Hot Chocolate? Check.
Bubble Bath? Check.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? We all know it’s the best one. Check.
Sometimes we all forget to do important things, like get our cars checked before they actually die in the middle of the road. What’s one more little engine light?
Preparing for winter doesn’t seem to be too hard, right?
To avoid putting up storm windows in a blizzard or having a burst pipe in your basement, I’ve created the ultimate winter checklist to keep your head above snow this winter.
The best time to prepare for winter is in October, before it gets really, really cold. Start outside with our winter checklist essentials.
1. If you have a sprinkler system, get it winterized. It’s nothing more than turning off the water supply and blowing compressed air through the lines, but there’s plenty of services that will do this for you.
Make sure it’s done before Halloween or you might end up with a pond in your basement by Christmas.
2. Put the air conditioner to bed by spraying it off with a hose, cleaning out any dirt or debris and then covering it with a breathable appliance cover. (If you have window units, bring them inside and clean them out, you won’t need them for a while).
3. Cut any tree branches that could fall on yours (or a neighbor’s) home. The last thing you need this winter is a giant tree crashing through your bedroom while you sleep.. Or a bear through your window.
4. Mow the lawn (one last time), clean the gutters, rake the leaves, clean up the slip-n-slide and all the beer cans off the deck.
Nothing is worse than trying to stay warm inside on the couch while you can still see your own breath. Don’t risk getting frostbite in the middle of your Netflix marathon. Keep the cold out and the warm in with our inside winter checklist.
5. Guard against winter chill by installing a door sweep under any exterior doors to stop drafts from entering your home, freezing your toes, and contributing to your heating bill. Caulk any gaps between siding and window or door frames to keep the heat in and the cold out.
6. Save on fuel by wrapping older water heaters in a blanket of insulation.
Do not insulate:
Pre-insulated water heaters.
Water heaters located where the added heat is welcome.
Water heaters whose manual or paperwork warns against insulating.
Tankless (on-demand) water heaters.
7. When insulating a gas or propane water heater, be careful to NOT cover the burner access (blankets don’t play well with flames). If you’re nervous about doing this, call your utility company, some offer free insulation kits or may even install it for you.
8. Replace screen doors with storm doors and window screens with storm windows.
9. Set ceiling fan blades for winter. (Yes, there’s a difference in summer fans and winter fans because science). Setting fan blades to move clockwise in winter to lift cool air to the ceiling and push heated air down where you can enjoy it. Set them on low and set the thermostat a notch lower and enjoy the warmth.
10. Check to be sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
11. Check the roof. This is particularly important if you live in an older home. A lot of contractors or roof repair companies will do check your roof for free.
Hit up the store:
When the storm hits, you don’t want to go to the store because you might die trying to drive there, and chances are the shelves will be empty anywhere. So be prepared with our shopping winter checklist.
12. Don’t wait for a blizzard to buy ice melt, you know you’re going to need it, so buy it early. You can also use kitty litter in a pinch if you need to but your cat might be pissed at you for a while.
13. If you can’t take a snowblower’s roar or the back-breaking work of shoveling, check out a wheeled shovel that does much of the heavy-lifting for you! This might actually make shoveling snow fun! (Just kidding, it still sucks).
14. If the power goes out, you’re going to need candles, better get plenty. And whiskey. Plenty of that too.
15. While you’re at the store, you probably better stock up on hot chocolate, wine, spicy chili and romance novels.
On the Road:
Winter roads are no joke. Trying to navigate a highway in white-out conditions or slipping and sliding your way into work every day is definitely not the highlight of the season.
Before Jack Frost visits, be sure you are ready with our car winter checklist.
16. Check your antifreeze levels, transmission, brakes, and air filters.
17. Replace your car windshield wipers and fill deicing fluid.
18. Check and replace your car battery.
19. Fill your tires and check them frequently.
20. Make yourself a winter road emergency kit with the following:
Bag of sand or road salt
Tire chains (it helps if you actually know how to put these on)
Flashlight and batteries
Water and food
First aid kit
The phone number of everyone who might owe you a favor
Even the CDC has some winter checklist rules! They say to keep these items on hand in a readily accessible emergency kit if you end up in a winter storm that never ends, like Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid.
Portable cell phone battery
Emergency warm blankets
Non-perishable food items
Portable gas stove for heating food and water
First aid kit
Let’s be honest, we’ll never be THAT prepared. So, you know what, forget everything I just said.
These are the real essentials.
1. Stock up on wine and cheese
2. Grab all love notes from exes and pictures of high school crushes to burn for warmth
3. Salt – for margaritas
4. Cell phone charger so you can keep bitching online about how damn cold it is.
5. Access to real estate listings for California, Hawaii, and Florida.
6. Amazon Echo Dot: “Alexa, is it still snowing?” “Alexa, order pizza.”
Double check to be sure you have these items on hand recommended by those who have been there, done that.
…And maybe some of the tips above my list could be helpful, too.
Winter is no longer coming. It’s already here.
Thanks for the heads up, Ned.
(Get it… heads up?)
Too soon, I know. I couldn’t resist.
Got any tips that I missed? Share the knowledge and comment below!