Things to do before a winter storm

things to do before a winter storm - field of snow with fence

February 23, 2023

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Ready for a super handy list of things to do before a winter storm to avoid those “oh crap – we’re low on food and have no way to get more” moments (been there)? I crowdsourced what people do before big storms on Instagram, and here are the great responses.

Once you hear a storm heading your way, I recommend breaking out your calendar and finding time to do the below things to the extent you want to.

Life things to do before a winter storm

  • Get gas for your car
  • Get groceries, particularly paying attention to the staples of milk, bread, etc.
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions if necessary
  • Charge all devices – and consider keeping them plugged in as the storm plays out to shore up your energy the most in the event the power goes out
  • If you have a rechargeable battery, make sure it’s plugged in
  • Locate flashlights, check batteries, and place them in an easily accessible place
  • Particularly if you live in a city, check parking restrictions and which parking ramps are opening up for free or reduced cost; schedule time to park car (especially if the one you want fills up quickly)
  • Think ahead to snow removal – including when you might do it (you might not need to schedule this, but if you’re working or, e.g., solo-parenting through a storm, it’s smart so you don’t forget when it would work and remember when it doesn’t; e.g., in storms I need to stay on top of snow levels, I put my youngest down for a nap, fire up the iPad for my oldest, and then fire up the snow blower)

Kid things to do before a winter storm

  • If you have little kids, get diapers/pullups
  • If you suspect school will be canceled and have smaller kids, consider getting art supplies, library books, etc. for entertainment
  • Consider downloading shows onto ipads in case the power and wifi goes out and you need the kids to be entertained and still while you figure out what to do in response to the outage

Work things to do before a winter storm

Before kids, my work wasn’t affected a whole lot by a storm. When working from the office and knowing I’d be working at home, the main thing I needed to do back then was look ahead at what tasks I planned to get done and meetings I needed to attend to make sure I brought everything home with me, printed things out, etc. In the day(s) before the storm, I’d try to do things that required printing (e.g., legal research if you like to print out caselaw) and being in the office to make it easier on myself.

If you have kids and anticipate them being home, you have a bit more you need to do:

  • For days you anticipate being without childcare, if you have younger kids, look ahead at what meetings you might need/want to cancel or reschedule. Consider doing that now – or once you get the email that school is canceled.
  • Similarly, if your impaired ability to do work means you’ll struggle to hit deadlines this week or next, see if you can move them out now.

Both things will help ease your stress and actually enjoy the extra time at home!

Stay safe!

Hope that helps you make it through a big storm with less stress – and even some fun thrown in the mix! Enjoy!

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