Wintertime is when it’s essential to be organized. The weather is unforgiving, and things can get pretty bleak if you are unprepared. In this post, we share a few winter home safety tips so you can start prepping as early as Autumn to ensure that you are ready for winter before the dark nights start to descend
We will show you how to make a family command center, organized with everything you need to get you and the kids out of the door all warm and
We will give you a winter prepping checklist and talk you through the jobs you need to do in the home to prep for winter!
Why you should get ready for winter as soon as possible
Let’s zoom ahead by a month or two: You’re running out of the door with your arms full of school and work stuff. You’re late again because your kids were causing chaos. Suddenly a great blast of icy wind hits you out of nowhere. Your heart sinks as you see the unexpected layer of thick ice on your windscreen. Panic sets in as you look at your kids shivering beside you.
You haven’t got time to drop the mountain of stuff you’re carrying to dash upstairs to dig their gloves out of storage, or you’ll be late for school.
You have no choice but to leave, unprepared, cold, and driving while peering through a tiny hole in your icy windscreen.
You start believing you are the worst parent in the playground, as everyone else’s children arrive with their gloves, hats, and winter coats on.
You then spend the day feeling guilty that you sent your kids to school with no gloves and wearing their summer coats. You convince yourself those little fingers will freeze and fall off by lunchtime. You start Googling frostbite.
We’ve all been there, and it’s not surprising because the UK typically has four seasons in one day, usually with some severe snowy weather thrown in for good measure!
Benefits of preparing for cold weather
- Your kids can find their hats, gloves, and scarves as soon as the weather turns cold.
- You can defrost your car quickly.
- You can find all you need in stormy weather.
- You will have protected your house against cold weather.
- You have less chance of the boiler breaking down.
- You have less chance of burst pipes.
- You will have a well-stocked pantry.
- Your car will be winter-ready.
- Your house will be more secure.
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What to do now to get ready for winter
The end of the summer is a great time to start thinking about things you need to do to prepare for winter. You can start by following this winter preparation checklist.
- Get your boiler checked and serviced.
It’s well known that boilers have a funny way of breaking down on the coldest day of the winter. Don’t risk being without heat in the cold weather. Book your
boilerin for a check and service today!
- Bleed your radiators
This is a quick job to prepare for the winter. It will save energy and help you keep warm air circulating through your home. A radiator key like this one is one of the cheapest things you need to protect you from the winter cold.
- Check your roof is watertight.
Preparing for the winter season includes outhouses and garage roofs. It’s much cheaper to get someone to check they’re in good condition than to pay for any repairs caused by water damage from a loose tile.
- Clean out the gutters
This is one of the most important cold weather tips for the home, it is a morning’s work, but stops drains blocking and guttering from getting damaged due to the weight of heavy wet leaves.
- Get carbon monoxide detectors fitted.
This is one of the most important winter safety tips we should follow. As we have more heating on and fewer windows open, it is important that we have carbon monoxide monitors like these fitted near high-risk places such as the boiler to prevent any carbon monoxide-related deaths.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that you can’t smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you feel unwell, and it can kill if you’re exposed to high levels.
There are around 60 deaths each year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales.
- Replace fire alarm batteries
The risk of fire increases in the winter due to open fires, candles, Christmas tree lights, etc. Get brand new batteries fitted to your smoke alarms, or get one fitted if you don’t already have one. It’s always important for winter safety, and better to be safe than sorry. You can now have fire alarms fitted to the mains, so you never need to worry about extra batteries.
- Check all fencing ready for winter storms.
It’s better to replace one loose panel now, than the whole fence after a winter storm!
- Turn off all outside taps.
This simple winter tip could save you money on burst pipes this winter! Around the end of September, we turn off the water supply to our outside tap. We also cover the tap with a special cover like this one for extra protection from the cold weather.
- Keep your car filled up with fuel.
Journeys may often be diverted to a longer route, or motorways may come to a standstill due to winter accidents on icy roads. If you’re stuck in a traffic jam in the winter, you need to keep warm and have the heating on. Keeping your car full of petrol will stop you from panicking when the unexpected happens on a long journey. Get into the habit of filling your gas tank on a Tuesday every week so you never get caught short.
- Check the weather conditions before setting off on a long journey.
Always check the national weather service for traffic reports and warnings before you embark on a long journey. Never travel in poor weather conditions.
- Stock up on candles and matches
Even though power outages are rare these days, they can still happen during winter storms. Keep candles and matches close to hand just in case you get stuck in a power outage or a power surge. Candles are one thing I love about getting ready for winter.
- Replace batteries your torches.
Keep a torch in the car, by the front and back door, and one upstairs in case of emergencies.
- Fit draft excluders to the doors
Keep the cold air out and the warm air in! Don’t leave this job till the last minute. The temperature can drop anytime!
- Secure your home
With the dark nights drawing in, check all doors, secure window locks, and use security timers on your lamps. Keep those burglars out!
- Check all external lights.
Black ice can be treacherous in the dark. Make sure all lights and security lights are working for dark winter nights.
- Stock up on food and bottled water.
When winter illnesses and Norovirus hits, it’s good to have a stock of food in the house in case of emergencies. For tips on freezing and preparing food for winter, read this post. Batch cooking is easy to stock up and get ready for winter.
- Brush up on survival skills as a family
Teach your kids what to do in case of an emergency or fire.
Learn how to fix a tyre.
Show your family where the stop cock for the water is and where the fusebox is situated.
Prepare a family emergency kit .
Learn how to prep for a winter storm and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Brushing up on some basic survival skills as a family is a smart way to learn how to get ready for winter.
- Set up light and heating timers.
