Settling Into A New Home: What to Do

Settling into a new home can be a daunting task. There are so many things to take care of that it seems like you can’t keep track of everything. However, this is supposed to be a fun time for you and your family. So here is a list of things you need to do when settling into you new home to make the move less stressful.

Fill Out A Change of Address Form
Once you move in it’s important to fill out a change of address form. This can easily be done at the local post office or online. However, don’t forget to notify your bank and any financial companies about the change. Contact them directly to let them know that you have moved.

Transfer Utilities and Services
Just like filling out a change of address form, you’ll want to transfer all of your utilities and services to your new address. Most utility services will either let you change your existing services or sign up. Check with our sales consultants about specific utility companies required at your new community.

Get To Know Your New Home
Let’s face it, you already know the layout of your new home, but do you know where the circuit breaker and water shutoffs are? Make sure to locate your homes main circuit breaker and make sure it’s clearly labeled. When something goes awry later down the road you’ll be happy you know exactly what to do.

Map Out The Area
Just like your new home, you’ll want to map out the surrounding community as well. Find out where the closest gas station, hospital, and grocery store is. This is for your convenience and it will help you adjust to the new community quickly and comfortably.

Help Children and Pets Adjust to Your New Home
If you have any children or pets, adjusting to the new environment can be hard for them. Help children settle into your new home by setting up their room first. Also, take them to the closest park to meet the neighborhood kids. If you have any pets, let them explore the new area on their own.

Meet Your Neighbors
Meeting your neighbors is key when you move into your new home. Don’t spend all your time settling into your new home. Get out and walk around the neighborhood and introduce yourselves to your neighbors. Establish a good relationship with them and they’ll be sure to keep a lookout on your home while you’re on vacation.

Relax and Enjoy
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your new space! The hardest part of the home-buying process is over. Relax and take your time while settling into your new home, but don’t forget to enjoy being a new homeowner either!

10 Baby-proofing Tips to Keep Your Home Baby-Friendly

Whether your family has a new arrival on the way or you’re babysitting a small visitor for the day here are 10 easy baby-proofing tips to make your home baby-friendly!

1. Plug Electrical Outlets
Keep little ones from sticking their fingers near electrical outlets by plugging up them with plastic outlet covers. Or if you prefer a safer option, you can replace your current electrical plates with spring-loaded outlet covers. You can even arrange furniture in front of outlets to diminish the little one’s temptation to stick his or her finger in those dangerous holes in the wall.

2. Barricade the Stairs
Stairs can be very dangerous for babies that can crawl or walk. Install baby gates at the top of staircases to prevent your mobile baby from tumbling down them. If you want to be extra pre-cautious, you can even put baby gates at the bottom of a staircase to prevent babies from climbing up stairs as well.

3. Relocate Plants and Planters
Move any houseplants up high or in an off-limits room to keep little ones from nibbling on those tasty looking plants. Even though most houseplants are harmless, some are poisonous when eaten. Just relocate plants for the time being until your baby is old enough to understand they shouldn’t eat plants.

4. Stabilize Your Furniture
Babies use furniture for support when they are learning to walk. To keep your little one safe, stabilize heavy pieces of furniture from toppling over with furniture straps or brackets.

5. Lock Up Your Cabinets
Keep you baby out of places they shouldn’t be with cabinet locks. Once babies are mobile they will show their amazing ability to open drawers and cabinets. To keep them from emptying your cabinets use cabinet locks to your advantage.

6. Lock Up Hazardous Products
Along with keeping your little one out of the cabinets you’ll want to keep them away from hazardous products as well. Relocate all these items to out of reach areas to keep your baby safe. Or if you can’t move these items secure them in a locked cabinet.

7. Cover Up Cords
Cords are a serious danger to babies. Babies can get tangled up in them and choke or even chew on them and get hurt. It’s best to remove or cover up any electrical cords that are in your baby’s reach. The same goes for hanging mobiles above their cribs. If you little one can sit up it’s time to remove the mobile.

8. Ban Small Toys
If you have an older child you might want to teach them to keep their small toys away from the baby. These toys can become choking hazards, so ban them to one off-limit space.

