Because maybe you didn't listen to your mom the night before.

When it comes to winter preparedness, my husband and I have a history of being really good big-picture (Kids’ snow suits, check! Boots, check!) but embarrassingly bad at the details (Let’s enjoy a cozy fire! Oh wait—we are out of firewood).

I guess the lesson we’ve learned (and yet, manage to forget time and again), is that it’s not enough to stock up on the no-brainers well before snow season hits; we also need to pay closer attention to regular inventory on a weekly basis. Because there won’t be pizza delivery if there’s several feet of snow outside—or a gasoline angel if the car is on empty.

This year, I’m hoping to do better by writing it all out ahead of time. I’m sure this checklist won’t cover everything, but it does hit my most frequent misses. Maybe it will help keep you stocked up and on-track, too.

UJ Toilet Paper

In case of emergency

You know the drill: first aid kits in decent shape, 1-2 working flashlights within reach, plus a few gallons of water, extra batteries, and enough of anything else you can’t run out of if you’re stuck indoors for 48 hours or more (like refills of essential medication). Buy a pack of 30 double rolls of toilet paper at the start of the season so you don’t have to think about it.

Ice melt

Snow tools

In addition to shovels that aren’t cracked, you’ll need gasoline and oil for a snow blower (unless it’s rechargeable like this one), and salt or an ice melting compound for steps and walkways so the mailman doesn’t leave you a note saying “Please do something about this or I will no longer deliver your mail.” So much for that “Neither snow nor sleet…” credo.


Guest provisions

From unexpected snowy sleepovers to the influx of holiday travelers, be ready for visitors with spare pillows, blankets, and towels, as well as extra toiletries like toothbrushes and travel-size spray deodorant.


Snow gear

You may be 100% confident you have a warm ski jacket, tough waterproof gloves, a swag hat, and snowsuits and boots for each of the kids. Now the important question: DO YOU KNOW WHERE THEY ARE? Dig them out of storage, and make sure everything is clean and fits. One of the two adults (who is not me) in my household once spilled gasoline all over his winter coat refilling the snow blower and left it in a ball in the garage. Which is where we found it the night before the next big storm.

Fire starter


Whether you dig the real thing or starter sticks, stock and re-stock regularly. Related: matches and/or a gas lighter.

Peanut butter


Fill the pantry with canned or carton soups, pasta and sauce, easy baking mixes, and proteins like tuna pouches and peanut butter. Keep a small collection of these items off to the side so you will have them if you need them. If you really want to think ahead (and have extra freezer space), freeze leftovers or a spare package or two of chicken or ground beef. Don’t forget to make sure you always have enough pet food!

Hot chocolate

Fun stuff

Make a list of books, movies, and podcasts you haven’t been able to get to and buy or download for long weekends indoors. Buy some family-friendly board games or hit the Jet Adult Shop for inspiring ways to make the most of forced togetherness. At the very least, make sure there’s plenty of hot chocolate to go around!

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