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Are you ready for winter?

A pre-winter checklist to help prepare you for the change in seasons

Jen Weigel

Lessons for life

October 20, 2011

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With winter just around the corner, I asked fellow moms, readers on Facebook and an etiquette expert to help me compile a winter checklist so you'll be ready for the change in seasons.

Here's what you need to do so you won't have a meltdown when you see that first snowflake.

Gather your winter apparel. Make sure the family's leather boots are fully serviced at the shoe repair shop, and that your child's boots still fit.

"I have winter coats aired out and dry-cleaned," wrote Jodi Glenn on Facebook. "Also, I always stock up on a huge pile of those $1 pair of stretchy gloves for my boys to lose—I mean wear to school."

Service the car. From cleaning the inside to weatherproofing the outside, it's important to take the car in for a pre-winter service.

"Change the oil and wiper blades on the car," wrote Bill Klan on Facebook.

Buy supplies for the holiday party. If you plan to have any sort of holiday gathering, Amy Grace, etiquette expert for Invitationbox.com, said October is the time to get organized.

"Everybody is spoken for on the weekends during the holidays," Grace said. "You want your guests to receive your (invitation) first if you want people to show up to your events. I tell people to buy the invitations in October—early November the very latest."

Grace said you should also get your decorations early.

"The more generic they are, the more cost-effective it is," she said. "From a catering perspective, talk to caterers or vendors about purchasing in bulk so it's less expensive—so you'll have your food secured for your actual party."

Dig up the snow removal materials. Lisa Kemper reminded readers on Facebook to "take the snow shovel from the closet to the patio." You might be spending a lot of time with your shovel this winter, so make sure it's one you like.

And if you have snowblower, Facebook user Rick Vendl said to "be sure to get a tuneup."

Get rid of clothes that don't fit. Mother of two Sheila Ashford from Chicago said the change in weather is a great time to go through the closets and decide what you can live without.

"If I haven't worn it in a year, we put it in the charity pile," she said. "And my two kids are growing like weeds, so if it's tight now, there's no way they'll be wearing it next year. We clear out room in the drawers and pass (the clothes) on to friends with kids, or the Salvation Army."

Stock up on firewood. "My husband has committed to cut down several of the large dead buckthorn in our yard and chop them into firewood," wrote Stacey Moe on Facebook.

Move to a warmer climate. Of course, you wouldn't have to deal with these changes if you're like reader Randy Simms, who wrote on Facebook that he'll only be stocking up on aloe, "because the weather in southwest Florida is beautiful this time of year."

jweigel@tribune.com

Twitter: @jenweigel