9. Soften Sharp Edges
If a little one is beginning to walk or use furniture to pull themselves up, you’ll want to go around the house and soften any sharp edges on furniture. Apply stick-on, removable corner cushions to prevent any bumps or bruises.

10. Baby-proof Yourself
Don’t forget to baby-proof yourself while taking care of a little one. Babies go through a grabby phase, so anything in his or her reach is fair game. You’ll have to change your habits for a little while, but it will keep your baby safe while they outgrow the grabby phase. Set glasses, dinner plates, silverware, and cell phones far back on counters and tables. Don’t wear dangly earrings or necklaces. Just make sure to keep things out of their reach so they don’t end up hurting themselves or you!

For more tips and tricks on how to baby-proof your home, click here. Or if you want a more in depth checklist on things to baby-proof around the house click here.

10 Ways to Declutter Your House

1. Make a Date With Your Space
Decluttering any space, let alone your house, takes a good amount time. So, block off a morning or afternoon and begin organizing. However, don’t expect to get the whole house done in a day. It’ll take time to clean and organize every room!

2. Make a Plan of Attack
Before you start organizing make a plan of attack. What room are you going to start with? How much do you want to achieve in the time you set aside? It’s usually a good idea to start with the area in your house that is the most frustrating. Get this space out of the way and you’ll feel unstoppable.

3. Arm Yourself
It’s smart to get your supplies ready before you start organizing. You’ll need trash bags, for trash and for recyclables, a box for charitable items, and a box for items that don’t belong in that space. Also, it’s a good idea to clean the space while your organizing it. Have cleaning supplies around to wipe down the area once everything is cleared out of the space. Not only will the space be organized, but it will also be clean as well.

4. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
The best way to declutter your house is to focus on one space at a time. It’s nearly impossible to clean the whole house in an entire day. Go room by room and don’t start another room if you’re feeling unfocused. You’ll most likely organize less because you’ll be frustrated and less efficient.

5. Organize First; Buy Second
It’s tempting to buy a bunch of containers to help you organize, but you should always organize before you buy any containers. You never know what containers will function best in your space. So organize first and then assess what you need container-wise.

6. Group Like Items Together
When organizing, a good way to get through a bunch of clutter is to group like items together. Do you have a bunch of black pants that you hardly wear? Keep two or three pairs and donate the rest. The same goes for any other like items as well!

7. Be Honest With Yourself
The hardest part of organizing is being honest with yourself. It’s always hard to let things go, but if you haven’t worn or used an item in a year its best to get rid of it. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll use it later down the road. If you haven’t used it already, you won’t use it later.

8. Elevate Items Off The Floor
The easiest and quickest way to make any room look more organized is to elevate items off the floor. Don’t let toys, tools, or clothes sit around on the floor, use shelving to your advantage and get those items off the floor.

9. Complete Each Task Completely
Your house will never be decluttered if you don’t follow through with each task. Never stop in the middle of organizing and leave a room unfinished. You’re more likely to never go back to finish decluttering the room. Instead, go room by room and make sure to complete each task completely before moving on!

10. Your Space Will Get Messy Again — Don’t Worry
Just because you’ve decluttered your house doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. Expect regular upkeep. There are always ingoing and outgoing items that will eventually clutter your home. However, because you’ve organized the house before, it will be easier tidying up when things get a little messy.

Bonus: Get Through Organizing By Having Fun!
How can organizing be fun you ask? Well, there plenty of ways! Make organizing a design challenge. Integrate your personal style into the storage bins you choose and make it a part of the overall room design. Or make it a game! Make a set of rules and goals for yourself and you’ll find that your organize a room quicker!

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

With the New Year approaching many people are making their list of New Year’s resolutions. However, most people focus on resolutions for themselves. From eating healthier to staying organized, many individuals forget to think about resolutions for their household. Making home resolutions will undoubtedly help you stay organized in the New Year, so here are five New Year’s resolutions to kick start your 2018!

