I have a problem: Yes, I know this is my subconscious’s way of trying to take control in uncertain times. Ridiculous subconscious.

I used to have self-control.

That was before I got hooked on the ‘tizer.

First I got small packages.  What Bath and Body works had in order to keep me in the classroom come Fall.  I didn’t pay attention to scent.  Most of the Spring scents available were unobtrusively pleasant and mild.

Then I ordered a huge supply from office max or something that would keep us set conceivably for the entire pandemic (we could just refill the little bottles as necessary, I thought).  It didn’t come in small sizes.  But that package didn’t come and didn’t come.

So I ordered more small containers from Bath and Body Works.  And I started noticing that I liked some of the scents better than others.  It came in different forms– gel and spritz.  Both were nice.  The spray was especially good for voter registration and protesting.

Finally the Office Max order came.  I had the generals for a hand sanitizer army.

But by this point, supplies were loosening up.  Hand sanitizer started being more readily available.  And the fall scents came out at Bath and Body works.

I desperately wanted to try these pumpkin spice and related scents.  And I wanted to get rid of and never use the summer scents that smelled strongly of men’s cologne.  Ocean.  Gingham.

I realized I could give some of these unwanted hand sanitizers away as prizes.  Surely that would justify buying more.  Even though I had enough large containers of the unscented kind.  So I bought the fall scents.  And some of those scents (Flannel, Eucalyptus spearmint ) were too strong and went into the prize pile.  Others were lovely.

But I only used up about one little container a month of the stuff I liked (DH tended to use the unscented bottles but wasn’t going through any quicker), and they came in packs of five.  And winter break came and I wouldn’t be going out anywhere.  I wouldn’t need any more sanitizer until school started again (though we did put some out along with snacks for delivery people to take).  Even though the winter scents had come out and I very much wanted to try them.  Peppermint.  Vanilla.  But no, Christmas would be over before I had a chance to use them again Spring semester.  Vaccines would be widely disseminated long before I could get through my army.  DH’s job-loss meant we were no longer stupidly high income.  I resisted, looking wistfully at the page every few (let’s be honest, I want to say weeks, but it’s actually) days.

Then the winter scent five-packs went on sale for $6 each because the Spring scents were coming in.

I caved.

My Hand Sanitizer Army

My Hand Sanitizer Army

I’ve been pretty good since– the spring scents are out and I haven’t tried all of them, but I haven’t felt the need to get more.  Maybe that’s attributable to Joe Biden.  Or maybe I need to whittle the army down a bit before building it back up again.  Sadly the left Clorox container is almost empty and I was really lucky to score the right one at Target last month– we’re responsible for providing our own wipes and wiping down everything before each class.  The university provided us with exactly 10 wipes at the beginning of the school year along with a single terrible quality cloth mask (somehow DC1’s high school provided their kids with a way better quality mask including 3 layers of different fabrics and a nose thingy).

Have you been collecting any pandemic-related gear like sanitizer or masks?

18 Responses to “I have a problem: Yes, I know this is my subconscious’s way of trying to take control in uncertain times. Ridiculous subconscious.”

  1. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    Not pandemic related exactly but pandemic adjacent? I’m not sure what to call it but I’ve been buying 3x the amount of clothing I normally would in any given year to be comfortable during and after the pregnancy. With JB, I just had a small set of maternity clothes and then I lived in giant old tees after. With Smol, I’ve gotten a set of skirts to wear in layers, then soft joggers when I outgrew the skirts, then pile-lined sweats when it got too cold to exist in single layer clothing.
    We are building up a stash of masks inadvertently though, come to think of it. Someone at PiC’s company seems bored because they keep sending masks out to people in varying styles and degrees of usefulness.

  2. Leah Says:

    One of my friends has an Etsy shop for her masks. I have bought a lot. It’s pretty much all I wear. I get ones for me with ties instead of elastic so I can adjust perfectly. Ear elastic is tough with glasses and a hearing aid.

    I keep wanting to get more. I might get more for our first grader who is back in person (in a small class of 13). I find it helps to have three masks a day for her: morning, afternoon, and a spare. My friend sews ones with nothing, and I add the right size of super soft elastic for her.

  3. Omdg Says:

    I’m just addicted to buying things on Amazon that arrive to my house between 1-2 days later in perfect little boxes. I bought a curling iron this past week for no other reason that I want to play with my daughter’s hair. Who even knows if she will let me. This really needs to stop.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I have a much greater understanding of my grandma now– she was always getting “as seen on TV” collections that would send like a plate or spoon or music box or ornament etc. every month. Once the collection was complete she would give it away!

