Get or­gan­ised and beat win­ter woes

Shares some use­ful ideas and tips for the cold months ahead.

Central Otago Mirror - - CROMWELL BUSINESS HUB -

When I was a young girl, I al­ways likened the on­set of win­ter to the Lit­tle House on the Prairie books.

Just like Laura In­galls Wilder helped Ma and Pa har­vest the crops, col­lect honey and smoke fresh meat killed in the for­est be­fore the big snows came to town, I helped Mum pack away all the gro­ceries from New World, bot­tle fruit and do some bak­ing as the rain pit­ter-pat­tered on our cor­ru­gated iron roof.

While Laura and co cer­tainly had it much harder than I did, prep­ping for the chilly months isn’t a silly idea. And while win­ter doesn’t of­fi­cially kick off for an­other few weeks, the fact that my car’s wind­screen was iced over re­cently tells me I should prob­a­bly sort my­self out.

There aren’t many things worse than your mo­tor seiz­ing up on a sub-zero morn­ing (un­less you’re also run­ning late for work, in which case that sit­u­a­tion’s much worse). Pick up some an­tifreeze from your near­est petrol sta­tion or hard­ware store, or ask your me­chanic to top her up next time you book a ser­vice. While you’re at it, make sure you’ve got a first aid kit that con­sists of more than just a few plasters, and if you live in a part of the coun­try where the chill can turn into snow, make sure you’ve got chains in the boot.

Now’s a good time to do a toasti­ness au­dit on your home. Block draughts in your win­dows and un­der your doors with tape and door snakes, and hang thick cur­tains. Book a chim­ney sweep to get rid of last win­ter’s soot, and stock up on enough fire­wood to get you through the chilly months. If you’ve got some spare cash, in­vest in a heat pump (it’ll keep the place cool in summer too). And of course, there’s no point heat­ing the in­side of your home if it’s all just go­ing to es­cape, so get a builder in to assess your in­su­la­tion.

If you strug­gle to find sin­glets, ther­mals and woollen socks on the cold­est of morn­ings, tip your draw­ers up­side down and bring all your win­ter essen­tials to the top. Pack your summer favourites in vac­uum-packed bags and pop them un­der your bed or at the top of your wardrobe. If you’re dy­ing for a spot of shop­ping but don’t want to spend a lot, or­gan­ise a clothes swap among your Neigh­bourly com­mu­nity, then send the left­overs to your lo­cal char­ity store.

Col­lect dropped fruit and sea­sonal veges and turn it into a tasty treat you can eat in a few months (or for dessert tonight). Ap­ples, fei­joas, pears and pas­sion­fruit all make de­li­cious jams or pre­serves that (if done cor­rectly) can last for months in the back of the pantry, while veg­etable soup is easy to freeze. Got too much fruit? Give it away on Neigh­bourly.

Win­ter of­ten gets a bad rap, but I think that’s be­cause we’re not or­gan­ised. Win­ter hap­pens ev­ery year, peo­ple. This year, beat win­ter be­fore it beats you.

Got too many fei­joas? Give them away on Neigh­bourly.

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