Every year winter comes for a visit and it’s always the same. You prepare, you get stuck inside, and inevitably… you forget something important.
While it’s easy to remember things like propane stoves and turning off the water so the pipes won’t freeze, the odds are that you’re going to forget something important so let’s try to stop that now.
Today, we’re going to talk about 9 items to stock up on before winter that can make a huge difference.
Just stock up on these and if you and your loved ones get stuck inside, at least you’ll know that you’ll be well prepared to live comfortably!
Without further ado, let’s get started on the items you are going to need this winter!
First-Aid Supplies and Your Medications
If you’ve ever had a medical emergency in winter, then this is one of the first things you’ll naturally add to the list.
For the rest of us, this is a habit that you should get into NOW because when the winter comes you might not simply be able to go to the pharmacy and if you need serious medical attention that ambulance could take HOURS.
Investing in a basic first-aid kit just makes good, solid sense. You might not need it, but if you do, it can make all of the difference. Your first aid kit needs to contain at least the following items:
- Burn gel – Burns happen and they get infected quite easily, so a small winter accident can become a serious concern when you are stuck at home. Burn gel can soothe the pain and help to keep infection at bay so you’ll need this in your kit.
- Ibuprofen – Ibuprofen, if you aren’t allergic to it, is the ‘MacGuyver’ of medications. It works as an anti-inflammatory, so it will keep swelling down, it helps with pain, and it brings down fever. Some hospitals even prescribe large amounts for respiratory infections like pleurisy! Make sure that you have some!
- Antiseptic spray – Hydrogen peroxide is cheap and great, but consider an antiseptic spray. You get the benefit of cleaning your wound and a little pain relief in the bargain.
- Gloves – Sterile gloves can help you for keeping wounds clean or if you are helping someone else in the house, you can do it without the worry of anything getting on your hands.
- Tweezers – Tweezers come in handy. If you get a splinter or something else stuck in you and you don’t have tweezers then you’ll have to cut it out or wait for your body to deal with it. Trust us, you don’t want to be stuck at home with long days and a painful splinter.
- Wrap-around Bandages – Bandages protect a wound and if you wrap them tightly, they also apply useful pressure. They also store well, so even if you don’t use them for years, someday you’ll be glad that you have them.
- Scissors – You’ll need these to cut bandages and tape.
- Tape – Thick, adhesive tape can help you to secure bandages and gauze.
- Disposable ‘sticky’ bandages – Quick and easy, these help you to protect minor cuts so that they can heal cleanly.
- Gauze pads – Perfect for larger wounds and very handy to have!
Having these items in your kit is a good start, but don’t forget the necessary medications. If you take particular medications, check online pharmacy resources and see if you can order at least a 1-month supply in advance. See FEMA.
Some insurance providers will allow you to purchase a 1 -3 month supply and this can be a godsend during a long, cold winter.
3-Day Supply of Non-Perishable Food and Water
While more is certainly better, if there is even a slight chance that you might get snowed in for a day or two, it’s good to have some non-perishable food and water stocked away for just in case.
Some good, non-perishable items to consider are as follows:
- Bottled water – Try to get a 3-day supply by following a simple rule of 1 gallon per day, per person. This gives you half a gallon per person to drink per day and half for their cleanup ration.
- Trail mix or mixed nuts – Nuts are high in calories and great energy food, plus they just happen to store quite well.
- Peanut butter – Peanut butter is cheap, doesn’t need refrigeration, and it’s chock full of useful proteins and fats.
- Powdered milk – Milk goes bad quickly, but powdered milk can help you get by until you can get to the store again.
- Cereal – Cereal stores very, very well and you can eat it with your powdered milk even if the power is out.
- Bread – Bread goes bad fast… unless you freeze it. Stock a few loaves, stick them in the freezer, and if the power goes out then just hide the loaves you aren’t using in a plastic container outside.
- Dried fruits – A healthy way to get a little sugar and vitamins.
- Canned meats and veggies – Tuna, corned beef, mixed veggies… Canned goods are great in a pinch and they last a long time.