  4. FF Says:

    My hand sanitizer stash is just a few small bottles of unscented (I get contact dermatitis from fragrance) and larger bottles with which to refill the small ones. I have several different masks, but it’s less a collection than an attempt to find something comfortable–my favorites are silk/cotton. I’ve also been amassing a collection of nonperishable groceries and household supplies that I don’t really have the room for. And I’ve bought 5 new houseplants and 12 jigsaw puzzles (did 8, gave 2 of those away). The plants have given me a lot of pleasure–they are all flowering plants and have been doing surprisingly well with the winter gloom up here in the frozen north. Looking forward to acquiring more when the weather is warmer (and maybe a larger plant stand).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My face mask collection is definitely attempts at having enough masks that are comfortable and seal. So we have a lot of face masks, but don’t use most of them (I also give them away as prizes, though mostly people just take the old navy ones that are fine but don’t fit as well as our etsy ones and don’t have designs that DH is likely to wear. The redbubble ones are so useless.).

      I taught double-masked today (KN95 first layer, etsy cloth second layer). It was fine, though the bottom of the KN95 definitely irritates my chin and on the top there was a teeny air-gap that shot a very concentrated air pillar into my left eye-ball (which I guess means there was a good seal elsewhere?)

      • CG Says:

        Haha, air pillar in your eyeball! I mean, I’m sorry that happened because it sounds uncomfortable, but your description of it made me laugh. I have not used much hanitizer (that’s what we call it at our house based on what my youngest called it when she was little) since the early days when I was so freaked out about going to the grocery store. Now I just wash my hands when I get home. I have eczema and on bad days any hand sanitizer stings like torture. And I don’t like the smell of most of them. Bath and Body Works does have some that I like the smell of in the moment, but they tend to linger for hours and hours and then I don’t like them so much.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        There’s a HUGE variety in smelliness. My favorites are the gentle vanilla scents which don’t tend to linger so much. My least favorites are reminiscent of Axe Body Spray that last forever and provide an additional miasma around the user.

  5. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I’ve been sewing masks so that everyone in my family has at least 7. We’ve branched out into rainbows and unicorns lately.

  6. C Says:

    We have masks from several different vendors due to trying to find ones we liked. We have cloth ones from four different other vendors before eventually going all in on the under armor sports masks which we liked the best in terms of being 3 layers and relatively comfy, and I just bought a variety of KF94 to up the game in terms of filtration. We also have GALLONS of hand sanitizer made at a local distillery. I also have an entirely new workout wardrobe now that I have to be outside rather than in a nice climate controlled gym, plus an enhanced collection of kettlebells and dumbbells. Plus quite an extensive ramen stash and many, many beans. And in terms of collections that were deliberately acquired more than accidentally accumulated, a bunch of various toiletries from various smaller business vendors that I bought in the name of keeping them in business/making sure I had enough to last for years if they closed: shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel, and lots and lots of hand cream.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’ve been doing a reasonable amount of collecting teas from the places we like in the city. I sure hope they stay in business. At the beginning we also bought a bunch of olive oil and fancy vinegars, but those take a long time to run out.

  7. Alice Says:

    My main things are probably food and—lately—long underwear. We have limited kitchen storage, so my backups of things live in previously unused dresser drawers, the floor of my closet, and bits of space in linen closets. I’m unhappy about food storage branching out into non-food parts of the house because it reminds me of my mom’s spending/hoarding behaviors after my parents’ divorce…but I’m telling myself this level of preparedness is not permanent.

    We have masks and hand sanitizer, but leave the property so seldom that there isn’t much drive for more.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Our pantry is definitely way more stocked than it had been previously. But… I don’t think that’s crazy because some weeks we just can’t get some random pantry item, so we try to always have an extra or substitute on hand instead of buying when we run out. DH has also been complaining about how the freezer has been overfull (some weeks we can’t really fit everything in there without some ingenuity), though we’ve cut down quite a bit on that recently as it’s become easier to get frozen vegetables than before.

  8. First Gen American Says:

    I was going the opposite way and pantry purging these last couple of weeks. Plus I had projects so didn’t really have time for a big shop anyway. The food supply chain finally feels stable again in my area and I feel less of a need to fill the freezer. It was pretty bad when the only snack left was some wrinkly old dates.

    I also need to do more clothes purging. Goodbye things that are too short but I kept anyway because they look fine under a blazer. Bye nice sweater that I feel bad donating because spouse really did try but it looks bad on me.

  9. RBOC | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] that I’ve bought all the hand sanitizers, my new thing seems to be scrolling through jetpens.com (not a sponsor) and pretending that if I […]

  10. In which I collect things | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] before pens, it was hand sanitizer.  And masks.  I have more of either than I will ever use (though I did manage to give away a lot […]


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