As much as we’d like to pretend otherwise, winter is coming. And with it comes the knowledge that we need be prepared.
Almost no one was 100 percent ready for a winter as ferocious as last year’s, but with a few key purchases and preventative measures, you can be as thoroughly equipped for a Winter Storm Juno redux as possible.
With that in mind, the kind folks over at Reddit’s Boston forum, /r/Boston, crowdsourced the best suggestions for ways to be prepared for the coming months of snow and ice. Because when it comes to surviving snowstorms in New England, the more people offering winter wisdom, the better. Here are 15 of the best tips we found from the /r/Boston community.
- “Get an ice scraper, small shovel, and bag of kitty litter so you can always get out of your parking spot,” wrote user stonesthrowaweigh. “Have blankets, water/food, and an emergency supplies kit (bandaids, extra phone charger) so you can get help and wait for it to arrive should your car break down somewhere.”
- “Don’t leave your ice scraper in your trunk,” wrote user septicidal. “I used to do that and then there was an ice storm and my trunk couldn’t open due to the inch-plus of ice coating everything.”
- Users differed on the necessity of snow tires. “Having snow tires last winter was a total game changer,” wrote user noraamitt. “I highly recommend getting a pair if you can afford it.” Others said snow tires are overkill. “Completely unnecessary in the greater Boston area as long as you don’t insist on driving at a storm’s peak,” wrote jgun83. “The likelihood we have 4 significant snowstorms on consecutive weeks like last year is incredibly small.”
- One user had a host of technical tips for car owners. “Get your car battery tested for free at any chain auto store,” they wrote. “If it won’t charge and stay at 12.6 volts, consider getting a new one. Also have your alternator tested and maybe back-flush your heater core if your car doesn’t heat well.”
- Redditors had plenty of advice about shovels. “Buy a shovel now,” wrote user elephantbuttons. “As soon as snow starts happening, they’ll all be gone.” Other suggestions included spraying the blade of the shovel with cooking spray, not putting off shoveling lest you get stuck inside, and buying two shovels, “for when you break the first.”
- Users also extolled the virtues of having a roof rake, which is the only way to properly take car of ice dams. “Buy a roof rake now if you own a home and have the slightest inkling that you might need one,” wrote user IphtashuFitz. “They only cost around $35 or so, and finding one when you absolutely need it will be like winning the lottery.”
- “LL Bean flannel lined jeans are amazing,” wrote user zeeke42. “Kept me nice and warm for hours of shoveling last winter.”
- “Get good boots,” wrote user vhalros. “You should be able to submerge your foot in water, and as long as the water does not go over the top of the boot, your foot should stay dry.”
- Layering is important, but how you layer is almost as crucial. “If you do decide to layer under your clothes make sure that it’s a synthetic fabric and NOT cotton!” wrote user cfpyfp.
- One user who just moved to Boston from Austin wasn’t sure what pieces of gear were crucial, so user SterlingMoniker gave a quick rundown.”Buy a thick down jacket, a cloth layer to go underneath (like a sweatshirt, fleece, or other kind of liner), some long underwear, snow pants, wool socks, waterproof boots with grip that can deal with snow and ice, hats and ski masks, and gloves.”
- Insulation was a big point for many Redditors, who suggested buying foam tape, putting plastic seal on windows, and buying curtains. “Everybody should call MassSave.com ASAP,” wrote user itsalright. “Both renters and owners can benefit from improved insulation. We did this as soon as we bought our house last year, and we love the improvements done.”
- If your water pipes border an outside wall, it’s a good idea let the water drip. “Leave faucets dripping at night and open the cabinet doors under the sinks in your house so the pipes are less likely to freeze,” wrote stonesthrowaweigh. “It can still happen though.” Others noted that if you live in an apartment building where your pipes are far away from an outdoor wall, this step isn’t necessary.
- One of the biggest worries when snow arrives is whether your boss is cool with you staying home. User 9BitSourceress laid out a series of questions you should already know the answer to. “When do they close the office? Do they go by whether the MBTA’s running? Do they close whenever there’s a state of emergency? How do they tell you when the office is closed? Find out now so you aren’t worrying about it the night before.”
- Know the parking rules when it comes to snow emergencies. “For parking, if you’re on a street with signs that say ‘no parking snow emergency,’ that means that when a snow emergency is declared, you cannot park on that street, and if you are parked there you will be towed,” wrote 9BitSourceress. “It’s also important to note that during a snow emergency, cars with resident stickers get to use municipal lots at a discounted rate.”
- With all of the anxiety involved in winter storm prep, it’s easy to forget the things that will make your days stuck indoors tolerable. “Get a deck of cards and some board games, as well as a goodly supply of bourbon,” wrote user cakebatter. “All are invaluable when you’re snowed in for a few days.”