Today is the first day of fall, and at my home here in Virginia, it sure feels like it. The walnuts are dropping, the acorns are close behind and squirrel season is already in. This is truly my favorite time of year. But as we watch those squirrels zip back and forth, burying their nutty treasures with all the seriousness as if they were on a mission from God, it can’t help but make us feel like we should be doing something too. Why not obey that instinct on the first day of autumn, and work up a “shopping” list to better prepare yourself and your family for the cold weather that’s right around the corner.


Build a List & Plan Your Shopping Trip
Before you get cut off from the world by a giant wall of ice and snow, check to make sure you have everything you’d need to hunker down for at least a few days. Preparedness isn’t just about stocking up on milk, bread, and toilet paper right before a storm. It’s about planning (and budgeting, if need be) to stock these crucial items while you can, before the cold weather hits.

—Back-up heat source: One of the most critical items on the list is an emergency heating option. Grab a kerosene or propane heater designed for indoor use. Propane heaters built for indoor use are clearly labeled on the packaging. Many also have added safety features.

—Warmth items: Blankets, sweaters, coats, and boots are just a few of the items you might need to replace before winter.

—No-cook foods: If the power goes out, feed your troops with foods that don’t require cooking.

—Weather radio: Get a small radio with the NOAA weather bands and alert tones, to let you know if the storm takes a turn for the worse.

—Lighting sources: Candles work, but they do pose a fire hazard. Lights with LED bulbs are much safer and last a very long time. Don’t forget to stock up on the batteries to run them.

—Activities: Stash a few treats, books, games and other ways to pass time before the storm, and look like a hero when your family is going stir crazy.

—Medicines and toiletries: Make sure that you’ve refilled any prescription medications and stocked up on over-the-counter meds that you commonly use. Ensure that the ladies of the house have an adequate supply of feminine hygiene products.

What’s on your winter preparedness shopping list? Please let us know by leaving us a comment.