Stocking Up for the Winter

aroma aromatic assortment bottles
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What to stock up on to make the Winter a little less sucky and dramatic.

(This would be additional information to my post: Welcoming Winter)

For some Winter may be wrapping up, but unfortunately I feel as though for a lot of my friends, family, associates, and myself it’s just begun. So…

If you are someone like me that lives in an area that is just inconvenienced by snowy weather or just feels so incredibly exhausted by it and have little to no energy to take care of the basics such as weekly food shopping and like then this post is for you. Also this list will be helpful if the power goes out in general (but especially during the wintertime) whether for a few hours or for a few days. SO whether it’s just that you are new to this whole being an adult thing, this is the first winter on your own, or you just haven’t been fairing well last previous winters… this should be helpful.

 

HOWEVER, THIS IS NOT A “this is what you need to survive for the next three months literally trapped in your home” TYPE OF LIST. So if you have moved to or are staying at a place where in which you need to stock up to literally SURVIVE the winter because the weather makes it impossible to go into to town to get food or supplies… this is not that list. I mean it might be a good start and I do have some links under resources that might be helpful for you but overall , this is for generally being prepared and possibly without power for less than a handful of days.

Even if you have a little apartment or have people who you rely on, it’s a wise idea to stock up on some essentials… who knows you might be the one to save the day for yourself, your family, or your neighbor!

Also this is another long one, I hope to do a follow up with just a “shopping list” version for ease, also I have a busy week this week so I wanted to get this up now so I wrote it up fast, so I apologize for any typos/grammatical errors, I tried to catch them all, but sadly I am no “Ash Ketchum”. (I know super geeky)

THE “Necessities”:

Toilet Paper:   Get a lot, more than you think you need, this stuff doesn’t go bad, if you have the space get a lot of extra rolls, just do it… if you don’t use it now you will use it later… or maybe a neighbor may be in dire need and you can hook them up.

Disposable (hopefully biodegradable) “kitchen” needs: Paper towels, paper plates, disposable utensils, trash bags (these are helpful if your power goes out for a day or too… let’s be honest I don’t want to wash dishes when its cozy and warm and bright from electricity… I know I won’t want to do it even more when there is no heat, light, power, etc…. also depending on your grid, water quality will begin to go at a certain point so using water minimally during a power outage is a smart move. If it lasts longer than expected you are prepared. (after a certain point toilets may not flush, septic systems could become backed up, a whole lot of icky-ness)

Water: You will want to stock up on this. Either have some heavy duty pitchers and reusable water bottles that you can fill up with clean water in advance. Or buy some cases of water in case of emergency.  Like I said in the previous point: water quality is not guaranteed after a certain point after the power goes out. Or you won’t be able to get water at all if the pipes burst. (Tip if your power does go out and it’s really cold out you may want to leave a slight drip in a few of your faucets as to prevent pipes from bursting…. I know, I know “adulting” is hard.) And unless you have a Lifestraw©, your simple Brita© filter won’t be able to do the job after the water quality stops. (Water is needed not just for sustenance but also to bathe ourselves and clean our home…. So plan accordingly.)

Dry Goods/Can Goods: Food you need to cook that is simple or easy to have on hand. This way whether you have just had a long cold and bleary day at work and want to go straight home or if you are home but the weather is treacherous but the power isn’t out, you have food on hand that you can cook. (Also if you have a furry friend/pet make sure to stock up on their dietary needs as well within reason just so they are covered too.) Also be mindful a lot of can goods or plastic containers may have BPA liners so make sure it says BPA free.

