Winter is coming! No really, in my little Iowa town we received our first snow of the season Sunday night early Monday morning. It’s time to have put all of your summer gear to rest for the season if you haven’t already done so. If you live in the Midwest winter is on its way if it hasn’t already started in your area like it has in mine. Some key things you need to do here in Iowa to prepare for winter are your basic winter preps like: putting the hose away; storing the lawn mower/winterizing it or any other summer time equipment you use; picking up the yard to make sure there are no toys sitting out in the yard to get buried under a blanket of icy snow; get your snow shovels/snow removal tools at the ready making sure they are in working condition; bring out the winter coats & snow gear; get your vehicles ready for winter; & lastly make sure you have your sidewalk salt or whatever you use ready to go! I am sure there is a lot more I am skipping over but those are the top ones on my mind at the moment.
Seeing to how this year has not been kind nor gentle on anyone person in the entire world somehow I don’t feel like this will be a gentle winter like last years was here in Iowa. Winter has opened the door and is still coming; it has only just begun and I fear it will not get much better. Last winter in my area compared to the year prior was a very light winter the winter before left quite a lot of areas around mine devastated when spring came as the thaw was just horrible and flooded a huge majority of the Midwest ruining crops, land, & livestock not to mention peoples lives in general. Then when you’d think it couldn’t get worse it did because 2020 came out of no where in the crap department. Last year was a party compared to how this one is currently going and may continue to go if this winter is heavy, cold, & frigid.
In my mind there’s not a lot that can be done besides preparing the best that we can for what may be headed this way ahead. I will ask the question again; Are you prepared for winter?
If you are great; but if your not no problem I figured I could at least run through some of the above winterizing in detail and perhaps a few more things that could/should be done just in case during the winter months.
5 Ways to Prepare For Winter
#1 Prepare Your Yard/Outside Area
Let’s start from the outside looking inside with your yard/property. For my house which may or may not be similar to yours but will talk about some main things to think about when preparing for winter out there. By now your gardens should have been tucked in for the winter or at least everything that would have needed to have been planted before it snowed should have been done quite a while ago. Now is not the ideal time to plant anything out doors at least where I live; if it happens to still be planting time for fall & winter lasting plants like some garlic varieties you should get right on that because time is almost up if you are in a wintery area that often see’s a cold snow or worse. On the topic of gardening; any tools that you had used for gardening or raking leaves may not do you any good buried under a blanket of snow at least it doesn’t do me any good. It is best to put them all away for the winter out of the way until springs arrives. Instead of gardening tools, rakes, or shovels used for moving dirt around you will need a snow shovel and other winter equipment so best to make the swap for those tools most used in the winter months now rather than later! Most people don’t mow the snow instead use a snow blower to push snow away from driveways and sidewalks. It is time to tuck the mower in for the winter perhaps in a nice warm garage or shed; if for some reason you are like me and do not have either I encourage you to improvise a little bit. I usually wrap a big tarp around my mower to keep the weather off of it. You can even add in a bungie cable to make for a better wrap that stays in place. I then will find a spot close to the house that can be both out of the way and under the porch area for security. If you own a pool or other things with water in them like hot tubs or small garden water features you should drain the water out of those to prepare them for freezing temperatures. Hoses should be disconnected from spigots, wound up to put into storage after draining, & spray nozzles should be put away as well. If you have lawn furniture/outdoor furniture or even outdoor toys make sure you get the furniture put away if possible or covered up to protect them. Toys & bikes should be put away as well or even covered with tarps to keep them in good shape as snow may cause them to rust or fall apart due to moisture. If you are a griller it would be best to have a safe place for grilling closer to the house if you plan on grilling during the winter or just in a good level place where the elements won’t be a problem for you or your house while cooking this winter. Once the yard is in tip top shape I would evaluate it one more time just to make sure you don’t need to do something else to prepare for the winter months; then finally don’t forget to stock up on some outdoor ice melt/salt for keeping walk ways safe.
#2 Prepare Your House
The outside yard should all be in order but what about the inside? If there is any kind of doubt in your head that something inside your house is not working correctly or even working the best that it can work you might want to consider having it checked out especially before those winter months come knocking on your door! Last year our heater stopped working mid winter and luckily for us it was something that was fixable then not to mention cheap otherwise things could have turned out a lot worse than they did. It was our first winter in our new house that we had just bought in April and buying a brand new heating system for our house was not on the list. It happens though and that is why it is important to keep things up meaning making sure regular maintenance is done on those items. When things like your air filter needs changed change it when something stops working get it checked right away by someone who knows what they are doing rather than taking a guess or trying to do things on the cheap. You might end up paying big money later on by not taking care of them the right way the first time around. If you have an entirely different heater rather than one that runs on electricity/gas you will need to run through your own checklist to make sure all things are running correctly and it has been cleaned up. Wood burning heaters need to be cleaned because of ash build up in the chimney or in the furnace itself. On top of checking up on your heat source for your home to make sure everything is in order no matter what kind of heater you are dealing with it is also a good idea to check windows and doors to make sure that there are no drafts coming in through cracks to keep the heat in and the cold out. If you run into a problem you can always find a solution with the help of the internet that may lead you to fix it your self if it is simple enough or get help from a professional.