Winter has fewer daylight hours than any other season, which can be a hunting ground for intruders. Secure your house by getting light and heating timers like these ones to switch on when you are not home.
- Insulate all external water pipes
Burst pipes can be expensive if you can’t turn off external water taps, insulate the pipes to save money, and prevent expensive damage from the icy weather!
- Check your home insurance
Its always sensible to read through your house insurance to make sure you do not need extra cover for things like storm damage or floods.
Foods to stock up on for winter.
Stocking up for winter helps you to cope if there is an emergency. You cannot get out to buy food if you’re hit by winter flu or the Norovirus sickness bug. The flu and sickness bugs often wipe out the whole family, so it’s good to have a stock of healthy foods to rely on in a crisis. Buy your tins and pantry staples when they are at a reduced price and put them away for the winter months.
- Beans. Baked beans, butter beans, red kidney beans, and chickpeas are great to add to curries, soups, and stews for a hearty winter meal. Beans are also an excellent base for a stew. I prefer to buy them dried and cook them in the pressure cooker.
- Lentils are great in soups, salads, and stews. They are very versatile source of protein.
- Oats are great for making granola, porridge, overnight oats, and baking.
- Tinned goods, fruit, vegetables, beans, fish, if it’s in a tin, keep it in!
- Frozen vegetables are an excellent standby for side dishes, stews, and smoothies.
- Frozen fruit, I use these daily in smoothies, and they are excellent in overnight oats, as the juice soaks into the oats for a delicious breakfast. Frozen fruit is also versatile for baking and making fruit pies.
- Long-life milk is always great to have in stock when you’re too ill to pop to the shops.
- Water. Bottles of water are essential for keeping by the bedside when illness strikes, it’s important to keep those fluids up!
- Nuts are a great source of protein to keep in stock and they can be added to salads, stews, or breakfast cereals.
- Pasta, is a great, simple, speedy meal in a hurry, and a jar of pesto and some frozen or tinned veg!
- Rice is a healthy base for any meal or salad and a great storage item!
- Pesto sauce is excellent to eat with pasta and simple to throw together! It’s also a great spread on bread, added to stews for extra flavor or used on a pizza base.
Getting the kids ready for winter.
Preparing your kid’s winter clothes is another integral part of getting organized. Make sure your cloakroom is clutter-free and organized to help your kids get off to school with little or no fuss in the mornings.
A command center is a central space, like a launch pad, where everyone can find their belongings. It is usually situated at the front door, so everyone can check their schedule and grab their belongings as they go out.
Using a command center is a good way for kids to learn to hang their belongings. You don’t have to spend too much money creating a launch pad. A couple of coat hooks and a chalkboard to write everyone’s schedule are all you need, along with a few baskets. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just as long as everyone knows where their stuff is, and it works well for your family.
- Go to your cloakroom or coat/shoe area and take everything out (yes, everything)
- Give the room a good clean.
- Ensure that coat pegs and bag hooks are placed low enough for the smallest child to reach so they can be responsible for hanging their coat.
- Put all the summer shoes into storage.
- Replace the summer shoes with two pairs of winter shoes each.
- Provide a tray to place muddy shoes and wellies.
- The rest of the shoes (less often worn) should stay in the wardrobes and return there after each wearing.
- Donate any unworn or outgrown shoes and coats. Make sure these are removed from the house as soon as possible!
- Hang up all jackets and coats (except those worn daily) in the bedroom wardrobe.
- Coats can become quickly cluttered as we need enough coats to cope with the changing British weather! Coat closets are usually small spaces under the stairs or entryway, so it’s essential to keep the area decluttered and organized. The way to keep this area organized is to be very strict about what you keep there for daily use. I prefer to store one winter coat per person downstairs.
- Place one set of hat and gloves for each child in a drawer or basket with their name on. Buy each child several pairs of gloves in one plain color, so when one glove goes missing, you will always be able to make a pair.
- Hang a large weekly planner in the entrance with details of afterschool activities and things they need to remember to take to school.
- Make sure this area is decluttered and cleaned at least once a week so it stays organized and clutter free. This will help your kids become more independent and be able to put things away.
Getting the car ready for winter
You will need to prepare your car for the icy winter weather. As the temperature drops, the risk of accidents increases, as do the chances of getting stuck in traffic. Make a list of the things you will need on your journey and ensure you are organized.
- Winter snow tires for driving in freezing rain and snowy conditions
- Deicer to make getting out in the mornings much quicker
- Ice scraper for scraping the car windows
- Ready-mixed anti-freeze to prevent your windscreen washers from getting frozen
- Soft, warm car blankets in case you break down. These come in handy to keep the kids cozy in the winter too!
- Water bottles, in case you break down, I like the stainless steel ones as they keep liquids hot and cold for up to 18 hours.
- Snacks, again, in case you break down. This is especially important if you are driving on a long journey with kids.
- A breakdown sign, every car should have one of these, especially if you are driving at night.
- An emergency kit Let’s hope you never need a first aid kit, but it’s always best to be safe than sorry!
- Snow shovel. You may need this for shoveling snow that has fallen when you’ve been away from your car for a few hours or if you slide into a ditch when driving on black ice.
- Spare tire in case of any punctures.
For tips on staying safe on the winter roads, you might like to read these 12 tips from the MET Office.
You’re now ready for the big chill!
1. Think about what you need to survive if you had a power outage or were unable to leave the house for a few days, and stock up accordingly.
2. Make sure you keep your house well maintained so that the winter months are kinder to your home.
3. Ensure boilers and central heating systems are regularly serviced and maintained.
4. Make sure elderly relatives can be reached by cell phone if there is a phone cable outage.
Here in the UK, we do not have many power outages; however, it’s always good to have a torch, some candles, and a lighter handy in case of a power cut.
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