When the season changes from warm to cold, there are several specific things that would be very helpful to do around the time of the first frost, or when the clocks change, whichever is soonest:
- Give the lawn a final feeding. Cover tree roots with mulch. Harvest everything from the garden that won’t survive a frost. Don’t forget to fill the bird feeders!
- Winterize your lawn sprinklers, if applicable. Drain the pipes, blow our the sprinklers if needed. Put the automated sprinkler system on standby. Disconnect all hoses from outdoor faucets.
- Change all the beds from “regular” to extra-warm fleece/flannel sheets.. Wash and store the summer linens including comforters, bedskirts, and matching curtains, if applicable.
- Check that your winter coats aren’t missing any buttons; locate the matching hats, gloves, and scarves; have anything dry-cleaned that didn’t get cleaned at the end of last season.
- Change out the filter in the furnace and replace the batteries in the smoke detectors.
- Have cars serviced. Oil change, tire rotation (new winter tires if needed), wiper fluid. I highly recommend purchasing a portable car battery charger. Make sure it’s fully charged about once a month and kept in the trunk when not in use. Locate or purchase a new windshield scraper.
- Build a “go bag”. This is a fully packed suitcase complete with spare shoes with at least one complete casual outfit and one complete work-appropriate outfit. I started doing this in 2005 when the blizzards were so bad that people got stranded on highways during evening rush hour and had to be rescued by the National Guard. At the very least, be prepared to check into a hotel near your work if you might not be able to get home.
- Along the lines of weather preparation, also carry in your trunk some basic survival supplies: snow shovel (I once used this to dig another car out of my way so that I could get to my apartment!), hand and foot warmers, granola bars, extra coat, snow boots, gloves, hat. umbrella. I keep my ski pants in my kit since I can pull them right over my jeans if I need to walk outside if my car breaks down during a snowstorm.
- If you have the space where you live, stock up on non-perishable supplies in case you are snowed in or the power goes out. I especially make sure that I have enough cat food and cat litter! Other helpful items include flashlights, batteries, camping stove, camping toilet supplies. Gallon-sized jugs (or larger) of water can be used for basic cooking if the pipes freeze.
- Set up a stash of non-electric entertainment. Board games, books, candles, wine.
Enjoy the season!