1. Simplify Your Stuff
Clutter is unavoidable, even if you are the most organized person in the world. This year clear the clutter and keep it that way as one of your New Year’s home resolutions. Throughout the year many individuals acquire a lot of stuff. So go room by room and purge any cabinets and drawers that are cluttered from last year. While cleaning, think about how much you’ve used the particular item in question. If you haven’t used something lately think about parting ways with it or donating it. Once you’ve cleared the clutter, think twice before bringing any new items into your house and make sure that anything you do bring into your home raises your energy level!

2. Shrink your Carbon Footprint
Nothing is better than going green for the New Year! This year reduce your carbon footprint by making minor adjustments to your household to “greener” more environmentally-friendly habits. That doesn’t mean you have to install solar panels or drive a hybrid car. Make minor adjustments and start with cutting your home’s energy usage. Here are some ideas to help you reduce your home’s energy usage!

  • Get smart with your thermostat and turn it down when you leave the house or at night.
  • Install LED lightbulbs around the house.
  • Give composting a try.
  • Only run dishwashers and washers/dryers when they are full.
  • For more ideas to reduce your carbon footprint, click here.

3. Weekly Cleaning System
You can also become more organized by implementing a cleaning schedule for the week for your New Year’s home resolution. By planning a cleaning schedule, you’ll find it easier to clean you home throughout the week. Plus, keeping the mess under control will benefit you greatly. By spreading out home chores throughout the week you’ll have more time to spend with your family or invest in your hobbies. Also, it’s easier to clean in smaller portions than to clean the whole house! So stay on top of cleaning this year and keep any mess under control.

4. Get Ready for Entertaining
Have a little fun this year and entertain family, friends, and guests more in your amazing Judd Builders home! Take a vow to spend more time with those you care about. You’ll have a fantastic time with your friends, family, and neighbors. But if you’re going to be inviting people in, make your resolution to add updates or fresh decor to the rooms you entertain in. You don’t have to go full out and re-design everything, but bring in new elements to your home to create a new energy. Whether it’s creating dramatic presentations with large flower displays or adding new dynamic pillows, your guests will take notice!

5. Volunteer in Your Community
Take some time out of your busy lifestyle and find volunteer opportunities within your community. This is a great home resolution for you and your family because not only are you giving back to your community, but you’re also spending quality time together! Don’t feel like you have to go this alone either. Invite your neighbors and friends to join you and make it a monthly event! There’s nothing better than giving back to your community while getting closing with your family and friends!

Minor Home Fixes in a Flash

There are always those minor home projects that you end up putting off every weekend. Stop ignoring these minor fixes and cross them off your to do list in a flash with these helpful tips and tricks!

Furniture Scratches
Furniture scratches can be frustrating, especially when it happens on your favorite piece of furniture. However, there’s nothing a little Old English Scratch Cover can’t fix! They also provide information on how to care for your furniture as well as an array of products to upkeep your furniture’s natural beauty.

Water Rings
You know that frustrating feeling you get when you see water rings on your furniture because someone didn’t use a coaster? Well now you can let go of that frustration and get rid of those nasty water rings. There are multiple ways to remove water rings from your wooden furniture. So get cleaning and rid you furniture of those miserable looking water rings.

Carpet Spills
When something spills on a brand new carpet, it can send homeowners into a frenzy. So stay calm and make sure to blot instead of rub the stain. When you rub the stain you are only making it bigger. So blot stain and check out Shaw Carpets website for tips to help you clean multiple stains and keep your carpets in tiptop shape!

Lumpy Pillows
If you’re unsure if you should throw your lumpy pillow away, there is a way to test it! Perform the “break test” by folding your pillow in half and placing a heavy book on it. If it pops back into its original state it’s still good to use. If not, your pillow is dead and needs to be thrown out and replaced. Also, the “break test” only works on fiberfill, down- or feather-filled pillows not on foam or any other type of pillow.

Mildewy Vinyl Shower-Curtain Liner
This one is an extremely easy fix! Just take the shower-curtain down and throw it in the washer with some old towels. Make sure to put it on a short-cycle using hot water and bleach and it will be as good as new!