- Dry pasta and sauces – Pasta stores easily and you can feed a lot of people cheaply with it.
- Multivitamins – Hedge your nutritional bets by having multivitamins stocked away.
If you have pets, don’t count on the pet store being open when the weather goes bad. You might even be able to get deliveries in the mail, so be sure to stock up on food bags well in advance to make sure that your furry or feathered companions are well-prepared to tough out the winter with you.
Flashlights and Batteries
The power can go out at any time in the winter, so you need to be stocked on lights and power mediums like batteries.
You can take it a little further by purchasing portable power banks along with your batteries. The power banks ensure that you can charge your phone if the power is out for too long and the batteries will keep your flashlights up and running.
Speaking of flashlights, if you want to get the most out of them, go with LED flashlights. LED lights last longer and take much less power than a standard bulb. This is vital for winter as you never know how long the power is going to be out or how long you’ll need it.
LEDs make sure that you’re going to have light when you need it.
If you have particularly severe winters in your area, then you might already own one of these. A crank-powered radio is quite useful when winters get extremely severe.
They’ll let you hear emergency news for your area, advise you which roads have been opened, and provide other critical information when nothing else in the house has power anymore.
Best of all, you charge it by turning a crank, so it doesn’t rely on anything but elbow grease. So if the power goes out, a wireless crank-radio ensures that you won’t be completely cut off from the rest of the world.
A Shovel and Sand
It’s going to get icy outside and if need to go somewhere, then you need to be prepared. A shovel and a few bags of sand empower you to keep your walkways and your driveway clear during the winter or simply to prepare these areas should necessity force you to brave a trip outside.
The last thing that you or your loved ones need is an accidental slip that causes bruising or breakage, so don’t forget to get yourself a shovel and some bags of cheap sand.
It seems like common sense, but it’s easy to forget to stock up on blankets. Having extra blankets ready and waiting before winter is a very good idea. Thermal blankets are especially great for this. Bad weather tends to come quickly and to stay long enough to wear out it’s welcome.
Having extra blankets mean that you can stay warm, even if the power is out, and if a friend or family member gets stuck there with you that you still have plenty to go around.
Another thing that is easy to run short on when the weather is forcing everyone to stay inside is toiletries. This goes doubly so if you have a family, as things that you take for granted such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and especially toilet paper tend to disappear very quickly.
Be sure that you stock up on these items in advance and it might be a good idea to hide a box of some of these supplies somewhere in the house, so that if everyone is stuck inside for a while and they aren’t listening about conserving supplies.
Well, you can let them run out and break out that box once they’ve all promised that they’ve learned their lesson.
If you run into an emergency where you have to drive, then you are going to need to be prepared. Depending on your location and the severity of your winters, this might mean that you should invest in tire chains well before the winter comes for its long and inconvenient stay.
Check your local laws before you purchase tire chains, of course, and after that, you can likely get yourself a good set for between $100 to $200. This will help to ensure that if you have to travel, you have a good chance of getting where you are going.
You also need to prepare your car for the winter and this means that you need to be sure that you’ve got antifreeze in your car to prevent your fluids from freezing and to ensure that you don’t inadvertently damage your car when you are trying to use it.
Finally, don’t forget about gas. When winter is coming, you never know when a serious cold front is going to descend, so don’t let it catch you unawares. When the season is getting close, get in the habit of topping off your tank so that you will always have a full or almost full tank of gas.
You might not need it but if an emergency happens that is bad enough to make you want to venture out, you’ll be very happy that you had the forethought to prepare.
In Conclusion | a Little Preparation Goes a Long Way
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this list of 9 items to stock up on before winter. Be sure that you take advantage and get these items now before they become more expensive or simply impossible to get.
Yes, there is a chance that you won’t need all of these items, but if you’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of ‘roughing it out’ when the roads are closed and you are stuck inside then you will surely agree.
It’s good to know that if the worse should happen, at least you and your family will be prepared!
Image by Dmitry Demkin via Shutterstock.com
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