25 Cozy Ways to Prep Your Home for Winter

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Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

As they say on Game of Thrones, “Brace yourselves. Winter is coming.”

One of the best ways to brace yourselves for the onset of cold weather, winter storms, and potential power outages is to prep your home for the season. And this is one of the nicest parts of prepping – quite a few of the cozy touches that you add to be more prepared are also delightful and decorative.

When summer begins to fade into fall, it’s the best time to begin preparing for the advent of winter weather. None of these tasks are particularly difficult, but they can be a little time-consuming. Waiting until the last minute usually means that you’ll end up fighting the crowds who have also rushed to the store or that you’ll be going without something that could have made your power outage a lot more comfortable.

25 Ways to Get Cozy

Here are a few ideas that will make you snug and safe during the cold months that lie ahead.

  1. Check your windows and doors. Make sure that they are in good condition and fit well. Drafts will not only make you uncomfortable but will let heat escape from the house. Now is the time to replace them if necessary.
  2. Reduce the draftiness of your windows. If you can’t afford to replace your windows (or if you are a renter) you can still do several things to reduce the drafts from older windows. Caulk gaps between frames and brickwork and replace any damaged panes. If you live in an older home with single pane windows, apply window insulation film to help make them more weather tight. Finally, purchase or make fabric draft stoppers to place at the bottoms of your windows.
  3. Break out the heavy drapes.  Heavy curtains are more than just a decorative way to welcome colder weather. When you pull them shut at night, they can help to keep warm air in and keep cold air outside where it belongs.
  4. Use draft stoppers on external doors. (My favorite for doors that aren’t used all the time is this “twin” stopper that goes on both the inside and outside for double protection.)
  5. Check entrances to the attic and the basement. Treat these openings exactly like exterior doors. A great deal of heat can escape through the edges, and the cold from these unheated rooms can seep into the rest of the house if gaps are present. Seal them tightly with weatherstripping foam tape and draft blockers.
  6. Make sure you have an alternate light source in case of power outages. Solar lights charged during the day are excellent for children’s rooms, bathrooms, and stairways when night falls. Make sure you have good quality flashlights for every member of the family. Headlamps are great for tasks in which you need your hands to be free.
  7. Stock up on fuel for your fireplace or woodstove. If you have a way to heat with wood, make sure you have adequate fuel,that it is cut to size, and that it is well seasoned. Dry wood produces less creosote and lessens the chance of chimney fires. I
  8. Make sure you have a secondary heat plan. If you do not have a wood stove or fireplace, be sure that you have a backup heat system. I strongly recommend the Mr. Buddy heater. It is one of the few propane devices that is rated to be used safely indoors.
  9. Get a carbon monoxide alarm.  These inexpensive devices could very well save your life. Be certain to get one that is battery-operated, because the most likely time you will need it is when the power is out. If you’re using a secondary heat method or a generator, make certain you have adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  10. Do you have enough quilts and blankets? That may sound like a silly question but you would be surprised how many people move to colder regions and haven’t considered this. Take the time now to launder them so that they are fresh and clean in the event of an emergency.
  11. Make sure you have enough games and things to do. If there is a chance you will all be at home for an extended time without power, you’re going to want to keep the kiddos entertained. Children get very bored when the initial excitement of three feet of snow has worn off, especially if their usual entertainment requires electrical power or internet access. Here’s a list of 30 ways to keep them occupied. And don’t forget the grown-ups. Keep books and craft supplies on hand for the adults too!
  12. Invest in cute wooly socks and slippers. Keeping your feet toasty warm will help you maintain your body temperature in cold weather, especially if you have floors instead of carpets.
  13. Check your food supply. Do you have enough basic supplies, no-cook food, dry milk, and emergency food buckets for a couple of weeks without a trip to the store?
  14. Do you have a way to cook if the power goes out? If you have a gas-powered kitchen stove, it may still work without electrical power, but that isn’t guaranteed. Have at least one backup cooking method like a rocket stove.
  15. Make sure your snow shovel is in good condition. Repair or replace if not.(This ergonomic one is easier on the back.)
  16. Store some de-icing suppliesRock salt can help melt ice on sidewalks and driveways, and the grit provides extra traction for safer walking.
  17. Make sure you have several good sized thermoses.  You can fill a thermos with hot drinks or soup to reduce the need to reheat throughout the day.
  18. Keep lids on warm beverages. Break out the travel mugs to keep your coffee or cocoa hot for longer.
  19. Stock up on prescription and over the counter medications. Make sure you have enough necessary medications and basic OTCs to last through an extended storm. Consider also feminine hygiene products, diapers, and any special needs items that infirm family members may require.
  20. If you rely on a well, you may not have running water during a power outage. Make sure to store drinking water, and consider purchasing a water bob. These can be placed into the bathtub and you can use them to catch any of the water that might be remaining in the pipes and store it for emergency use.
  21. Check your pipes. Are pipes that are on the exterior of the house or against outer walls properly protected from the cold? If a water pipe freezes, it can rupture, causing an enormous mess (and expense) when it thaws.
  22. A power bank is invaluable to keep your cell phone charged. Not being able to communicate, especially if one parent is stuck and can’t get home, adds to the stress of the situation, especially for children. My favorite is the Jackery Bar.
  23. Make sure walkways and driveways are clear of debris. Pick up downed branches, clear off leaves, and make sure that walkways are clear. This will make your life much easier when shoveling snow.
  24. Put candles on display. Part of your fall/winter decor may include candles. While decorative, they’ll also be handy in the event of a power outage by providing immediate light. (Be sure to keep a lighter nearby.)
  25. Decorate your living areas with cozy throws. Soft, fuzzy blankets not only look inviting, but they can also help keep your heat bill down when nobody is able to resist curling up under them.