Crayon Off The Wall
If you have any kids or grandkids they’re bound to get crayon all over the place, especially the wall. A magic eraser will do the trick, but if you don’t have one handy you could always use a blow dryer to heat up the wax and wipe it off with a rag and dish soap. Or if you have WD-40 handy, spritz it on the crayon markings and wipe it away!

Musty Front-Load Washer Smell
One of the most frustrating things to deal with around the house is the musty smell front-load washers give off. To rid your washer of the unpleasant smell you should move your wet clothes to the dryer immediately before they get musty. That’s easier said than done, but if you’re able to it will help prevent the musty smell from manifesting. Also, keep the front door open to let the washer air dry. However, there are other measures you can take to combat against your washer’s musty smell. Clean the door’s rubber seal once a month with a half and half solution of water and vinegar. You can do a cleansing wash by running your washer empty on the hottest setting with a cup of baking soda in the drum and white vinegar in the detergent dispenser. Also, don’t forget to clean your drain pump filter every few weeks!

7 Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill

With fall in full effect and the impending winter close behind its smart to start thinking about your heating bill. Heating your house in essential for these colder months, but it can get rather costly. Here are seven ways to lower your heating bill, yet still keep your home warm and cozy.

1. Use a Programmable Thermostat
One of the easiest ways to lower your heating bill is to use a programmable thermostat. Or if you don’t have a programmable thermostat, at least use the one you already have properly. Turn down the thermostat 10 degrees when you go to work and bed or leave the house for an extended period of time. The U.S. Department of Energy says for every eight hours you turn your thermostat down, you can possibly save up to 15 percent on your heating bill.

2. Bundle Up
Lower your thermostat by bundling up. That’s right, layer on warm clothing when your home and you won’t feel the difference when you lower your thermostat. Don’t forget about socks! If your feet are cold, the rest of your body will also feel cold.

3. Check For Drafts
Windows and door are the biggest culprits for creating drafts in your house. In order to check for them use a candle or incense and hold it by the windows and doors. If there is a draft you will see the candle light flicker or the incense smoke will escape where the air is being let in.

4. Change Your Filters
Most people forget to change their filters and it is a costly mistake when it comes to your heating bill. A dirty filter can make costs skyrocket. The type of heater you have will affect when and how many times you should change your filter. If you have a gas heater, check the filter every other year. If you have electric or oil, check it once a year.

5. Close Your Fireplace Flue
If you have a fireplace in your house make sure to close the fireplace flue. This seems straightforward, but many people forget about it. If you don’t close the flue, it’s like having a huge hole in your roof letting the cool air in.

6. Use a Space Heater
Some people avoid using a space heater because they think it will make their electric bill higher. However, if you use the space heater properly you can still save on your heating bill without increasing you electric bill drastically. Keep the space heater where your family gathers and turn down the thermostat. Every degree below 70 can save you three percent on your heating bill. An electrical space heater that uses 1500 watts costs approximately 14 cents per hour to use. So your electric bill will go up, but the costs you save from heating will offset the cost of using a space heater. Check out these space heaters and find the perfect one for you!

7. Keep Heating Registers Clear
Don’t block your heating vents with furniture and rugs; make the most of the heat by moving any furniture and rugs away from vents. Also, if you aren’t using a room in your house close the door. There’s no sense in heating a room that isn’t used. So keep the heat where it’s absolutely necessary and stay warm all fall and winter long.

Be Prepared for Winter: Easy Home Winterization

With winter fast approaching, it’s important to begin winterizing your home. There is a lot to do to prepare your home for the colder months ahead, so get a jump start on the process and stay warm, cozy, and stress free this winter!

Clean Windows Before It Gets Too Cold
Window upkeep is important year round and should be done at least two times a year. Not only will your windows stay clean and clear, but while you’re cleaning you’ll figure out if any of your windows have cracks or drafts and be able to fix them before the winter season. However, if you don’t have time or feel up to the task you could easily hire a window cleaner. Just be sure to schedule before it gets too cold so there aren’t any freezing problems during the window cleaning process.

