We all know it’s coming. It arrives every year and with it comes a huge variety of weather. Snow, high winds, ice storms, fog you name it and winter throws it at us. Then there’s the added complication of power outages and all the disruption that brings with it. In short, winter can be a total ball-ache.
Now I HATE winter with a passion that is only equalled by my hatred of politicians and paedophiles so for me, getting everything in order before winter arrives is critical, because if it’s not done before hand it sure as hell won’t be done during the cold weather. I watch news reports of people in snow and enjoying it – how I have no idea but they do. Me, no thanks, give me heat and sunshine any day of the week.
So, how does a winter-phobe like me deal with the cold season? In short, I don’t, I prepare for it well in advance so I have as few issues as it’s humanly possible to have during the colder weather. So, without further ado here’s the Lizzie check list for winter preparation.
Garden and driveway
- Make sure all general garden maintenance is up to date. Loose and/or old branches cut down, perennial weeds burnt etc.
- Check slabs and pathways for cracks that may let water in and then freeze causing more damage and trip hazards – repair as required.
- Put a couple of bags of rock salt and grit mix out the back to keep the patio safe to walk on ( need to get to wood store and ‘spare’ pantry in the garage.
- Put a couple of bags of rock salt and grit behind the side gate to keep the drive ice-free.
- Stow all the garden furniture away for the winter. It’s VERY windy in my location and tables regularly become low flying objects!
- Bag up footballs, super-soaker guns and other kiddie crap and hang in the garage.
- Rinse and air dry the wetsuits and store in rodent proof box.
- Make sure wood supply is adequate and coal bunker is full.
Garage (not used for the car shall we say)
- Grease saws and garden tools to keep them in good condition.
- Clean and grease lawnmower blades and wipe the machine down ready for spring.
- Replace all tools in their rightful home at the far end of the garage.
- Check roof for gaps and holes – close the door during daylight and look up, any splits and gaps will show. Seal/repair as required.
- Wipe down outsides of all electrical items: tumble drier, spare fridge and spare freezers. Check all plugs and sockets for damage, repair as required.
- Clean out cupboards checking food dates and looking for blown/rusting cans.
- Check pipe lagging under the sink.
- Empty out and check contents of two ’emergency boxes’: candles 12, matches 2 boxes, lighters 2, firelighters 2 boxes, hurricane lamp, lamp oil 2 bottles, flashlight with 2 spare bulbs, new batteries x 3 packs, pack of fuses, 3, 5 and 13 amp. Small toolkit in a box : straight and cross head screwdrivers small, medium and large of each, small hammer, pliers, small wrench, insulation tape, electrical screwdriver for checking currents, selection of screws, duct tape, super-glue.
- Vacuum through.
- Check for flaking paint/varnish on wooden doors and sills, repaint /varnish if required to prevent water penetration and rot.
- Check weatherboards and fascias are in good repair and tightly fixed in place.
- Seal any gaps in window frames/door frames
- Clean UPVC frames and windows.
- Check lagging on the outdoor taps. Re-lag if needed.
- Check the roof. Go into the loft during daylight, close the hatch and look for dislodged tiles or slates. Repair as required.
- Check pipes on exterior walls are lagged.
- Put one emergency box right outside the back door on back porch ready for use.
- Test central heating and bleed radiators if needed.
- Get boiler serviced.
- Get chimneys swept.
- Fill log baskets and put next to each fire, ditto coal scuttles.
- Get it serviced.
- Check tires for tread and uneven wear.
- Check wiper blades are not split and work well.
- Top up antifreeze.
- Check first aid kit and restock if required.
- In the boot (trunk): Small bag of rock salt, shovel, warning triangle, small vehicle tool kit, wellies (gum boots), bag with ‘shit kit’ items such as emergency food, water, mylar blankets, lightweight fleece blanket, blow up pillow, flashlight and new batteries, pair of fleece pants, fleece top, spare socks. Spare can of fuel.
Glove Compartment/ door storage/inside the car
- Boiled sweets (hard candy)
- Cereal bars
- Energy drinks/bottled water or both
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Two charge power pack with correct phone connector
- Cash in notes and change
- Fleece blanket
- A book you’ve been meaning to read, a crossword book, anything to fill the time if you happen to get stuck because of accidents, traffic or weather.
It looks like an awful lot of things to do but actually it isn’t. If your home and car are well maintained throughout the year most of it is just a matter of checking to make sure all is in order and working. It takes me no longer than two days to complete the list around all my regular household tasks and going about my usual business outside the home.
Have a think, make a list of things that applicable to you based on the winter weather in your area, then act on it. Far better to get the loose roof tile fixed now than not be able to tackle it in a howling snow storm in a couple of months time.