Get organised and beat winter woes
Erin Reilly shares some useful ideas and tips for the cold months ahead.
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.