Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to prepare your home, car, and kids. Make sure you load up on ingredients for winter meals and plenty of hot cocoa. Let’s look at a few tips to make winter easier for you and your family.
Keep the Heat In
Winter gets cold, so make sure your heater is in top working order. Schedule a professional maintenance check and avoid costly breakdowns later in the season. It’s also a good time to change out your air filter. A fresh filter ensures that your HVAC system traps the dust and irritants that cause runny noses and coughs.
The south side of your home gets the most sun in the winter, so open the drapes or blinds on that side. At night, close all drapes and blinds to insulate against the cold window glass. Don’t leave kitchen or bath exhaust fans running for extended periods of time. Turn them off when you’re done. Check your vents and make sure nothing like furniture, carpeting, or drapes is blocking the warm air coming into the room.
Stock Essential Supplies
Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients to make soups and stews. There’s nothing like a hot meal to warm the body on a chilly day. Use spices, herbs, and root vegetables to flavor your winter recipes. While you’re at it, stock up on the supplies you need in case a winter storm downs the power lines.
Some food items to keep on hand include bottled water, peanut butter, canned juices, crackers, bread, and baby food if you have a young child. Also, carrots, squash, apples, raisins, and nuts stay fresh a long time. Keep apples in the fridge for up to a month. Other items important during electrical outages include:
- Pet food
- Flashlights and batteries
- Extra blankets
- Jugs of water
- Salt and sand to spread on driveways and sidewalks
- Medication supplies to last several days
- First-aid kit
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio and clock
Keep emergency supplies in your car too in case you get stranded. Check your antifreeze levels, battery, and tires. Always carry jumper cables, small shovels, an ice scraper, and flares in your car.
Bundle up in Layers
Winter means warm clothes, and nothing keeps you warmer better than layers. Make sure your children wear several layers, like t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets, during cold snaps. A good rule for youngsters is to add one more layer than you wear yourself. Keep plenty of hats, gloves, and scarves on hand for bundling up. If you live in an area that expects snow, make sure your family members all have snow boots.
Before the first snowfall, buy a sled. The plastic ones are inexpensive and offer hours of fun for kids and adults. Also, keep plenty of board games on hand and extra batteries for electronic games in anticipation of days when staying indoors is your only choice. Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If you’re shivering, it’s time to go in.
Follow these tips, and remember to bundle up and stay safe this winter.