So you’ve recently moved from a warm place with mild winters and are now facing the prospect of having to deal with your first harsh winter. Whether you’re questioning the decision to move or ecstatic about the chance to have real snow in your own yard, there’s no need to worry. With proper planning and preparation you’ll be able to make it through just fine.
Get Some Winter Clothes
Obviously, winter’s going to be cold and you’ll need appropriate clothes to keep you warm. When it comes to winter gear, it’s best to invest in high quality clothing options. They’ll be more expensive, but they should also do a better job of keeping you warm and should last longer. Think about what you’ll need from head to toe and make a list so you don’t forget anything. You’ll need a good jacket, hat, something to cover your ears, scarves, gloves or mittens, and boots at a minimum. Snow pants and thick, warm socks are also good options.
Driving in the Snow
Driving in the snow can be scary, even if you’ve been doing it for years. If you’re new to it, it can be downright terrifying. Snowy road conditions can make roads incredibly slick and icy, increasing the chances of losing control of your vehicle and ending up in an accident. Take extra care to drive safely in the snow. You’ll need to drive much slower than normal, especially while you’re getting used to the road conditions. Turn your lights on, especially if it’s snowing. Scrape all of your windows and mirrors thoroughly to remove all ice and snow. Avoid the temptation to just scrape where you think you need to be able to see. Limiting your visibility in any way can be incredibly dangerous. It’s also a good idea to keep some emergency essentials in your car just to be safe.
Staying Warm Inside
You might think it’s easy to stay warm while you’re inside, but you could be in for an unpleasant surprise if you aren’t proactive about it. Sure, you can always turn up the thermostat, but that also increases your utility bill. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s running efficiently. Installing a glass door can make your fireplace more efficient. Layering your clothing, bundling up with blankets, and finding ways to prevent heat loss from your home will all make staying warm inside easier. Feel free to use your stove and oven for cooking too. The heat generated during the cooking process can help warm up both you and your home.
Falling ill is never fun, but it can seem especially miserable during the winter. The holidays offer ample opportunity to indulge in treats and less healthy fare. You don’t have to entirely abstain, but make sure you balance it with a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Further protect your physical health by staying active even when it’s cold. Keep an eye on your mental health too. Winter means shorter days and less sun, which can trigger seasonal depression. Set aside some time to spend in the sun, even if it’s just through the window. Don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor if you need some extra help.
Keep Up on Snow Removal
As a homeowner, you’re responsible for handling your own snow removal. How you do it is up to you. You can hire a snow removal company, pay a neighbor kid, start up your own snowblower, or go the old fashioned route and break out the shovel. Whatever method you choose, it’s important to keep up on it. If you drive on the snow before you remove it, it will get packed down and become much more difficult to remove. Make sure you remove all of the snow. Even a thin layer can turn into ice if left on walkways and driveways. This is dangerous enough on its own, but is even more so when it gets buried under a fresh layer of snow. If you’re left with ice after doing your best to remove the snow, put some ice melt down.
Get a Backup Generator
If you live in an area prone to heavy snow, you could end up facing a power outage at some point during the winter. Winter power outages occur for multiple reasons, but the reason probably won’t matter much to you while you’re shivering in the dark. A backup generator can help supply you with power so you’ll be a bit more comfortable. If nothing else, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a backup plan can make the purchase worth it.
Food and Water Storage
In addition to a generator, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a decent supply of food and water on hand in the event of an emergency. Nonperishable foods are essential for this, since if the power goes out you may not be able to rely on your refrigerator to store more perishable items. Make sure the food you pick is food you will actually eat. Have at least one gallon of water per person per day on hand as well.
You knew winter would be cold going into it, but you might be surprised by how dry it can be. Make sure you stay hydrated. This will help protect your health. It also helps you regulate your body temperature better. As an added bonus, it can help alleviate dry skin and chapped lips. If you need extra help in those departments, quality lotions and balms can give your skin an extra boost of moisture.
Knowing what you’re getting into regarding winter in your new home is key to properly preparing for it. There are health and safety concerns to become familiar with and plan for, as well as factors that contribute to emergency preparedness and your overall comfort level. Start your preparations now so that by the time winter sets in you’ll be all set for your first harsh winter.
Read this next: Prepare the Outside of Your House for Winter With These Tips