#3 Prepare Your Pantry
A well stocked pantry is a necessity all the time not just in the winter time however with the possibility of being snowed inside in my area of good ole Iowa I tend to make sure it is well stocked for sure during colder months. I would also like to add that since it is the year 2020 I wouldn’t want to take a chance on another unprepared catastrophe as we all learned that lesson months ago. I have been in the process of expanding my pantry for my family because of recent events little by little. A good stocked pantry should give you enough food to last your family of whatever number for at least 3 months or longer depending on the level of readiness you have prepared for. You should start to aim for 3 months at first then head for that 6 month goal and so on. My families pantry is mainly a rotating pantry but I am also storing food for the long term use as well. While most items I am stocking up on are food & drinks I am also pushing to stock up on other household essentials such as toiletries, soaps, & medical items. A good food to think about stocking up on is canned food as they have a longer shelf life than other boxed foods or maybe even can your own foods that is if you can find canning equipment as they are harder to find this year more than ever. I will link my past posts that touch up on stocking up a pantry that I have written on my blog with in the past months. Look for those links below this paragraph shortly. Having a well stocked food pantry for your family is important no matter the season but especially winter time and especially now! Long Term Storage: Food and Everything Else. Get Prepared!
#4 Prepare Your Family
Winter here in Iowa can get really cold with freezing temperatures & icy snowy conditions. If there was ever an emergency due to an accident, the power ever goes off due to a snow storm, or what if something else happens that needs to be talked over; your family should have a talk about what to do in different scenarios. You need a plan! My husband & I have three little boys to watch over so we need to be able to give them instructions on what they should do incase of different emergencies/winter events occurring. Make sure you practice what to do incase your kids would need to call “911” if something happened that required it. And also make sure they know when it would be necessary and when it’s not. Of course they need to know how to call on a phone or get to a neighbors house if they cannot get it to work for some reason. In the event of your car sliding off the road due to ice or snow a talk with kids should be set a side just for what should they do in the event that such a thing should happen, especially if mom or dad were injured. It is important to make sure your family is prepared for anything & everything including sickness.
While I am on the topic of preparing your family I think that making sure that you and your family is prepared for those sicky days that come with the cold and the icky weather. It is important to prepare for everything. When you go out to get food for your house or pantry be sure to take a little extra if possible to stock up on basic necessities for those icky sick days as well. I mean how will you get through winter if everyone gets sick and with nothing to help relieve some of those icky symptoms or make them better?!
A big thing that is needed to prepare for winter for anyone in my area or any place that it is cold is to have nice warm winter coats , hats, gloves, snowsuits, scarves, & boots! Making sure my family and I are prepared for winter with all of the necessities for keeping warm in the snow and cold is another top priority!
#5 Prepare Your Vehicle
As I mentioned above about preparing your family for winter and all types of scenarios if such a scenario involving a vehicle occurred how well would you be prepared in your vehicle? Is it stocked up for such an event? Ever since I was little growing up in this state I have been taught over & over to make sure I am prepared in the event that my car goes off into a ditch or even having car trouble on the side of the roadway in the cold. I always make sure to have some very important items in my vehicle just incase such as:
- Warm Blankets– to help you keep warm. If your car were to ever get stuck in a snow drift you should turn your vehicle off due to gas fumes that can back up into the car causing carbon monoxide poisoning if your not aware of it happening. If your in that situation it would be tempting to leave the vehicle on but what if the tail pipe is blocked. Until you know that it isn’t blocked you should be safe than sorry. Snuggle up with some warm blankets & who ever is in your car.
- Snacks– just in case your ever in a situation where you are stranded it is a good idea to keep some snacks in the car just in case. I would keep sodas in your car due to them exploding but instead bottled water might be better.
- Matches/Lighter-just in case because you never know when a fire source away from your vehicle of course may come in handy for warmth or alerting someone for help.
- Scissors/Sharp Knife– safely kept in a lock box would be the best spot somewhere within reach incase your seatbelt ever becomes a trap and you or someone else becomes stuck in one. Also you never know what other uses you can use it for.
- Extra Coats/Gloves/Boots/Socks– pack extra clothes for you and any kids you may have in the car with you. Any extra layer will help keep you warm in an event you are in a cold car in an emergency or something.
- Hand Warmers– fairly cheap hand or food warming packs that heat up when activated will help warm you up in an emergency.
- First Aid Kit– One big necessity is a first aid kit with a variety of items for medical emergencies that can’t simply be fixed or can’t wait until emergency vehicles to arrive.
- Cat Litter/Ice Melt– something to give your vehicle some traction in the event you become stuck on an icy patch. You can pour some litter or ice melt by your tires for much needed traction and you might just avoid having to call for help.
- Ice Scraper– to clear your windshields from ice or snow.
- Anti-Freeze/Wiper Fluid– it’s pretty hard to clear your windshield to see out of if you don’t have some sort of wiper fluid for your vehicle.
- Flashlight/Reflective Item– in case you need to flag another vehicle down in the dark. Also Something reflective will keep you visible to other vehicles.
Are you prepared for winter 2020?
Do you live in an area where it gets cold or snows?
What are your winters like?
How do you prepare for winters?
Have any other tips?
Let me know below in the comments and maybe I wasn’t clear on some feel free to ask in the comments as well I have done my best to write this while juggling three boys one who is sick. Thanks for reading along! Drop a like below and follow my blog too to stay in the loop when a future post is posted. Follow me on social media. Stay tuned for more posts coming soon!