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Winter Checklist: Everything from Infrared Heaters to a Pair of Sweats

Woman taking notes

Winter's here and there's lots of planning to do. How do you get your house in order? Below are ways to organize your home and prepare your family for winter. These quick and effective suggestions will get you ready for a cold and maybe even snowy season.

Get Organized

Make a list. There are lots of changes to make and this is a great way to start. Pack all of your summer gear in containers and get out your winter supplies. This can be anything from blankets, sheets, and play equipment to snow clothes, heaters, and humidifiers.

Go through family clothing and set aside the items that don't fit and donate them to charity. There's no reason to store clothes that your kids have outgrown or will be outgrowing over the season. Get plastic containers and store all the items that won't be used over the coming months. Some items might include summer clothes, sandals and beach toys.

Unpack winter clothes and donate to charity any outer wear that doesn't fit. The things that do fit should be washed and refreshed for use. The same rule applies for indoor wear. Make sure sweats, sweaters, coats, and long johns still fit the family.

If they don't, then donate them. You might need to go shopping and buy some new thermal underwear, sweats, gloves, hats, and maybe even snow gear. If you're living on a budget then check your local thrift store, a lot of people donate snow bibs from year to year.

Spoiled Dog

Stay Warm

To increase the warmth in your home, make sure it is sealed properly. Apply weather stripping to windows and doors if needed. This can be found at your local hardware store. It's easy to apply and keeps drafty cold air out.

Check your heating system to make sure it's operating properly. If you're having problems with your heating system then contact a professional and have it serviced. You're going to need heating when it gets really cold.

Invest in a space heater for a little supplemental warmth. Choose a space heater based on your needs. An infrared heater warms the immediate area and then spreads warmth around the room. A ceramic heater can be a little drying but it warms more space faster than other options, and an oil filled heater warms spaces slowly and retains heat longer once shut off.

Take out all of those throw blankets and comforters you packed away over summer. These items will make bedrooms and family rooms ready for cold weather too. Also, make sure everyone has enough cozy clothing to bundle up in. Slippers, warm pajamas, and fuzzy socks are great ways to feel warmer. Increase home insulation to make sure heat retention is up and cover windows with thermal draperies to keep cold air out.

Kitchen Organization

It's winter, so plan accordingly. Make sure you've stocked up on all the necessary items. You never know when it's going to snow and you can't get out and go to the store. Stock up on packaged foods like soups and hot beverages. Make sure you have plenty of canned goods on hand. Also stock up on bottled water. You should have an emergency container stored so if there is a power outage or you get snowed in, you'll have everything you need.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, you need at least a three day supply of nonperishable food. Their suggestion, "choose food your family will eat, remember special dietary needs, avoid foods that will make you thirsty, choose salt free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with a high liquid content."

On the lighter side, change your summer menu to a wintery one. Cook hotter and heartier foods and start baking too. Winter is the time to add a little hominess to your kitchen. Everyone's cooped up, spending more time indoors than out, so bring the family together and get cooking. It's a good time to help your growing children to find their way around the kitchen, learn about spices, and how to bake their favorite snack.

Canning is a great way to store food and preserve it over the winter months. Homemade canned goods also make great gifts. When you can't get out and shop because the snow is keeping the roads closed, break out your canned jams and jellies and give them away. It's a personal gift, one people love receiving.

Indoor and Outdoor Entertainment

Family playing in snow

Keeping kids busy in the winter is never easy, especially if they are cooped up indoors. So make sure you have games and activities available. Board games, card games, trivia, puzzles, flash cards and story books should be placed in bookshelves so they're easy to reach. If your child is a video gamer make sure you have a collection of video games available too. This will keep them occupied when going outside isn't an option.

Cleanup all your outdoor snow toys. Make sure sleds, skis, and snowboards are in good operating condition. Outdoor playtime is fun, especially when it's snowing. It's important to keep kids active through the winter. Winter activities might include building a snowman, looking for animal tracks, or trying out geocaching.

Geocaching is a treasure hunt game using a smartphone or GPS. All you have to do is browse discover and share. It's fun and a great way to get outdoors. For information follow the link to discover more!

For yourself, make a list of books you'd like to read over winter. Stock up on your favorites and any new titles you want to read but haven't found the time to do so. Also list any DVDs you've been planning to watch but haven't. The winter season is a good time to catch up on old and new favorites, and get involved in the geocaching fun yourself. It's a great way to bring out the explorer in you.

One Last FEMA Suggestion

Winter safety is important, especially in colder environments. To further ensure a safe and organized wintery season, prepare an emergency kit. FEMA suggests having the following items available should an emergency arise.

  • Battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter any contaminants
  • Moist toilets, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with charger, inverter or solar charger

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