  • What I recommend: Dried pasta, rice, canned soup, canned vegetables, shelf stable (aka Almond milk or Coconut Milk or Rice milk that you can keep in the pantry that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opening)
  • Also stock up on what cookbooks consider the basics: such as flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda, sauces, etc.  (Remember if it’s something you won’t eat it’s not a staple for you!) [flours, sugars, spices, and other basics cookbooks normally tell you to stock up on but I only sometimes remember to]
  • If you are worried about the power going out I would limit amount of items that need to be refrigerated (unless you have a backup plan or can safely–as in no animals or chemicals etc getting to or it’s cold enough– put them outside in the snow/cold).
  • If you want to do a lot of baking because the power doesn’t go out but you weren’t able to go out to get eggs, or don’t eat eggs here is a website about effective alternatives. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/egg-substitutes

Food You Don’t Need to Cook (Dry Goods/Can Goods): this is good if the power goes out (or your will to cook has left your body ha!)

  • What I recommend: peanut butter (or any non-refrigerated spread), crackers, dry cereals, shelf-stable milk (again doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opening), juice boxes, power bars, chips & salsa, canned fruit, trail mix, canned tuna, canned chicken, dried fruit, crisped rice treats, applesauce, fruit cups
  • Another option: Ensure or SlimFast or any canned or contained energy shake to provide nutrients that doesn’t need to be refrigerated… (I’ll be honest I don’t drink any of that)

A Non-electric can opener: If you need any of those canned goods when the power is out, you’ll need this. (I personally don’t even have an electric can opener, but just in case some of you are fancy. I also tend to pick cans with a pop top lid when I can just so it makes it even easier)

Liquids that can become warm: AKA hot cocoa mix, tea, ground coffee beans… stuff that all you have to do is put a pot of water on to get you nice and toasty. (Some days, a cup of hot cocoa is the difference between a bad day and a good one.)  and of course anything you may want to add some umph to that such a creamer (liquid or dry), marshmallows, sugar, whipped cream etc.)  Also if you have a gas stove and the power goes out, you can light the gas stove manually (with a match) and still warm up soups and a tea kettle or a pot of water.

Entertainment:  Whether you are stuck inside due to a storm or just don’t want to go out in the cold here are some things I would suggest… coloring book(s) with color pencils, sticker by number book, nonfiction book that you want to learn something from, puzzles, charged electronics such as a DS or Gameboy or cellphone, DVDs of fav films (many times the power might not go out but internet or cable might), board games (if you aren’t alone), exercise dvds if that’s your thing, crochet/craft projects, video games. Etc. Whatever you can do to keep yourself or you and your partner entertained. (Obviously if you have kids you might have to add more to this or specifics etc.)

{{{{ Note as someone who is all for libraries… I truly make the rule of I don’t buy books unless it falls under one of these categories: Nonfiction (that I want to mark up and/or need to reference often/will take me awhile to read), an activity book/journal/consumable books (if I am going to mark it up in anyway or if there are stickers involved that’s not something a library will have anyway), and fiction that I will revisit or meant a lot to me (for example there are some authors I love so much that I not only want to support them by purchasing their books but I will actually revisit some titles for the sake of comfort or ease.) …. And occasionally, fiction that I desperately want to read that my library doesn’t have.   So I have these titles on hand for my cooped up times. I also bring home a lot from the library.}}}}

Candles & Matches: Because warmth and light if power goes out, or to add a little warmth if you have a drafty place.  Also matches to cook if you have Sternos © or a gas stove.

Lights: headlamps, camping lights, flashlight, flameless candles

Batteries: for anything that is battery powered such as handheld electronic devices, flashlights

Extra (clean) sweaters/warm clothes: Once again if the power goes out you need to keep warm and you might not be prepared if you are depending on one sweater you already wore and is dirty or if you got your clothing wet from shoveling snow or something. It’s always good to have an extra pair of gloves, a sweater, hat, and so on.  I even have a soft winter hat for sleeping in case the power or heat goes out and I need to sleep without heat. (this will save you from getting sick or really cold. Keeping your head warm is essential, you lose a lot of heat from your head.) Also extra fuzzy socks, fuzzy pjs and such are helpful too.

