You have lived your entire life in a climate that does not involve snow, but now you are moving to a region where winter is serious business. How are you going to survive?
Hundreds of millions of people live through snowy winters every year, and you can, too. Your first winter is always going to be a tough one, but with the right preparation, you could come to enjoy the cold, dark change of seasons. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you through your first winter as a displaced desert dweller, so you can find success in your transition into your new life in a snowy locale.
Invest in a New Cold-weather Wardrobe
Easily amongst the biggest concerns for those moving from warmer to colder climates is their wardrobe. Certainly, places that experience true, snowy winter demand a larger array of outerwear, which you probably don’t have if you have lived your entire life in the sun. Assuming you already have winter essentials like long-sleeve shirts and jeans, you need at the very least a weatherproof jacket, a warm cap and some gloves, but you would be wise to get yourself a set of thermals to wear under your clothes, at least one pair of snow pants and mittens to keep your hands warm under your gloves. However, you should do the work of acquiring your winter gear only after you have relocated, as you don’t want to bother with schlepping these bulky items across the country.
Wear Light Layers — Even in the Summer
When you live somewhere hot — like most of California, Arizona and the rest of the Southwest and Mountain West — you really only need to wear one layer of clothing to survive the entire day. Yet, most of the rest of the world has much less predictable weather patterns, even during the summertime. When you leave your home, you need to be prepared for all types of weather: sweltering sunshine, powerful winds, misting rain and plummeting temperatures. Thus, you should equip yourself with light layers every month of the year, which you can easily don or shed as the weather shifts from minute to minute.
Go Outside, Even When It’s Freezing
Cabin fever is a real health concern for those living in places that often become overcome by snow and ice. Leaving your home is good for your mind and body, so you should schedule outings every day, even during the winter, even if they only take you to the end of your street and back.
Of course, going outside is all but impossible if your walkways are covered in inches of snow and ice. As soon as snow starts falling, you will need to take precautions to keep your doors accessible. Because salt has a much lower freezing point than water, throwing rock salt on your walkways and driveways will usually prevent them from becoming impassable. Still, you should use a snowblower multiple times while snow is falling to prevent large amounts of snow accumulation.
Learn to Winterize Your Home and Car
Freezing temperatures wreak havoc on structures and vehicles, but you can mitigate most of the damage by preparing your home and car for the cold season. Here are a few of the essential chores you will need to complete during fall, so your home (and you) will survive the winter:
- Check and replace weatherstripping around doors and windows
- Check and add insulation in attic
- Clean the gutters
- Disconnect and drain outdoor pipes and bring hose inside
- Check and replace roof shingles
- Trim trees and shrubs
Whether or not you expect to use your vehicle during the winter, you need to make sure it will survive the cold temperatures. Here are a few winterizing tips for your car:
- Wash the exterior
- Patch the paint
- Replace wiper blades
- Switch to snow tires
- Check and increase the tire pressure
- Add antifreeze as necessary
It is natural to feel nervous about such a serious change to your environment, but the truth is that a snowy winter is not a reason to resist a move. By learning more about the challenges that snow can pose, you can prepare accordingly — and in time, you might come to love a real winter season.
Preparing Your Home’s Interior for Winter
As you transition from a desert dweller to a snow lover, it’s not just the exterior of your home that needs to be prepared for the colder climate. Your home’s interior also needs some attention to ensure you stay warm and comfortable throughout the winter months. Here are some tips:
- Insulate Your Home: Proper insulation is key to keeping your home warm during the winter. Check your home’s insulation in the attic, walls, and floors. You might need to add more insulation or replace old, ineffective material.
- Seal Windows and Doors: Cold air can easily seep into your home through gaps in windows and doors. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal these gaps and keep the cold air out.
- Prepare Your Kitchen: In colder climates, you might find yourself cooking and baking more often. Make sure your kitchen is ready for this. Have your oven and stove checked and serviced if necessary. Stock up on pantry essentials so you don’t have to make frequent trips to the grocery store in the cold.
- Adjust Your HVAC System: If you’re moving from a desert climate, you’re probably used to using your air conditioning more than your heating. Have your HVAC system checked and serviced to ensure it’s ready for the increased demand for heating. You might also want to consider getting a programmable thermostat, which can help save energy by allowing you to set your home’s temperature for different times of the day.
- Create a Cozy Living Space: One of the joys of winter is getting to cozy up indoors. Invest in some warm blankets, rugs, and curtains. These not only make your home feel cozier but also add an extra layer of insulation.
Remember, transitioning from a desert dweller to a snow lover is not just about surviving the winter, but also about enjoying it. With the right preparation, you can make your home a warm and cozy haven during the snowy months.