Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis

The outbreak of the Coronavirus began in China in late December 2019 and has rapidly spread to numerous countries around the world, despite efforts to contain the highly contagious virus.

With over 93,168 people diagnosed with Coronavirus and a devastating death toll of 3203, people have taken to the internet to raise their concerns over the shortages of products due to a delay in supply from China, and fears that necessary items such as toilet paper and non-perishable food will run out of stock. Australians are significantly “panic-buying” household goods, to prepare for the worst.

The flurry of fear has led consumers to purchase entire boxes and crates of supermarket goods, worrying that they could be confined to their homes and no longer have access to uncontaminated imported goods. A supermarket in Sydney even reported a stampede over toilet paper, while others have experienced shoppers queuing outside their store prior to opening.

In times of crisis, people can convince themselves that participating in desperate measures such as storing food and supplies will ensure their survival, however, this is not always the case.

Over-purchasing bulk items can negatively impact the accessibility for others within the community to purchase or access basic necessities. While causing stampedes and aggressive competition can lead to serious injury. It is always important to shop responsibly and be considerate of others.

You may feel prepared, organised and bulk stocked for the uncertain months ahead, but your housemates, neighbours and community may not be. Please be kind, generous, and share what you can, especially if you have more than you need.

For those that have responsibly bulk purchased food and household goods but have limited storage in your house or apartment, we’ve compiled a list of 29 innovative ways you can store bulk items such as toilet paper and best utilize your space during a crisis. 

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Know what you already have

Before you dash to your local supermarket for an additional 20 cans you don’t actually need immediately, create a shopping list which outlines the required items and where they can be purchased.

A great trick is to keep an inventory of your pantry on your phone, and once something goes on sale at your local supermarket, buy it in bulk, and update your inventory list.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Keep track of expiration dates

There’s nothing worse than throwing out expired food that was perfectly good a few days ago. Check expiration dates before purchasing additional perishable food items, and avoid bulk buying foods with a short shelf-life where possible.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Label everything

Another organisation tip is to use a label maker to list each item by product name and expiry date. This will help you determine what should be eaten first and what can be preserved for a later date.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Use your freezer to preserve perishables

Avoid shoving items into the fridge or freezer, strategically store items on the fridge shelves with those with shorter shelf life in the front and longer in the back. If you have large amounts of the same items, divide them into halves or thirds to be stored in the freezer. These tips work for fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat and pasta.

This is also a good opportunity for you to complete your meal prep for as long as required.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Cook it, or share it

If you have already purchased bulk purchased food with a short shelf life, do not fret, simply use the items to cook a dish that can be frozen or eaten straight away. If that is not a possibility, share the items or cooked food among your housemates, neighbours and friends.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Designate storage areas within your apartment

Allocate designated rooms or areas within your home to storing household items and additional foods that do not require fridge/freezer storage. This can be in spare rooms, pantries, cabinets, shelves, behind doors, between and under furniture.

Dry foods, packaged foods, canned goods, juice packs or cans of soda have a longer shelf life and can, therefore, be stored in the pantry.

Ensure to use all the storage and shelving spaces available, including the top shelves. use a ladder or stool to store the items you will be using the least at a higher level, and the ones you will at eye level or below.

If you find that your pantry shelves are full, you can store large items like boxes and slabs neatly on the floor.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Use larger, sealable plastic or glass containers

Some dry foods purchased in bulk can be removed from their original packaging and store in containers that fit the dimensions of your pantry or cabinet space. Plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are a great investment to store items such as flour, cereal, pasta, lentils, seeds, nuts, spices, grains, and oats. 

Similar to plastic containers, you can also re-use empty jars from pickles and pasta sauces to store items such as rice, beans, tea leaves, dried mushrooms and other household goods such as cotton balls.

Large or bulk purchase bottles of liquid detergents, soaps, body washes, shampoos, conditioners can be poured in in glass decanter. Only transfer the amount you require for the week or month in smaller plastic bottles to be stored in easy to reach places for everyday use like bathrooms, laundries and shower.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Opt for airtight storage bins

Some large items of dog and cat foods can be purchased in giant bags that are difficult to store and transfer, in that case, airtight bins are the perfect solution to preserve and store them.

Airtight bins can also be used to store items such as bulky clothing, blankets, towels, shoes, children's toys, books, stationery and tools.

Storing your least-used items in airtight bins will also keep you declutter your home and create more room to store your bulk purchases.

Purchasing airtight bins with wheels can help you move heavier items without hurting your back.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Utilise under-bed storage

Another space to hide large bulk items that you might not have thought of is the space under your bed. For hygiene and odour reasons, it’s best to not store food items in your bedroom, but you can store large clothing, paper goods, stationery, toys, toiletries, soaps and nappy packs.

You can also purchase under-the-bed storage products that can assist you in storing a greater amount whilst still being organised and able to find/access items when you need them.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Use apartment building storage cages

Many new apartments on the market offer ‘storage cages’ for larger goods that you don’t necessarily want to store in your home. This could include excess laundry products, toiletries or an emergency supply of cans and water.

Ensure that all items are in a dry place away from moisture and direct sunlight, and it is also best to avoid storing items on the floor as they may attract rodents.

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

Where to store your toilet paper

Large packs of toilet paper can be stored under beds or furniture, in cabinets, or storage cages. Individual paper rolls can be placed in boxes or baskets in the bathroom or toilet, behind the door using a shoe organiser or in your closet using shelf rods to fit individual rolls

Toilet paper hoarding and the Coronavirus: Here’s exactly how you should be storing bulk items (in your small apartment) during a crisis
 

 

Shantelle-Ann Marquis

Shantelle-Ann Marquis

Shantelle-Ann is a journalist at Urban.com.au, with experience in urban planning reporting, and an interest in architecture, development and real estate.

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