Clean Your Gutters
You’ll want to clean out your gutters before the winter arrives. Having clear gutters will ensure that water is properly drained away from your house. However, if they are clogged during the winter season they can freeze and cause additional blockages. These blockages can lead to rain or melting snow soak into your homes roof or foundation, causing unwanted damage.

Prune Trees Around the House
We’ve all seen the damage branches can do to a house, especially when they are covered by heavy snow or ice. So take extra precaution this winter and prune tree branches hanging close to your house. Make sure to get this out of the way before the weather gets too cold!

Cover Landscape and Outdoor Accessories
Easily forgotten, its essential to take care of your landscape and outdoor accessories before winter hits. Cover patio furniture if you have it and disconnect hoses so they don’t freeze. Also, if you have a deck, consider giving a new coat of sealer if it needs it. For more information on yard care before winter check out Fall Garden Care for more information!

Protect Pipes From Freezing
Burst pipes are extremely costly. However, there are many precautions you can take to protect your pipes from freezing and potentially bursting! It’s okay to turn the heat down when you leave the house, but don’t turn it down too much, the pipes need that heat to prevent from freezing. Another precaution is to insulate exposed pipe around the house. Go to your closest hardware store and buy rubber foam or fiberglass sleeves to insulate exposed pipes. Lastly, if there is a serious cold snap let your faucets drip. This can provide relief to your pipes.

Get a Roof Rake
Roofs can only withstand about four feet of fresh snow before it gets stressed. So if your expecting huge winter storms with a lot of snowfall buy a roof rake to help clear off snow from you roof! Check out these roof rakes at Home Depot.

Be Prepared For a Winter Storm
There’s always one storm that drops a huge amount of snow every winter. So be prepared this winter for a major snowstorm and follow these tips to stay safe before, during, and after a major snowstorm.

To Build or Not To Build: Three Things To Consider

To build or not to build, that is the question.

When buying home it’s important for all homebuyers to ask themselves: Do I want to buy a pre-owned house or do I want to build? It’s important to weigh your options, but building a new home comes with so many wonderful perks. You can find the perfect property in a community that fits your lifestyle requirements. Still, building a new home is a major decision, and here are three things to think about before you make the big move to build.

Efficiency in the Build Process
There are countless things to consider when building a home, however there are common misconceptions about building a new home. Many people believe that they can close on a pre-owned home faster than building a new one, but very often this is not the case. Here at Judd Builders, we take great pride in the efficiency of our building process. The homebuyer’s experience takes precedence during the course of home construction. We offer unparalleled personal service and design throughout the whole building process in order to ensure the homebuyers happiness and peace of mind. So, don’t hesitate to build a new and personalized home, just make sure you choose a builder like Judd who will take care of you throughout the whole experience.

Location, Location, Location
When it comes to building a home, the most important aspect of home buying is location, location, location. Yes, you can find a pre-owned home in a good neighborhood, but when you build a new home at a planned community they are often built in up-and-coming neighborhoods. When deciding where to build, you’ll find that all of our communities are nestled in sought after areas that offer many amenities. From great school districts to the very best recreation, it’s hard to find better locations and experiences than those offered by Judd Builders.

Interior Design Tailored Specifically for You
Homebuyers can personalize a pre-owned home to an extent, but it takes time, money, and effort – and you’re on your own. When you elect to build a new home you can completely personalize it with the full help and support of Judd Builders. Our team will help you through the process as you design your dream home so that it perfectly reflects you! Get fun with color or get chic with fixtures, cabinets, and granite countertops, whatever you have in mind we want to help you achieve it.

These are just a few things to consider when deciding whether to build a new home. Don’t be afraid to explore the option, you might find that your dream house is waiting to be built!

If you have any questions about the building process or our quick delivery homes, please feel free to contact us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

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The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. They have considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions. They are ready to declutter but some get quickly tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do I begin?

Consider this list of 10 creative ways to declutter your home:

1. Give yourself 5 solid minutes. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recommends 18 different 5-minute decluttering tips. Pick one today that sounds appealing. Or better yet, pick a random number 1-18, read the specific tip, and commit 5 minutes to completing it.

