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The Impulse Quarantine Purchases We’d 100% Buy Again

How are you coping? Or, you know, “coping?” The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and many of us have been living in varying degrees of extreme isolation in best-case scenarios for months; it’s been about a year since I last saw my mom and brother and I have no idea how much longer it will be! Anyways, while there are certainly other (and arguably healthier) coping mechanisms than stress shopping, I don’t think we should totally rule out any options just yet. And sometimes impulse buys work out really well! In service of that fact, we’re here to tell you which emotionally compromised quarantine purchases we heartily stand by and would enthusiastically recommend.

Rachel Kincaid, Former Managing Editor

A white upright steam mop with cord

I have gathered you here today to tell you about my steam mop. Like many of us, my relationship to the physical reality of my home has been more intense over quarantine, and one day I woke up convinced that I could take my apartment’s general status to a new level with floors that were effortlessly, gleamingly clean, with wine stains and weird pet secretions dissolving away like my memories of dive bars. I impulse ordered this steam mop, accepting as I did that it could never live up to my fantasy – except it did?? My floors were cleaner than they’d ever been in half the time and without puddles of cleaning liquid or piles of used Swiffer pads. I felt like I was living in a goddamn infomercial. I will never be without this steam mop again, unless it’s to replace it with an even fancier steam mop.

Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor

A smiling plus size model poses in a dusty rose zip up sweatsuit

Honestly the greatest quarantine impulse buy I purchased was this plus size sweatsuit from Old Navy, with a zip in the front, so it’s kind of slutty if you unzip it and show off your cleavage even though it’s literally a soft fabric onesie, the likes of which toddlers wear. I got it in black and “cedarwood,” which is kind of a rusty dark pinkish red color, but it is now sold out in black so unfortunately you will only be able to buy it in cedarwood. I like the cedarwood color though, 10/10 would still recommend! I will say in general, any soft pants you think you need to buy? You probably need to buy. Some friends and I were chatting a few days ago and one admitted none of their clothes fit now and they’ve been extra hating their body and I passed on some very simple advice I once received from my mother that is weirdly challenging to put into practice but changed my life and perhaps it will change yours: If your pants don’t fit, buy new pants. Buy them in a bigger size. Do not punish yourself by sitting around all day — during a PANDEMIC — in too-tight jeans that don’t fit. Life’s too short. Just buy yourself new pants that fit — why not buy stretchy soft sweatpants that fit?! — and get on with things. It doesn’t have to mean anything. They’re just new pants in a larger size. You do not need to suffer more than anyone already is suffering. That’s my hot quarantine shopping tip: you deserve clothes that fit you and those clothes should be very soft pants, ideally a slutty soft sweatsuit if you can find one in a color you like that isn’t sold out. Also if you do find some more slutty soft sweatsuits, please let me know, because ideally I’d like to never wear anything else ever again, thank you so much.

Riese , Editorial & Strategy

I feel incomplete as a person without a fresh manicure, so obviously the pandemic has been an utter tragedy for me in that regard. But I am here to share with you two (2) things I purchased that helped quell this distress.

Firstly, I must mention that several moons ago, we purchased some gel-setting UV lamps for a manicure station at camp, but never used them because the gel polish arrived damaged. Robin was like, “do you want to take these?” and I was like, “okay.” I took the UV lamps home with me, where they have sat in my cabinet asking me why I keep things for so long that I have never used, UNTIL NOW. Early on I got Vishine Black White Gel Nail Polish Collection Base Maincure Nail Art Kit, which contains a foundation, color, and top coat, all for doing a gel manicure at home. (I already had clippers, cuticle trimmers and a cuticle pusher). It’s all pretty easy to use and I use the UV lamps I kept from camp to set. Do they last as long as normal gel manicures! They do not! But it’s fine because also who is even looking at my nails lol ahhhh

For a quicker manicure or for touch ups or to replace one nail without having to get the entire kit out, I’ve started getting Olive & June nail polish. It seems to last longer than any brand I’ve ever used before.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Managing Editor

A blue Le Creuset dutch oven

I bought two Dutch ovens????? Honestly, it was actually an error. I meant to only purchase one Dutch oven, which is a perfectly reasonable amount of Dutch ovens to have. But due to a comedy of errors that is not even all that comedic, I ended up with two big ol’ Dutch ovens. And it has been THE BEST MISTAKE. I use both of those suckers all the time—often at the same time. I can make TWO SOUPS AT ONCE which perhaps pre-pandemic would have sounded like an unnecessary extravagance, but the ability to make two soups at once has actually been delightful and life-changing. There are times when I’m like……..should I have THREE Dutch ovens? And the answer is honestly no. But also maybe? You can do so many things with them! Braise meats, make sauces, stew soups, ROAST A CHICKEN. As an added bonus, cleaning and putting them away makes me think I’m getting an arm workout. So really they might be the most multipurpose thing I have in my kitchen at the moment! Also, you do not need to spend multiple hundreds of dollars on a Le Creuset btw. There are plenty of lower priced options. But also if I do finally snap and get a third, I’ve been yearning for a Dutchess from Great Jones.

