Wednesday, February 5, 2014


We should have all learned our lesson on the east coast by now when it comes to surviving a winter storm.  Although not all of us can afford a generator, there are plenty of things you can afford to ride out the storm.  Assuming you have shelter, warm clothing and blankets.

Below I have listed key essential that every homeowner should purchase if they don't already own or prepare prior to a storm of any kind. 


-Run the dishwasher
-Do the laundry
-Fill the bathtubs
-Clear the sink drain
-Wet wipes
-Sanitizer wipes
-Stock up on bottled water

 In a cold or ice storm, pipes can freeze and water lines can bust causing either no water or water that's contaminated. Running the dishwasher and doing the laundry are so important because running out of clean clothes or clean dishes can be a recipe for disaster.  You can't run either if your water is turned off or contaminated.  Be sure your essentials are clean, especially food left on plates or utensils in the dishwasher or sink.  The odor could be nauseating if you fail to prepare.  Don't forget to grind and pour bleach down your kitchen sink drain if you have a compactor or something of that nature for the same reason. 

Next, fill your bathtubs with water.  If you lose water pressure, this is how you flush a toilet.  Be sure you have a sturdy bucket to do the job.  Basically you scoop out a bucket of water after you have finished your business and quickly throw the water into the toilet bowl, forcing it to flush itself.  On that note, wet wipes are a must.  If you can't flush paper or need an alternate way to clean you body, wet wipes to the rescue!  Be sure to buy flushable ones if you intend to drop them in the toilet. Add sanitizer wipes for your hands.  Everyone thinks they will clean you but they don't!  They sanitize germs.  You need to use the wet wipes first to remove dirt or debris.

Finally, bottled water is the most important!  Remember to remain hydrated for good health.  Water is also very filling if you were to run out of food.


-Hand & foot warmers

If you have a fireplace be sure to stock up on firewood, matches and lighters.  Don't forget candles for light, just in case your flashlight batteries don't make it.  Stock up on candles, you can never have too many!!!  Lots of warm layers and blankets are essential. Hand and foot warmers are good to have for emergencies God forbid you had to walk somewhere or repair something outside.


-Shortwave radio
-Charged phones

Even I don't own a generator and every year we say we are going to buy one, but the reality is that in the grand scheme of life, it's not high on our list of priorities.  Be sure to have flashlights in every size and lots of batteries of every size. MY ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE suggestion is to purchase a SHORTWAVE RADIO.  Even without power, you have emergency broadcast stations from across the country, a large flashlight, and connectors to charge many things, most importantly your CELL PHONE, without even utilizing power.  On that note, DON'T FORGET TO CHARGE TOUR PHONE BEFORE THE STORM. If you lose power and you don't own a short wave radio, your phone is done!  CLOSE DOWN YOUR PHONE APPS  as this drains a lot of power from your phone.  TURN DOWN THE BRIGHTNESS ON YOUR PHONE, TURN OFF BLUETOOTH, TURN OFF LOCATION SERVICES, TURN OFF "STOP MOTION" by selecting SETTINGS, GENERAL, ACCESSIBILITY, REDUCE MOTION & TURN IT ON.


-Paper plates/bowls
-Plasticware/eating utensils
-Milk & bread
-Cold cuts
-Toilet paper
-Paper towels

When there is no running water, dishes can pile up and become icky.  It's good to fill the sink with water prior to a storm or at least fill a plastic tub in the sink so dishes and silverware can soak.  A better suggestion is to stock up on paper plates, bowls, cups and plastic eating utensil that you can just toss when your are finished eating. Stock up on the basics; milk, bread, toilet paper and paper towels.  It's very important to stock up on CANNED GOODS because (for the most part) they have an extremely long shelf life due to preservatives and the canning process.  Another tip is to buy COLD CUTS as they are also pre cooked and well preserved.  Keep a COOKED HAM around too.  Cereals are another good one, really any kind of dried foods that don't require refrigeration.

If for any reason you lose power and have no refrigeration, avoid opening the refrigerator door for extended periods of time as you will allow much needed cold air to escape and warm air to enter, thawing out your food.  In advance, remove items from the door shelves as they are the first to be exposed and spoil.  As long as you keep your refrigerator doors closed, it's safe to keep the majority of you items inside for several hours. If you notice it's getting warm too quickly, immediately empty the refrigerator and freezer and bury your items in the snow.  Throw out cooked goods that vermin may access easy.


-Fill your gas tank & cans
-Check your propane levels

Last but not least, fill you car GAS tanks and extra cans.  If you have to travel somewhere such as a shelter, hotel, to family, back and forth to the grocery store, or in a worst case scenario, an evacuation, gas is a must.  Gas station pumps always have extremely long lines in any kind of crisis, so it pays to be prepared. If your home is powered by PROPANE, gas up in advance!


-Hot chocolate
-Craft projects
-Board games

Power up the VIDEO GAMES and follow the same steps as the phone above in effort to conserve power. Keep the kiddos in mind by roasting marshmallows if you have a flame, warm their tummies with hot cocoa and be sure to have some new projects and board games lined up, just in case their video games can no longer be powered or they are simply bored to tears.

Good luck everyone. I hope you find my tips informative.

Jamie Gottschall 
The NYCLifestylist

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