Extra (clean) warm blankets: In case people come over and the house is drafty and they need a blanket or in case the power goes out and you need more blankets, or if someone winds up staying over due to bad weather… all good reasons to have some extra blankets (and sheets and pillows would be good too)

Salt/Deicing Salt: for walk ways or just around your car because of black ice and such (even if you pay people to take care of it or are part of an association or apartment complex if you get snow or ice this is good to have, sometimes it takes a while for others to get it done and you need to get going ASAP)

A shovel: I know if you get snow this seems like a duh, but my neighbors have come running to borrow a shovel, like you know where we live we get snow in the winter… not the worst snow but we get it. I dunno apparently people don’t realize this. (once again even if you have people who take care of this, maybe they can’t get to you or they wait or you still have to shovel out your car… it’s good to have)

A car scraper/broom: to brush of ice snow from car and possible from walkways (the broom)

Bath/Body Care Products (regular hygiene & then some):  HAND SANITIZER, wipes, lotions, shampoo, tooth paste, tooth brushes, razors, soap, hand soap, tampons,  etc. You don’t want to have to go out in the cold because you are out of your normal routine products. Also the winter makes us more dry, so you may need even more lotion and lip balm and such for yourself in general. (a special note about lady products: if you use a reusable option, you may one to get some disposable backups in case you cannot wash these items easily. Just as back up just saying)

Over the Counter Medicines: If you usually get a cold around this time of year and always use particular Nighttime cold medicine or mucus fighting medicine; are more prone to get headaches and tend to use the same over the counter headache/pain relief; and/or always seem to have tummy troubles that can only be relieved by particular med… then it’s a good idea to get enough of those that you may need even if you don’t need them now, so that if there is a bad storm or really bad weather you don’t need to go get those items when you are in dire need.  [Also if you take regular medicines, if possible to have a week worth’s of those medicines for an oncoming bad storm.]

First aid kit: I mean this is always good to have, you don’t want to drive to the store bleeding all over everything because you don’t have Band-Aids ©.  You can even buy premade kits! But basics would be bandages (cloth and sticky Band-Aid© kind, of various sizes), rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointment, ice pack (keep that in the fridge though), tweezers, gloves, sterile gauze, scissors (to cut bandage or gauze). (You will know what you may or may not need or you can do a Google search for this one.)

A Charger Block: A  charger that you can pre-charge to use to recharge your dead phone/devices etc.  (TIP: remember to charge this and to charge your phone as soon as you know there may be a storm a coming)

Booze: OPTIONAL. (Okay honestly all of this list is just my opinion so everything is optional… but if you are following this list to the letter this is the one that you could totally skip depends on the person you are and your needs.) However, even if you are someone who only likes the occasional glass of red wine or every once in awhile likes to spike their hot cocoa, it’s smart to have a bottle or two (this way too if someone stops by you also have them covered). I drink quite rarely but find the occasional mint schnapps or Baileys© in my hot cocoa makes it a super yummy adult treat, and every now and again a nice glass of wine with a warm dinner at home as the snow falls is quite pleasant.…  Now, if you do not drink at all or only very rarely, then obviously this doesn’t apply to you. But I do suggest even the occasional drinker to have a bottle of something for entertaining guests or even as a backup to bring with to event as a hostess gift. (Another “adulting” type thing.)

AND YOU KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO SAY IT… THIS COULD BE POTENTIALLY EMBARRASSING IF YOU ARE READING THIS IN MIXED COMPANY… so FAIR WARNING… but as I am an adult married CHILD-FREE blogger after all and need to look out for my childfree companions who wish to remain childfree… I really need to say……

Condoms: This might not apply to you at all… but I am just putting out there in case just one of my readers, goes “OH thank you Heather, I didn’t even think of that you saved me some massive drama!” For whomever that may be you are welcome… for anyone else, you can forget you read this stock-up tip…. Otherwise,  I feel this needs to be said, because there has been many a story of consenting adults participating in  “adult” activities for whatever reason during snow storms/power outages/etc.. (And it’s not a coincidence that there’s a baby boom 9 months after a big snow storm/power outage. Some may be planned, however for everyone else who doesn’t want babies, or are waiting on having babies… and you plan on doing you know “stuff” then you will need protection, the pill, etc.) So, if there is even a small chance of you needing condoms and you definitely don’t want to have babies, it’s not a bad idea to have some stocked up. Maybe a few more than you’d think you might use, just in case.  

