Home and Garden, Life & Style

Buying Non-Food Essentials During a Global Pandemic

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Today I’m sharing a little Etsy love. In case you’ve not heard of Etsy, it’s an online marketplace for independent sellers. Right now times are tough for their independent sellers, many of whom are one-woman businesses, and I want to support them and their #StandWithSmall campaign in this time of crisis. Etsy extended a huge amount of love and support to me last year when I went through some bad times, and devoting some space to them at this time feels like the very least I can do to show my gratitude for that.

Also, shopping for what we need right now is tough. Reports of online shopping companies are circulating where staff may not be adequately protected from risk – see exhibit A, exhibit B, and exhibit C.

When we can afford it, buying the non-food essentials we need that we can’t get locally from smaller sellers, such as independent Etsy sellers, feels like a safer option. These independent sellers may be more able to practice social distancing, and by the very nature of their business, are more likely to be one-person operations. And more than ever, independent sellers need our support.

It goes without saying, the term ‘essentials’ will vary from person to person – there’s no one size fits all approach. What might not be essential to you may be essential to someone else, so I have taken a broad approach.

Face Mask

Face mask from Etsy

At present, face masks aren’t compulsory in the UK, but it could well go that way.

Owing to PPE shortages, medical-grade face masks should be reserved for NHS staff and care workers only. Other professional types of face masks are in short supply, so for the general public, a fabric face mask is the best option. I have heard that pocket type masks, where you can either insert a charcoal filter, or failing that, an additional fabric layer into the pocket can provide an additional layer of safety, so this double pocket washable face mask from Etsy may help, provided you follow instructions on how to use a mask safely.

It’s important to bear in mind that just because you’re wearing a mask, it doesn’t grant you immunity or will protect you completely. From what I understand, the masks are more to help asymptomatic people spreading COVID-19 before they are aware they are carriers of the disease, rather than to stop people contracting the disease. There are also a lot of other measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19 beyond wearing a mask, such as frequent hand washing, staying at home, social distancing, and self-isolating if you or anyone in your household develops symptoms that are just as important to follow too.

Washable Sanitary Towels

Washable sanitary towels from Etsy

We’re all trying to head to the shops as little as possible, and that, my friend, is the beauty of reusable sanitary products. No need to pop to the shop when you run out of towels because you can just pop on the washing machine instead. My favourites are these ones, from LilahPads.

If you’ve been worried about trying reusable period products due to leakage, then lockdown could be a great time to try them out.

Make-Up Remover Pads

Make-up Remover Pads from Etsy

Rather than using disposable make-up wipes, again, now is a great time to try out washable make-up pads. These ones from Artichaut Creations come in fun patterns, and can be used time and time again.

Reusable Kitchen Roll

Reusable kitchen roll from Etsy

Back in March, you couldn’t get hold of kitchen roll in the supermarkets for love nor money. I don’t use kitchen roll, so I wasn’t affected by this, so if you want to be shielded from future shortages then reusable is definitely the way to go. This reusable set, again from Artichaut Creations looks lovely.

Soap

Soap from Etsy

I covered soap just the other week, but if there was ever an essential right now then it’s soap. Soap Daze sells some lovely vegan and palm-oil free and cruelty-free soaps, like the cedarwood and grapefruit bar pictured above, that I really rate.

Shampoo

Shampoo bar from Etsy

Looking to ditch the shampoo and conditioner bottles clogging up your shower? You could try switching to this 2 in 1 solid shampoo bar. This one has no transition phase and doesn’t need an acid rinse after shampooing, as some bars do.

The Multi-Tasker

Argan Oil from Etsy

Looking for something to condition your hair, remove your make-up, moisturise your face and moisturise your hands? Argan Oil, like this one from Conscious Skincare, can do all of these things brilliantly.

Conscious Skincare’s products have been fully approved by the Vegetarian Society, PETA, carry the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free logo, and their products are vegan-friendly too.

In terms of keeping sellers safe, if you’re not in a rush for items, you can pop a note to the seller when you check out on Etsy, telling them to only post the item to you when it is safe to do so, or that you are happy to wait if they are only doing a weekly trip to the post office.

weekend links

Ten (Good) Things

Things are tough right now so in a deviation from the norm, I thought I would share some of the things getting us through lockdown, and some things that I thought might be helpful to others.

1. Members of my favourite Facebook group – Terrible Art in Charity Shops – are recreating some of the group’s best-loved finds and it’s been cracking me up.

2. This super old post from my archives on recycled craft ideas for kids might be a handy one for entertaining bored kids for free.

3. Draw With Rob is a great online drawing tutorial for kids.

4. Free artist activity packs.

5. I’m not a yoga person, but Cosmic Kids online yoga for little ones, and online yoga for adults are both great ways to get some exercise in. As is Joe Wicks, who does great live PE classes for kids, as well as workouts for seniors – from chair-based exercises to full body workouts.

6. Fleabag the play is being streamed online for charity.

7. This is wonderful: a creative arts competition for the over 70’s unable to leave the house. The King Lear Prizes are to encourage ordinary people, who have never been published before and are not professional writers, musicians or artists, to create new works of literature, poetry, music and art during the time they are quarantined. The short-listed and winning submissions will be made public on their website and in their email newsletter, and they hope to be able to present online performances by eminent actors and musicians.

8. For as long as schools are closed, all of Audible’s kids audiobooks are free.

9. This post on civilisation was beautiful.

10. A reminder that whatever the situation, you are never alone. A helpful compendium of help.

Do share anything which is helping you get through these tough times – I’d really love to hear.

Remember, it’s vitally important that we all stay home this Easter weekend, unless you’re a keyworker, in which case, a million thank-yous. The more that we stay in, and keep our distance, the sooner we can get out of lockdown.