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Downers Grove, IL 60515


From Piles to Smiles® organizing and productivity service provides personalized, non-judgmental, professional coaching and hands-on organizing assistance that can help you claim control of your hectic personal and business life.

Prepare for a Winter Wonderland


Organizing and productivity ideas to help you experience the simplicity, harmony and freedom of being organized and in control.

Prepare for a Winter Wonderland

Sue Becker

Although we may not want to admit it, winter is on its way. Some simple preparations will make sure Jack Frost doesn’t catch you off guard. Once you’ve made the necessary preparations, enjoy the season and remember that the sunshine, scents, and sounds of spring would not be as sweet without the winds of winter.

As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, I'd like to express my gratitude to you for letting me be part of your life. greatly appreciate your trusting me with your challenges, personal stories, and treasures. It’s an honor and privilege to serve you and I’m grateful for the gift you are in my life.  

Prepare the outdoors. Bring in your garden and lawn care equipment and outdoor toys and sports equipment to protect them from harsh winter weather. Drain your garden hoses before you bring them in, and treat the gas in your lawnmower with gas stabilizer fluid (available in hardware stores) to keep it fresh. If you can’t bring your patio furniture or grill inside, clean and cover them to protect them from the elements.

Be prepared for snow and ice by putting snow shovels and de-icing compound in an easily-accessible place. Put your shovels where you can get them without opening an outside door in case snow drifts prevent those doors from opening. Make sure your snow blower is ready to go with fuel and oil, and give it a tune-up if necessary. And now that the leaves have stopped falling (except for a few tenacious oak leaves), make sure your gutters are cleaned out.

Prepare the indoors. Make sure your home is ready to handle winter’s arrival by installing a clean furnace filter, and having your furnace serviced if necessary. If you have a fireplace, have it and your chimney cleaned so they’re ready to add warmth safely. Also, make sure you have firewood on hand or on order. You may want to put out area rugs and boot trays for the inevitable mess that will be trekked in once the snow starts flying. Remove and store window air conditioner units to prolong their life and prevent heat from escaping. If your storm windows have been removed for summer, it’s time to put them back on duty. Now is also the time to see if you need additional weather stripping.

Prepare your closets and drawers. No matter how optimistic you are, it’s time to put those summer clothes away. Be sure they’re clean before you do so, or stains and moth holes may surprise you next spring. Weed through everyone’s clothes and pull out items that won’t fit next year, that are worn out, or that didn’t get worn this year and you’re ready to part with. Make sure everyone has jackets, boots, hats, gloves, and mittens that fit and are in good condition.

Prepare for emergencies.  Although power outages can occur any time of year, the heavy snow and ice that are part of the winter experience can make power lines more susceptible to damage. Be ready for an outage by having available non-perishable food that doesn’t require refrigeration or heating, a manual can opener, and 1 gallon of water per person per day (experts say to plan for 3 or 4 days). The website provides more information about how to be prepared for any emergency.

Prepare your car. We’ve all seen news clips of cars stranded on highways during heavy snowstorms. Don’t assume this could never happen to you – be prepared. Make sure your car has a thorough winter checkup, including a check of the battery, fluid levels, and tires. A bag of sand, road salt, or regular (not clumping) cat litter in your trunk can provide weight for better traction, and can also help if your tires are slipping as you try to move from a parked position. Be sure to have an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, and a small shovel to help move snow away from your tires. Have emergency supplies in your car in case you do break down, including flares or a reflective triangle, blankets, hats and gloves (enough for all potential passengers), a flashlight and batteries, non-perishable food, drinking water, and a first aid kit. You may even want to keep some of these items in a backpack in your trunk, so you can take them with you if you have to abandon your car and travel by foot. 

Wishing you a wonderful winter!