 

Well there’s my list of what I would suggest.

 

IMPORTANT: If you are someplace that is prone to power outages due to snow/wind/winter weather you may want to invest in other survival preparedness items such as a battery operated or wind-up radio. You may want to winterize your home as well with weather stripping and plug up drafts etc..  You may want to invest in a backup generator and items such as heat packs to keep you warm. If you have a fire place, have wood or whatever you use to burn stock piled. Have contingency plans for animals and back up of their foods and such as well.  You might want to insulate pipes and such. (Check out the links below there’s more info for that sort of thing. I personally may have like a few hours without power or a day without power unless there’s a pretty supreme super storm or something, so I usually don’t need to go too in depth.)

 

IMPORTANT #2:  IF you know that a storm (winter or otherwise really)  is coming and it could mean being trapped inside, look at all those items and double check if you need to restock anything above. Also, pro-tip, have some physical cash and fill up your gas tank. (If it is a bad storm stores may be without power but you still need necessities so cash sometimes is accepted at small local places but cannot take credit cards. There may be limits on who can fill up when and/or many pumps may have electronic meters that you cannot pump your gas anyway. So it’s smart in case you have to get out of your area to have your vehicle gassed up and to fill up any gas generators etc in advance. Note if you are in an apartment or condos or something make sure to look into what is allowed to be stored and also do not store things like gasoline in small poorly ventilated areas.)

 

BONUS:

Prepare your car! A Winter Ready car Should have:

  • Blankets
  • Emergency battery/Jumper cables
  • Flares and other emergency alert
  • Nonperishable food again (such as power bars)
  • Water (you could even get bagged water)
  • Scraper/Broom/Possibly mini shovel/ possibly tire chains
  • First aid kit
  • Possibly cleaning supplies and trash disposal such as garbage bags
  • Rock Salt/Kitty Litter (there’s a specific kind that works I don’t know which)
  • Extra phone charger
  • Window de-icer/key-lock de-icer

I’ll be honest I don’t have most of this in my car (I should but I don’t)

If you were looking for an article about being more emotionally prepared for winter then you may want check out my post: Welcoming Winter. (Dealing with Winter Blues)

 

Alright good luck with that winter time weather!

YOU GOT THIS!

-Heather

 

RESOURCES:

Pantry Goods & Cooking Staples:

https://www.thescramble.com/cooking-basics/the-well-stocked-kitchen-the-scramble-staples-list/

https://www.budgetbytes.com/stock-kitchen-pantry-staples/    (BTW, love Budget Bytes in General lots of great cost effective and yummy and simple recipes!)

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/cooking-from-the-pantry/pantry-essentials-checklist

Surviving the Winter:

https://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/index.html

https://preparednessmama.com/prepare-for-winter-weather/

https://www.wikihow.com/Be-Prepared-for-Winter-Weather

https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

https://simplefamilypreparedness.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-winter-storm/ (this one has a printable checklist!)

https://www.countryliving.com/home-maintenance/g2969/winter-storm-prep-list/

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/34260002/list/simple-pleasures-stocking-up-for-winter

https://www.themuse.com/advice/prepare-for-anything-how-to-stock-your-pantry-for-a-storm

https://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/survival-skills-7-things-start-stocking-winter

https://www.cheapthriftyliving.com/tips-and-tricks/Winter-Food-Stock-Up-List

https://www.consumerreports.org/emergency-preparedness/what-to-feed-your-family-when-the-power-is-out/

https://www.bustle.com/articles/58422-13-winter-foods-to-stock-up-on-now-so-you-can-hibernate-all-season-long-without

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