Ro White, Sex & Dating Editor

A vintage style teardrop shaped bulb and faux rope cord

My apartment is small and doesn’t get much light. Since I’ve been spending a lot more time in here, I’ve been investing in my space little by little. Some of my quarantine purchases include fancy candles, better storage options and a damn CINNAMON BROOM (which is truly game-changing). But my greatest purchase thus far has been this hanging light. It’s cheap and simple and fits my aesthetic — plus, it adds light to the darkest corner of my space. Now that I have all kinds of lights of various heights and intensities around my apartment, the space feels bigger and brighter and less likely to send me into a depressive doom spiral.

Ryan Yates, Writer

A disco ball

The best thing I’ve bought in quarantine (so far??) is this disco ball, which I wanted for months, finally purchased in late April, and couldn’t bring myself to open for days because it felt so decadent and maximal and I… am neither. When I DID open it I hung it above my fridge basically immediately, which sounds like a weird spot for a disco ball but I assure you in my house it is perfect (also my number one spot choice was right next to a fire alarm and using a drill up there seemed like a bad idea), and now it shimmers and reflects and when the evening light streams in or I turn on the kitchen lights it bounces dots of light around the kitchen. It swings wildly in earthquakes and my dog looks at it with suspicion for days, but even so, it looks like it is supposed to be there. It looks like it has always been there. 10/10, would recommend.

Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor

By far the best thing I bought all quarantine was this hammock. During the summer, I tried to spend about 30 minutes reading in it per day in it, weather permitting. For one thing, it’s extremely pleasant and relaxing, and for another thing, it sort of mimics the sensation of being held which is GREAT when you’re completely isolated for many months and maybe nobody will ever touch you ever again!!!!! Anyway then I had to move to an apartment with no outdoor space so I bequeathed it to my parents, who now get to relax in the sunshine and send me videos of my tiny niece swinging in it. I think that particular hammock is sold out everywhere (I bought it on Hayneedle) but overall I would recommend the hammock experience in general, and I would NOT recommend an apartment with no outdoor space during a lockdown, no sir.

Oh, the other thing that’s been really great has been this $11 party light, which is great for making your dark living room feel like the club.

Drew Burnett Gregory, Senior Editor

A dark wood hope chest style piece at the foot of a bed.

I don’t really love to online shop which I’m sure has saved me a lot of money in quarantine. I’m very tactile and I like to hold something or try something on before I buy it. The only splurges I’ve made have been on records and Blu-Rays (shout out to the Agnès Varda Criterion set). But my favorite quarantine purchase has by far been this chest I found on CraigsList. I love my new living situation but my room is small and doesn’t have a closet. I wasn’t really sure how to solve this problem until I realized the suitcase with clothes at the end of my bed could be replaced with a chest! I searched around and found this antique chest that this woman in Venice Beach was previously using to hold her witchcraft materials. I love it so much! I move around a lot so my furniture is usually Ikeaesque, but this feels like something I’ll hold onto long after I no longer need to use it as a closet.

Kamala Puligandla, Former Editor-in-Chief

Quilted pillow shams with a graphic white pattern on light blue

I have a strong Taurus moon and I like to treat myself. This didn’t change at all in quarantine. By far the best purchase I made was the combination of these firm Target pillows and the extravagant Dusen Dusen coverlet of my dreams — the jacquard weave is out of control nice! — that came with two pillow incredible shams. I’m obsessed with the puffy bounce of these pillows in their soft, quilted cases! And after a day of working on my couch, it’s nice to retire to a totally new horizontal environment where these soft pillows crowd around me and it feels like being in bed with a pair of soft bellies.

Valerie Anne, Writer

I won’t lie, most of my favorite purchases this quarantine have been comfy pants. I previously only owned traditional pajama pants or yoga/workout pants, but I have learned the art of the ~~lounge pant~~ over the past few months. From floofy, lined sweatpants, to poplin pants (great for hot weather or also overactive radiators) to boxer briefs. And, to go with the comfy theme, I also got an electric lighter with which to light my 3-wick candles, of which I have an endless supply.

Natalie , Writer

A powder blue record player

Aside from the Nintendo Switch — which, technically, wasn’t even bought for me but that has nonetheless become part of my daily routine despite the fact that I am absolutely terrible at video games — the best thing I’ve purchased during quarantine was a Victrola Vintage Bluetooth Record Player. My dad’s old records have been collecting dust for years and quarantine felt like a great time to put them to good use. Every weekend, I’d drop the needle on some soul classics and soak in all the nostalgia…flashing back to the Saturdays we spent dancing and singing along, as we cleaned our rooms.

The only downside to my purchase? I’ve become one of those people who really believes that everything sounds better on vinyl and now I’ve developed a new thing to spend my money on during the quarantine.

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  1. My best impulse buy is a ginormous 14 oz (400 g) tin of loose leaf green tea that I bought in March during the last in person shopping trip I made before my state locked down. My spouse was skeptical at first but we both got in the habit of making a cup or two of green tea every day to break up the work from home routine.

