Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

27 Sep 2021, 13:04 p.m.

Prep For Shortages And Delays -- Meds, ID Cards, Books, Etc.

The global supply chain is dealing with a lot of shortages and delays, and there's no sign it's going to get better anytime soon. (Some explanations: thread, thread, NYT piece.)

People are figuring out how to deal with this, and I'll offer some ideas for making your household more resilient.

Inventory the medicines you take; see whether you can get an extra month's worth of any prescription meds you take, as a buffer in case of disruption. This may cost extra but would give peace of mind.

I wouldn't be surprised if something slows down the manufacture and delivery of fresh identity, credit, insurance, etc. cards. Check the expiration dates on the cards in your wallet and see if anything needs renewing.

Supplies of things you depend on that are made out of paper or wood may be disrupted. This includes books. So now's a good time to figure out how to get comfortable reading ebooks. If you buy ebooks from DRM-free suppliers like Weightless then you can read ebooks on your computer, phone, or tablet with free applications like Calibre. A lot of Kobo ebooks are DRM-free. And check if your local library lends ebooks (New York does).

If there's anything you regularly buy that comes from overseas or has unusual packaging, start looking for substitutes.

Other (non-food) household supplies to consider: batteries (especially unusual batteries for medical devices), light bulbs, soap, matches, dish sponges. These are things you'd use up anyway over time, and where it's really annoying to do without if your area runs out.

And if there is an appliance, machine or piece of furniture in your life that is beginning to fail, now would be a good time to proactively seek out any spare parts you will need to repair it when it does fail. Spare parts to fix cars and other machines are getting harder and harder to find.

You may find siderea's guides on preparing for the pandemic useful, especially the sections on food and household supplies. Much of what she says is freshly applicable.