Finding essentials while at home with the kids - ordering online
What a year this week has been! As we're quarantined for 14 days, we've been brainstorming about relevant and helpful subjects to write about for during these testing times with the Coronavirus or COVID-19. (Which word is even the right one to use there?) One thing I do know is it's turning all our lives upside down, and it's pretty tricky to try to work from home and keep the kids amused at the same time...
We decided from this personal experience that it's great to keep busy, and it's even greater when we can make suggestions for eco-friendly projects for the whole family if stuck in quarantine or locked in at home during "Social Distancing." We've come up with some great ideas, and those will be published over the next few weeks, (suggestions welcome in the comments below too) but as we were doing our research, we discovered something we decided we wanted to share quickly - because helping people make better and eco-friendly choices in their homes & day to day life is all part of what we do, but especially so at the moment.
Ordering stuff online is getting hard!
As soon as we started looking online for products we would need, to check stock and make sure our suggestions were going to be possible to do, we were suprised to see how many products online were out of stock or on extended delivery. (And ok, we may have been tempted to do a few searches for essentials while we were there, because SO many supermarkets don't even tell you when they are out of an item until only a quarter of your order turns up!) Anyhow...
Maybe some folks are being a little selfish and over-ordering toilet rolls, sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, but Smart Door Locks? Really?? Wow, ok...
While we were searching to see if we could get around this, to find some shortcuts or tips on how to track down essential products online, we stumbled across a really useful hack!
Amazon has prioritized certain products
Amazon is the worlds biggest online retailer, unless you just crawled out of your Y2K meltdown bunker, I figure we know that, right?
Anyhow - to try to keep essential products in stock, and to get them to those who need them ASAP it turns out they have prioritized product lines they consider 'essential' - and the good news for those of us looking for products to use for great eco-friendly and green DIY shelter in place projects is, some of these categories overlap with stuff we might be looking for! And here's the thing - what we found is that when we did searches on Amazon, the same products were often listed multiple times, and depending if we clicked on the "right" or "wrong" listing this could dramatically change both the cost and the length of delivery.
Worth remembering too, is that when you take a free trial to Amazon Prime this adds a whole group of products to free delivery, special offers and gives easier and free returns on certain products which is always useful - plus while we're all stuck in the house, it also let's us watch films and programs on Prime Video! If we were ever going to get our money's worth, it would be now...
How to find in-stock essentials online on Amazon?
So, for convenience, we've already generated the links below to take you directly to the product groups that are considered 'essentials' on Amazon - we were really pleased to find this includes a lot of useful items that can save energy or be used for green home improvement projects to keep us busy.
To show how this works, first of all let's look at some examples - and as there's no point taking screenshots for the forseeable future, because it's constantly changing, we suggest actually doing this in realtime by going direct to Amazon using the links below which will open in a new tab and trying the instructions underneath:
For items like Smart Home products, thermostats, radon detectors, radon alarms, door locks, light controllers etc click here
Using the search bar and being careful not to change the product group from Industrial & Scientific for this example, put the actual item you're looking for in the search bar and click on the magnifying glass on the right. Any product that you find in this section is likely to be in stock, or available to order with a delivery in days rather than months, as suppliers can still send stock to Amazon's warehouses. Super useful for face masks, safety spec's and filters too if you're woodworking or using hazardous materials at the moment and can't find them elsewhere.
So what else does Amazon consider "Essential?"
We've put links below to all the areas we've found "Essential" items in that Amazon have pledged to replenish stocks on as quickly as possible - take a look - we found eco & hypoallergenic laundry detergent & moisturizer under baby stuff, wipes under Baby Products and in Health and Household we found a few sanitizers and priority products in personal-care appliances that made some of the team chuckle. Last but not least, Beauty and Personal Care showed up a few surprise items including makeup wipes with alcohol in and which would probably be better than nothing if you have to make essential journeys which involve touching things (but we're not saying this makes anything safe, because who knows, right?)
One thing we'd struggled to find locally online was pet food - thankfully Amazon are even looking after that area - but here's a little known fact - did you know there are normally around 7000 dogs in and around Amazon Headquarters that folks are actually encouraged to take into work? We discovered this when in Seattle recently at the USGBC LEED Net Zero training... We sure loved that!
A footnote during this difficult time
We wanted to take this opportunity to convey to our Ecohome members and readers the importance of reliable online information about Coronavirus and COVID-19. Please exercise good judgment when looking for information about COVID-19 and we refer readers to the WHO website for accurate information. Alternatively, in the USA refer to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website or in Canada you should look on the Canadian Government site here.
Take care out there please, protect yourselves, and even better, stay in except for the essential trips out. Keep in touch, and most of all, be kind and thoughtful - we're all kinda scared of the unknown, and that's ok. Let's pull together and Stop the Curve by Sheltering in Place. #stopthecurve #shelterinplace.
For those who have to go out for supplies, remember to check with older friends, neighbors or family members to see if you can pick up supplies for them on the way. And a message to the younger generation - if you are in a grocery store with older people, please given them an extra wide berth, and consider letting them cut in line so they can get out of there quicker. This is a lot scarier for them.
To all the awesome healthcare professionals out there on the front lines, and the essential workers who are keeping the basics running that society has often overlooked, we are forever indebted to you.
To anyone whose friends or families have been affected, or may be affected by this terrible virus, our thoughts and best wishes go out to you also - and here's hoping to us all getting out the other side as soon as possible in good health.
If you've got any ideas that may help, feedback, or even requests - please post them in the comments below and we will try and assist as quickly as possible. There is a palpable sense of community forming in this time of crisis, that is a wonderful byproduct of this horrible situation. The virus will pass, but the kindness we are showing for each other, we hope, will stick around.