    And Valerie-Ann – those poplin pants look cute and comfy. I’m in need of good lounge pants that are compatible with hot flashes.(My yoga pants feel a little too much like sausage casings during the bad ones)

  2. Mine was a BIDET!

    My priorities when LA was going into shelter in place were 1) Frozen TJs meals and 2) weed. A few weeks in I realized I was running out of TP and there was none to be found ANYWHERE. Definitely a spendy impulse purchase (no cold water for this butt! I got a fancy one with a warmer element) but it came jussst in time and I REGRET NOTHING. In fact my dad just bought himself one based on how much I rave about it lol

  3. Mine was definitely a Kobo e-reader to replace my broken Kindle. I’ve gotten so many things out from the library without having to leave my house. Also, it’s got buttons and a touch screen so I can read and hold hands with my wife at the same time <3

  4. i have impulse bought so many things in quarantine! i impulse buy to cope with stress and i have never had so much stress. i also had to move in the pandemic which! bad! but a perfect opportunity to get New Things including upgrading my bed to a king size.
    “is this too extravagant for me, a single person with one slightly tubby cat?” i wondered. the answer? absolutely not. perfect amount of decadent. there’s room for me to starfish, my cat to sprawl, and my eight emotional support pillows of varying sizes, textures, and firmness levels.

    other items i have acquired: a sewing machine. a bass guitar. model airplanes. a seventy two piece set of double sided felt tip markers. a 1917 victrola.

    • Same on stress buying so many things and also moving and that being an opportunity to buy so many additional things! Mainly furniture which is just so much more right than the old furniture.

      I actually really hate shopping and spending money, but it’s more like the stress makes me want to nest and build the most comfortable possible living environment by any means necessary.

      I think it’s worth it, at least mostly. It’s some sort of coping strategy lol

  5. Without the pandemic, I never would have thought of getting an electric body hair shaver. But it’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought. If you like body hair existing but neat I highly recommend one. My household also impulse bought a new board game every month and it’s the only thing that’s kept us sane through this whole thing tbh.

    Wish I had a pandemic puppy though.

  6. blerch i gotta say the phrase “cinnamon broom” was immediately repulsive to read- i think i was picturing like a vileda that just kinda sprayed cinnamon from amidst the bristles ?? anyway glad to learn the reality is much more cottagecore than eldritch cleaning nightmare

  7. So many things! 1. Comfy pants, yes 2. Cozy oversized sweater that makes my head look tiny but I don’t care because it’s like being wrapped in a hug 3. Books! I usually just use the library but they were shut down for months and I am in a position to support local businesses, so 4. Therapy! This was an impulse after an argument with my partner 5. Fancy robe so I can feel like a fancy lady

  8. Four pajamas and a onesie. New pillows and bedding. Several plants (two still alive). San Junipero art. Cooking book. Air pods. A kindle full of lesbian romances but zero pandemics. I regret nothing.

  9. Drew, that chest is magical! It looks like something from a Miyazaki movie!

    My impulse buys: a double hammock, a record player, a Switch to play animal crossing, and 400 postcards, which I’ve been sending out through a reddit-based exchange (which is much, much lovelier than it sounds).

  10. Virgo moon (and sun): I impulse* bought a vacuum cleaner that actually works and a bicycle! I can go places farther than 3.5 miles from my house without taking the bus – amazing!

    *some might say researching these purchases, mulling them over for two weeks and checking my household accounts projections for a few different scenarios to be sure I could afford it would make them not impulse purchases, but two weeks of mulling is so significantly faster than my usual that they count as impulses to me ;)

  11. i have not acted on this but i have been having an overwhelming urge to rent a cello. i played viola in middle school so i think i can get away with youtube and a good tuning tool, and i just wanna play simple melodies. i’m doing my 2021 budget in Dec and we’ll see if it fits!

  12. I’ve been doing things with photos. I blew up my fave pic of me with the nephew nuggets, had it printed on canvas. I miss them even when we’re not in the midst of contagion. So being able to see this amazing pic 20x its original size gives me smiles in my tummy. Also, getting custom Bob’s Burgers portrait(!!!) made with them in it–one nugget engaged in a squeeze bottle condiment battle with me, the other in Gene’s burger (!!!!!!) suit. And–love them though I do–they’re a little challenged in the ability to express gratitude. So, I made them custom thank you cards on Shutterfly with their pics dressed as superheros. Get them into the habit since this Xmas they won’t be able to thank people in person for gifts. Annnd I’m getting them son/parent gratitude journals.

  13. I impulse bought a new roof. Granted we did need a roof but when I heard squirrels squirrelling around one day I was quickly spurred into action (last winter they moved in, then one died (we assume) then the flies feeding off its squirrel corpse also moved in).
    They did most of the work today so let’s hope this is the start of a squirrel and inside rain -free winter.

  14. I bought a slack line to learn to walk on. It gets me outside but is easily transported to any new beautiful outdoor spot. It’s a great workout and even greater practice in patience and perseverance (two things I find myself really needing in pandemic times)

    And bonus, it helps stabilize my core enough that people have been telling me I look taller! I will take any quarter inches of height I can get!

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