How do you prepare your home for colder weather?

Do you have anything special that you do to make life more pleasant at your home during a winter storm or emergency? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Throws are nice, but I like a longer blanket for folding around my feet and reaching up to my shoulders. A fleece twin size blanket isn’t that much more in cost, and the comfort is worth it. Don’t forget the car–blankets in there also.
    Love the site and check it often. Thanks, Daisy! Have learned a lot from you, and have all your books.

  • On days when the wind-chill factor makes it feel like -80 degrees outside, and the power goes out (or, sometimes even if it’s still on!) I prefer to wear insulated canvas coveralls with cotton lining when I’m inside and not sweating. Maybe wear a light weight cotton sweatshirt (with a hood) underneath it. My arms are free and it’s much easier to move about and do normal things inside while not being (a-hem) all fuzzy/frilly lookin’ wrapped in a blanket, or confined and constricted by an overly heavy or too warm of jacket. Unlike a heavy jacket, coveralls are not bad for taking cat naps in either. YMMV.

    If I do sweat a bunch, I make sure and have a spare t-shirt and a small towel at hand or tucked away, to wipe off, change, and go. It works for me.

    Second choice is to wear a tight fitting pair of fancy nylon-type light weight snow pants underneath a larger and puffier pair. They can be a bit too noisy and swishy sounding indoors for my taste sometimes though. However; makes it easy to cool down fast, just take off the outer layer. I think an insulated vest would pair up good with the pants, have yet to test that.

    I’ve tried some of the newer synthetic long underwears so many people rave about, but so far I haven’t found any I like, or are all that comfortable compared to cotton.

    While browsing the flags of the Frugal Revolution,

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/09/jack-perry/bleed-beast/

    I came across a zippered bag, kind of like a mini-cooler lunch bag, only, I think it’s made for use with baby bottles or something mom-like, it just so happens to fit around my metal thermos perfectly – and for 95 Cents – I think I’ll try and see if it keeps my thermos warmer a bit longer the next time the power goes out in Winter.

    ok, now I’m going to work harder at being quiet, per your link:
    http://undergroundmedic.com/2016/09/governments-are-just-taxpayer-funded-cults/

    …Fade to black.

  • This question is off the above topic. How does one access comments and make a comment on your new blog. All I get in the leave a comment box is dots making an endless circle. I don’t find any contact info and an email to daisyluther.com doesn’t go.

    • It should be working! I’ll contact my tech person tomorrow and we’ll get that straightened out. Thank you for letting me know!

  • If you work outdoors, ranch or plow snow for a living, hot buttered rum should be stocked as a tonic and a survival item. Try Appleton’s Rum. You won’t be sorry.

  • As all the Ingress/Pokemon Go players know, Anker makes the best battery pack hands down. https://amzn.com/B00X5RV14Y It’s normally on sale (like all the time) for $40 and it can charge a Samsung Galaxy a full 5 times before hitting empty. Seriously, the thing is awesome.

    Emergency Essentials currently has a sale going on for freeze dried fruit. The combo pack is about $16 a can. http://beprepared.com/

    Now is also a great time to hang Christmas lights and bag the fragile plants. We don’t turn our lights on but we do hang them because November tends to have 3-5 feet of snow with it. Putting even simple white garbage bags over plants will help them survive until the spring. They act like mini-greenhouses.

    Thank you for the reminder on the salt! I actually just cleared space in my garage for the pile.

  • I prefer the 1-step winter prep plan: GET THE (expletive deleted) OUT OF THE FROZEN TUNDRA! Even Dallas got too cold for us, so now we live in central FL with its (relatively) mild winters. The coldest we’ve seen in 21 years is ~20 F. Nasty, but not compared to the all-time record low of -1 in Dallas or the eight straight days of *highs* <=0 in Omaha.

    If you don't want to permanently relocate, become a "snowbird." We love those folks — they stay the winter, then go home (but leave their money behind).