2. Give away one item each day. Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.

3. Fill one trash bag. Early in our journey towards simplicity, one of my favorite decluttering techniques was to grab a simple large trash bag and see how quickly I could fill it. While much of what I collected was trash, this could also be used to fill a bag for Goodwill.

4. Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. While this idea didn’t originate with Oprah, she was the one to help give it notoriety. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard. This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items).

5. Make a list. Dana Byers recommends creating a list of places/areas in your home to declutter beginning with the easiest… which doesn’t sound all that creative until she adds this note, “When you’re done with one area, STOP.” This list could be made as easy or difficult as you desire based upon what areas of your home make up the list (drawers/closets/rooms). And could easily fit into any schedule.

6. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house. On more than one occasion, this challenge actually became a quick competition between my wife and me… and your kids don’t have to be too old to participate as well.

7. Change your perspective. Unclutterer offers a powerful approach to decluttering when they offer a number of strategies to help you change your perspective and begin to notice some clutter you may have missed. Among their ideas: take photos of your house, invite over a toddler, or ask the boss to meet in your office. With all of the examples, the hope is to cause you to see your home in a new light.

8. Experiment with numbers. For example, Courtney Carver invented Project 333 to challenge people to wear only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months. If 33 articles of clothing seems too little, adjust the rules as you need by picking a new number. The important thing is to challenge yourself to live with less and see what you learn from the experiment.

9. Use your imagination. Psychology Today recommends using your imagination to help declutter objects that may seem difficult to remove. Try asking yourself unique questions like, “If I was just buying this now, how much would I pay?” These creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for some with difficulties removing unneeded clutter.

10. The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.

No matter what you choose to help you get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step with excitement behind it. There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. How you remove it is up to you.

Winterizing Your Home

 

Cozy winter still lifeNow that winter’s practically upon us, it’s time to start preparing for the cold and snowy months ahead. Failure to winterize can result in higher energy bills and more costly repairs. Here’s what you need to know to prepare your home for the colder weather throughout the winter season.

Seal Your Windows and Doors

To avoid heat escaping from drafty windows and doors, you should use caulking around all edges. You can lose a lot of energy through tiny cracks, which leads to higher bills. How do you know if you have drafts? Light a candle and hold it near the window; if it flickers, you have an energy leak. If your existing windows and doors are more than 20 years old, it may be time to invest in replacements. This way, you get more energy efficient windows and doors that look beautiful and add to the curb appeal and value of your home.

Install Storm Windows and Doors

In the same vein, it’s time to switch out your screens and put on the storm doors. This will keep cold, wind and snow from battering your front and side doors, which can really do a number on their appearance and functionality.

Service Furnace/Change Furnace Filters

Schedule a furnace inspection to ensure it’s in good working condition before you have to rely on it every day. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your unit, keep costly repairs at bay and ensure efficient operation. At the same time, change your furnace filters. Those filters should be changed every few months, but each manufacturer is different so read the box.

Clean Gutters and Clean up the Yard

Rake or mow up all the fallen leaves before the first snow. Cover any bushes you want to protect with burlap. Scoop out debris from your gutters to ensure a smoother flow of water and snow melt runoff.

Close Unused Doors and Vents

No need to heat rooms you never use. Close off vents and doors to guest rooms, finished basements and the like to conserve on energy and direct heat where it needs to go most: your main living quarters.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Flip your ceiling fan switch to reverse the direction of the blades. They should be going clockwise in winter to keep warm air downwards. In summer, switch them back to counterclockwise.

Check Your Emergency Supply

With winter storms on the way, bringing the potential for power outages, it’s important to stock up on your emergency supplies. Make sure you have a first aid kit complete with sanitizers, bandages, over the counter medications and backup prescriptions. If anyone in your family has an allergy, make sure you have extra epinephrine pens on hand. Stockpile canned goods, dried foods, gallons of water (one per person per day), flashlights with extra batteries, manual can openers, matches, fully charged cell phones and a fire extinguisher.