaning and homemaking from Flylady, I embraced an approach to prepared homemaking: show your family you love them by the way you meet their basic needs.

By keeping your home stocked with basic necessities, your family members never will find themselves asking “where’s the toothpaste?” because you’ve thought of the need (and supplied it) ahead of time.

This sounds like it could be a tall order. Why do I have to plan ahead for the rest of my family? How am I supposed to know what they need? Yet I’ve found an easy way to make it a part of everyday life.

Person makes a purchase with credit card and computer

Simple Ways to Stock Up

As the main shopper for my family, I know the products my family wants and uses. Because of that, when I purchase products, I try to buy double.

For example, I know my family always will need toothpaste. Instead of just having one tube of toothpaste and then replacing it once it’s used, I buy two tubes of toothpaste. Then, once one is used up, I pull out the extra tube and shop for a replacement tube.

It’s not just toothpaste in my home, though – I do the same with every kind of personal care product – from tubes of toothpaste to rolls of deodorant to bottles of shampoo to boxes of tampons to bars of soap. It takes up a relatively small amount of space to store an extra container, but it’s super helpful for everyday life.

Since you never know what the future may hold – or when certain products simply won’t be available – it’s wise to stock up while you can. Mind you, stocking up isn’t the same as stockpiling – you don’t have to clear out a store’s inventory. But getting a few extra products you know you’ll eventually use isn’t a waste.

I’ve found a few different but super simple ways to stock up:

  • Buy two containers of the product you need. Once you finish using one, add it to your grocery list, so you can always keep one on hand.
  • Enroll in a subscription service. Amazon Pantry is a convenient one that offers just about anything you can imagine using. I absolutely love Amazon’s Subscribe and Save option for the way that I can choose how often I receive items I frequently use at a 15% discount.  Grove Collaborative is another great service for home and personal care products. By enrolling in a subscription service, you get to pick the items you prefer and they’ll automatically be delivered to your home.
  • When you run across an amazing sale, stock up. Discount and closeout stores are fantastic places for this. For example, when I found a fantastic sale on my favorite hand soap last summer, I bought over 20 bottles of soap. Seem like a bit much? At the time it did, but it was such a great deal I couldn’t pass it up. Now that soap is selling out of local stores, I’m thankful for my stockpile.

20 Things to Keep On Hand In Your Home

In case you’re wondering what household items you should stock up on, here are 20 that are helpful to keep on hand:

1. Hand soap
Whether you choose to use liquid or bar soap, it’s always a good idea to have extra hand soap!

2. Dish soap
You never know when you might use dish soap. A bonus is that it can double as hand soap in a pinch.

3. Laundry detergent
Unless times are desperate and you stop washing your family’s clothes, you’ll need laundry detergent. You might as well stock up on it!

4. Bar soap or body wash
Having more soap than you think you may need always is a good thing.

5. Shampoo
You won’t need to keep too much extra shampoo on hand, but an extra bottle always is helpful.

Row of shampoo bottles

6. Toothpaste
Like bar soap or body wash, having more toothpaste than you think you may need always is a good thing.

7. Toothbrushes
Keeping extra toothbrushes on hand is helpful, especially if you can stock up when you find a bargain. If you get sick, make sure to change your toothbrush!

8. Toilet paper
You don’t have to clean out store shelves in a quest for extra toilet paper, but it’s always helpful to keep a few extra rolls on hand. (In a desperate TP situation? There’s always the family cloth option.)

9. Kleenex tissues
Like toilet paper, it’s always nice to have some extra tissues on hand – especially in cold and flu season. But, like toilet paper and family cloth, it’s also wise to keep some cloth handkerchiefs just in case of an emergency.)

10. Paper towels
Paper towels aren’t exactly a necessity, but they’re helpful if you’re disinfecting your kitchen and bathroom.

11. Multi-purpose cleaning spray
What can you use with your paper towels? Multi-purpose cleaning spray for hard surfaces! This is a super helpful and versatile cleaning supply you can use when cleaning your kitchen and bathroom.

12. Garbage bags
Like dirty dishes and laundry, you’ll always have garbage. Keeping extra garbage bags is handy.

13. Dishwasher detergent
If you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher, you don’t want to run out of detergent!

14. Bleach
I’m not a huge fan of bleach, but if you need to disinfect a surface (and in the middle of a disaster, this could be necessary!) you’ll want to have some bleach.

15. Batteries
I’m sure my home isn’t the only one that goes through batteries quickly. Try to stock up on a variety of sizes.

16. Lightbulbs
While they’re not necessarily an urgent necessity, if you don’t have extra lightbulbs on hand, you’ll definitely be inconvenienced if you run out!

17. Pain relievers
Even if you don’t use medicines for pain relief very often, it’s always a good idea to have some Ibuprofin or Acetominiphin in your home – just in case.

The next three products may not be necessary for you. But if you live with a woman, a baby, or a pet, you’ll need to stock up!

18. Feminine hygiene products (if women are in your home)
While you’ll want to keep disposable options on hand, it’s comforting to remember that reusable feminine hygiene options like cloth pads, menstrual cups, and sea sponge tampons are super convenient to use!

19. Diapers (if you have a baby)
If you use disposable diapers, stock up while you can. But a fantastic alternative is cloth diapers! Reusable diapers always are helpful, easy, and affordable (in the long run) to use on your baby!

20. Pet food (if you have a pet)
If an emergency hits, you want to make sure you have enough food for yourself – and your pet.

Woman shops for groceries in produce section

Aside from household and personal care items, it’s always a good idea to keep a few extra canned goods, frozen foods, and bottled water on hand. If you don’t consider yourself a prepper, this might only look like keeping your cupboards stocked instead of empty.

It’s also a good idea to have rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in your home, too. (Also on my personal shopping list? Immune support gummies and essential oils.)

And if you want something that could easily take the place of all your cleaning products, Norwex cleaning cloths are a great reusable solution. I’m not a Norwex sales representative – I just love the way they effectively and quickly clean my home. Plus, their microfiber is made with naturally antimicrobial silver. Norwex is an easy option to thoroughly clean your home even if or when you don’t have any other cleaning products around. (All you need is a Norwex microfiber cloth and tap water!)

The Price of Becoming a Prepared Homemaker

Just in case you’ve never stocked up before, you might find your grocery bills doubling as you buy the extra products all at once. But if you slowly build up your reserve of necessary products, you can add one or two extra products each shopping trip. Not only will you keep costs down, but you’ll also become a prepared homemaker.

What products do you always keep on hand? What products do you need to stock up on?

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I make a commission on products purchased through these links. Thank you for supporting this website!

All images courtesy of Deposit Photos and Pexels.


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  1. We had heads up at school the week before to prepare. The school did a fantastic job getting ready. I have heard super did not say anything in most schools. I hate shopping so I did not even go until yesterday. I got everything I wanted except for a loaf of low carb bread. TP check, milk check . I have even offered to share tp. Warehouses and factories still have it. They just need to restock stores. I refuse to waste time on worry. I use common sense as I am high risk. 

  2. Hello, sweet lady, Thanks for this great list. It is wonderful to “meet” a like-minded mama. ❤️ Blessings, Katie

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