  • I have lived in one of three vans since the mid 80’s and my experience with so-called safe indoors propane heaters is that they are too likely to refuse to work when you need them because of the operation of their safety devices. I learned a long time ago that it takes a lot more oxygen to support a propane flame than a human being, and this is from the perspective of an asthmatic. I gave up on anything but a large propane stove long ago. It is easy to detect an oxygen-starved open propane flame. The weakest holes quit operating first, after they flicker loudly enough to hear. When you can smell mercaptan, it is time to improve ventilation before the stove starts producing carbon monoxide. I have a two foot square hatch atop my van that I can adjust the opening on, and experience will teach you what you can and can’t get away with respect to ventilation versus flame size. A 35,000BTU/HR single burner has gotten me through -30F nights just fine, especially since I use it with a -50F sleeping bag, The Grizzly.

  • i would add to try out some of the washable fingerless gloves available. cold fingers ache! there are styles that are strictly fashion, and many sorts of crafter’s gloves that have spandex added to either cotton or synthetic knit. in addition to holding warmth, these may gently compress painful arthritic fingers, add gripping ability thru dots or bars on the palms, etc. some have no fingers at all, some reach to first or even second joints. brown, grey, black, neon green and pink. all are readily washable. i have about a dozen pair as they add comfort and function to my winters.

  • I do own quite a few heavy British Wool sweaters (heavy and very scratchy, but warm as toast and will last forever). However, I find them uncomfortable and inconvenient to do anything in. So my standard winter “uniform” when I’m indoors is silky long underwear (polyester) under fleece pants and turtleneck. Then when I’m sitting still, I throw on a fleece lined flannel ‘big shirt’. I turn the heat way down when I sleep, and use thick high quality flannel sheets, fleece blankets, a good down duvet, and (this is key) a fleece watch cap. That keeps me toasty without heating the whole 2 1/2 stories of the house. Every morning, I fill two very big hunting thermoses with boiling water. They are guaranteed to keep water hot 12 hours. That way, in case the power goes out, I still have hot drinks. I use the water throughout the day for tea and hot chocolate.

  • When the weather is cold, placing a hot water bottle in the bed 30 min before bed makes it real cozy!

  • The temp is cooling down here. Today the high will only be 90F. I remember Frank who moved here for a short time here from the Fingerlake area of NY. He said he opened the door and saw snow. He closed the door, finished his coffee and got dressed. When Frank opened the door again the snow was gone. Frank claimed he could live like this.

    We have cold days sometimes in the teens, but nothing like the rest of the country. If you don’t like the temperature here in Texas, just wait a few hours and it will change. If you ignore the global warming farce, then you will find we are in an actual global cooling. The temperatures have been going down over the last 18 years, not up. The prediction is where I live here will have the temperatures of Kansas in the winter.

    We use a dragon heater downstairs and a gas cook stove, but we are putting a cast iron stove upstairs. We also plan a gas heater and a split heater/air unit upstairs. The rule of three, one primary and two back ups. My downstairs is just the kitchen, pantry and laundry room. Everything else is upstairs. We sleep with feather blankets in the winter, but I am looking at some sleeping bags for when it gets colder.

  • One of the best yet also very expensive investments we made was in a Genera generator hard wired into our house. Very thankful to have been able to made the purchase and investment.

  • This year I invested in solar lights and a rechargeable charger for the cell phone. I also have Sterno, a folding camp stove and a fancy Sterno chafing dish i picked up at a thrift shop for $2. The only thing that I still need to do is to make a passive solar tin can heater to help keep the temperature up and new curtains (which I plan to make) lined with flannel. I might need to make them even heavier than I had planned, but we’ll see how I progress.

  • Last year I also used a tea cozy wrapped around a thermos of coffee – I hope to make something larger this year to keep larger containers warm. I’m also crocheting new hats for us and I am planning on making warm slippers too.
    I’m going to be busy 🙂

  • Fuel is also topped up for snow removal equipment. Oil changes for generator and snow blower.

    Chain saw service and tune up for fallen trees.

    Extra boot liners , spare gloves , hats, scarfs and balaclavas so you can keep dry after sweating outdoors.

    Get starting aids like ether.

    Hydraulic fluid changed to 36 weight.

    Check batteries on vehicles to check for dead cells and under charged weak cells add conditioner.

    Tires and chains check and make sure in good condition.

    Check gutters and take off the ones that wI’ll ice up and break off.

    Clean chimney and check the vent pipes.

    Check roof for any damages

    Save ashes from fire place makes better than salt for -10 when salt does not work.

    We also changed all the hose connections to freeze proof ones.

  • If you want to protect yourself from the cold without wearing heavy clothing then I recommend the Heattech clothing line from Uniqlo. They have T-shirts, long sleeve shirts and leggings for both men and women in three different thickness lines, regular, extra and ultra. They’re not too expensive and you don’t have to wear as many layers of clothing when you have them on.

    I don’t know if someone mentioned it so far but weighted blankets are a really good purchase for cold weather.

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