Preparing Your Family for Winter

Put your hoverboards for sale away! As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drift downward, we need to prepare our homes for the winter – it’s just a few weeks away! Here are a few areas to get started in now so you’ll be ready for that first frosty day:

English: House snowed in

English: House snowed in (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Stow away the summer clothing and sandals until next year. You need more space for bulky winter items, and small children won’t engage you in a power struggle over wearing flip flops in the snow if they don’t see the flip flops at all.
  • Have the kids try on the winter clothing they own now. Ascertain what still fits and what doesn’t. Locate their hats, scarves and mittens (bonus points for both mittens), and get them neatly stored at their level in your mudroom area. Make a list of anything you need to replace.
  • Consider flannel sheets. Flannel sheets feel warmer to climb into at night and retain heat better than percale.
  • Get heavy-weight curtains on windows, especially in bedrooms. Heavy curtains serve as easy insulators for windows, keeping chilled air contained.
  • Stock up on batteries and candles. Winter power outages aren’t a good time to realize you have no batteries. Candles make power outages feel cozier and not so scary for smaller children. Don’t forget to put batteries in your alarm clocks for backup. If you didn’t change batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on Daylight Savings Time End day, do it now.
  • Buy rock salt or cat litter now for icy roads. Consider getting a large bag for the garage and keeping a small bag in your trunk.
  • Know your zone. If you live in an area where winter storms are typical, read FEMA’s preparation guide and list areas that you need to work on for your home or vehicle, especially if you’re new to the area.
  • Have your fireplace inspected. Get the firewood you need now, since the price will rise as the temperature falls.
  • Review your medicine cabinets. Throw away any expired medication and replace medications you’ll need for colds and allergies. This will keep you from having to make midnight runs to the 24-hour pharmacy!
  • Consider space heaters for bedrooms . These allow you to dial back your thermostat at night. Make sure the space heater you choose is meant to be used indoors.
  • Ask your children’s schools how bad weather statements will be handled this year. Will the school call your cell phone or e-mail you? Then make sure they have all of your contact information. If the school district uses particular news outlets, write down which stations to listen to and post that information on your fridge.
  • Make sure your car is ready for colder temperatures. Check your tire pressure and antifreeze levels. Store a couple of blankets, bottles of drinking water, and non-perishable snacks in the trunk in case you get stranded in bad weather.
English: New Jersey car covered in snow and ic...

English: New Jersey car covered in snow and ice after Valentine’s Day blizzard 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia

  • Stock up on warm beverage items, like hot cocoa, marshmallows, tea bags, and honey. Coffee addicts in areas prone to winter storms should have extra coffee on hand just in case – no one wants to be snowed in with a caffeine addict experiencing withdrawal.
  • Consider installing a digital outdoor thermometer. It’s easier to read than the traditional liquid type, and often they have alarms that will beep once the temperature hits the freezing point. This will let you know when to drip your indoor faucets and bring plants and animals inside.
  • Review winter safety with older children. Make sure they know not to walk on frozen areas of water unless they are officially designated as safe for skating. Review with your children what to do and what NOT to do if they see a person or animal has fallen through the ice.
  • Put aside some inexpensive, indoor activities for your children in case severe winter weather keeps you indoors, like coloring books and crayons. Print out a homemade play-doh recipe and keep the ingredients on hand. Make a list of fun, non-electronic things kids can do, like wrap holiday presents, if you’re snowed in without power.
  • Print out a few recipes and purchase the ingredients ahead of time in case you’re snowed in for a day or two. This will keep you out of the rush at the stores when severe weather is imminent. Make sure you have a manual can opener!