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How to safely welcome packages into your home during a pandemic

Has the Coronavirus impacted or slowed-down your online shopping habits? Or the contrary, has your online shopping increased since we have been under stay-at-home orders and social-distancing? If you have been shopping  more online, what if any safety precautions are you taking for opening packages and bringing new products into your home. While I have definitely saved money from being on lock-down at home over the past few weeks (e.g. saved on gas as I am not driving anywhere, lunch as I have been working from home and cooking all meals at home etc.), I did make a few purchases online. You probably have heard me say this before but I don't shop online too often because I truly do enjoy walking down the aisles of retailers like Target, TJX, Marshalls and Burlington and being surprised by a find that I didn't even know I needed. Before COVID-19, on one such random visit to Marshall, I purchased an exfoliator + mask which my skin seems to be loving at the moment. Who else is excited to emerge from "quarantine" life with the best skin ever! Anyway, I decided to order more of the exfoliator/mask as I was starting to run low, and of course picked up a few other items as well. I mean how else would I qualify for free shipping, and now you see why I hate online shopping lol. I made only two other on-line purchases since the pandemic started and to me that's pretty good considering some people are shopping a lot more online solely due to boredom. This pandemic is definitely forcing us to be more resourceful and to use what we have as opposed to just randomly buying things that we may not even need. It's interesting how our priorities have changed from want to focusing more on necessity, at least for me that is the case.

I wanted to share the safety measures I take for handling cardboard packages, mail and even things like my magazine subscriptions which I am grateful have continued to be delivered. One of the things that caught my attention with regards to magazines however is that some arrive nicely enclosed in plastic protection, while other companies don't even bother or seem to care that by the time the magazine arrives at your door it's all beaten down. Anyway, I digress as this is not the point of this article.

Below, are steps that I take which makes me feel safer when bringing new mail/packages into my home. As a disclaimer, there's no scientific basis or guarantee that my method will prevent the spread of any virus, but this is what I do, and it makes me feel empowered that I am doing the best that I can to stay safe and healthy and taking all pre-cautionary measures. Feel free to share any other tips you may have! I have feeling that some of the tips I am sharing  will be habits that I keep even when things return back to "normal."

Here are my suggestions for handling mail and packages during this pandemic:

- For regular mail, leave out for a few days before opening

- Wear mask/gloves when opening mail

- Magazines that are wrapped in plastic, remove  plastic wrapping from outside wearing gloves and face-mask or some type of face covering such as a scarf. Treat the other magazines like regular mail and leave out for few days before flipping through. For example, I leave mines in outdoor patio to air out for a few days before bringing inside of my home.

- For cardboard packages, wear mask and gloves and open box outside in open area. Throw the box away without ever bringing it into your home

- Wipe items with disinfecting wipes before bringing inside of your home

- Once inside, you may also clean certain items with water, vinegar and even bleach depending on the item and packaging before storing away (e.g. fruits/veggies can be cleaned with water and vinegar; beauty products such as my exfoliator/mask I cleaned with water, vinegar and soap)

- After handling packages/mail, don't forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds as recommended by the CDC.

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