What Items Should Be Winterized?
Winter Can Be Harsh
You should winterize yourself first.
- Stock up on tissues, you'll need them.
- Raise your immune system with vitamin C, Echinacea, and Goldenseal.
- Pull out all those winter clothes and wash them so they are fresh when you wear them.
- Begin using a strong moisturizer with lanolin and/or aloe after you shower or bathe Use moisturizer before you go to bed and after a long stint in the cold as well.
- Stock up on lip balm and make sure you always have some with you.
- Eat healthy to prevent colds and the flu from sneaking up on you.
- Stay active. Winter has long been the time of staying indoors which can actually make you further susceptible to colds and the flu.
For your car, you will need to:
- Get the oil changed if not done recently.
- Check your fluids: antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and steering wheel fluid. Check with your operating manual for location and instructions.
- Check your tires for winter travels. Be sure to check what pressure your tire manufacturer recommends for the cold.
- Check your windshield wipers, changing them at the beginning of winter will help them keep your windshield cleaner throughout the cold season.
- Pull those ice scrapers and brushes out of the mothballs and get them in the car (a credit card will only work for so long).
- Put a collapsible shovel in your car in case you need to dig yourself out of heavy snow.
- Keep a kitty litter and salt mix in your car. This mix is good for traction. Keep it in a sealed container so your trunk is not damaged.
- Always have a blanket or two packed in your trunk. Thermal ones fold very small and really work.
Be Sure To Get Outdoor Items Under Cover
Yes, the cold will still do some damage, but putting them under a roof can reduce the damage and keep them from rain and snow.
- Winterize your yard decorations and outdoor toys.
- Put those little plastic wagons, trucks, and toy boxes (and anything else you might have that's plastic) in a dry protected area to keep them from breaking in the cold.
- Put the hose away after draining all the water out.
- Put away those lawn chairs and tables, leaving them out might cause them to rust or mold.
- Put away the umbrella you used for shade. Just putting it down may not be enough when those winter winds start blowing.
- Put away the porch swing cushions, and any other cushions you have outside.
- Put away the rake, hoe, and other garden implements so you can find them next year.
- Put away the electronic tools like the lawnmower and pull out the snowblower.
- Put the bikes away where they won't rust.
- Cover the grill and put it securely against something if you can't put it away.
- Put away anything that can't stand the weight of snow or the intense cold from a winter storm.
- Anything that must be left out should be secured to something solid to avoid being blown away.
- Although this is common sense, be sure that you have pulled the Holiday decorations to the front so that you can easily reach them when needed.
Many plants can stand the cold if properly cared for before the first frost. Be sure to find out if the plant you have can withstand the winter cold and what steps are needed to protect it. Bring plants inside if possible to keep them blooming in the winter.
NOTE: animals (and kids) eat many of the plants that come into the house so be careful to keep them up high especially if they are poisonous.
Winterize your pantry. That's right, the pantry. Fill it with dry pasta, soup mixes, soup fixings, canned soups, canned spaghetti, anything that can be eaten hot to warm the insides (and can be eaten should you get stuck inside because of a storm). Be sure to have all the necessities for baking because baking is a wonderful way to pass a cold winter day. And above all, don't forget the cocoa! There is nothing better than to come home on a cold winter day and eat a hot bowl of soup and drink a hot cup of cocoa. If you keep frozen bread dough in the freezer, you can make fresh hot bread to go along with the soup.
Also check out the paper stock: toilet tissue, facial tissue, paper towels, paper plates, and plastic silverware. If you get snowed in you might be happy for those little items you packed away just in case.
Winterizing can be as easy as closing your doors, but keep in mind that the heat you are paying for can easily escape poorly sealed doors and windows.
- Cover the windows with plastic.
- Line the doors with fresh material so they close tightly. Put a rug against the bottom of the door to prevent drafts.
- Cover and seal any air conditioners that you can't pull out of the windows.
- Put foam insulation sheets in your plug outlets and light switches, especially the ones on the outside walls.
- Put insulation on your piping that is close to the ground or outside walls.
- Wrap your hot water heater with insulation to use less electricity and have it serviced to ensure it's working right.
- Get your chimney(s) cleaned and have your furnace cleaned and serviced. Fill your oil tank if you use oil (or kerosene if you use that).
- If you have a fireplace, check for blockages and stock up on wood (put the wood or at least a wood pile close to the door so you don't have to go far to get it).
- Put up heavy curtains to keep out the cold air.
- Vacuum the heater vents to remove dust and dirt that may have accumulated over the summer. Move everything away from heaters to prevent damage or fire.
Another great idea for the house is to pull out the slow cooker. There is nothing better than a slow-cooked meal when you get home from work. The slow cooker is a life saver when you can't be home to cook.
Finally, Your Thoughts
So many times we feel trapped when the cold weather hits. We can't just go outside because we have to get on coats, boots, hats, and scarves. It's not as easy to go out to the store because the roads might be bad. Snow might block the shed where the shovels are kept. The cold wind might make it too cold to sit outside. So winterize your thoughts. Cold can be fun.
- Pull out the little electric fireplace and have a game night in front of it with popcorn and hot cocoa.
- Think of the shoveling as great exercise.
- Think of the snowy roads as an excuse to build a snowman in the yard with the kids, or go sledding or ice skating.
- Think of the cold nights as a good time to cuddle up with the one you love.
- Spice up apple cider and enjoy hot cider and a good movie.
- Roast marshmallows in the fireplace.
- Make handmade decorations for the holidays.
- Bake, either for fun or for gifts.
- Just sit in a window and watch the snowfall.
- And smile, because the cold won't last forever, but you can have a lot of fun until it is gone.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Cheryl Simonds