In our “Get Prepared” Series, we’ve been learning to plan ahead for a 2-4 week power outage. We’ve talked about laundry and water . . . but what clothes would make the duration more comfortable? Plan to store some clothes for each member of the family, and keep the sizes updated. And Go Large. It is easier to layer with clothes that are on the big side.
Keeping Clothing for Long Term Emergencies
• You will not have air conditioning/heat in the house. What clothing will be the most comfortable?
• You may be forced outside for work and/or play. What clothing will be the most comfortable?
• Do not invest in this supply. Keep old clothing like sweatshirts and t-shirts rather than give them away. Watch for good buys at yard sales. This supply of clothes does not have to fit, be necessarily gender specific, match or look good. You are looking for warmth (or cool) and comfort.
• How will you wash these clothes? Wearing a t-shirt under a sweatshirt will stall the need to wash the sweatshirt as frequently. Remember, this hypothetical situation will preclude sensitivity to cleanliness and odors!
• What sizes may you need within the coming year? Plan sizes ahead.
• Stock up on socks!!
If your area has a winter, or even a cool season, plan to store some warm clothes, focusing on layers. T-shirts under sweatshirts under hoodies would be very versatile, even if the house is cold. Think about clothing that dries easily, in case your family will play in the snow. Think about clothing that is comfortable for labor – such as splitting firewood or hauling water to the house. Snowmobile ‘bib overall’ pants are terrific! Pajamas can be less of an issue by doubling up – putting more people in each bed. Body heat is the best heat source there is for warmth while sleeping. Might you need a boxful of hats and mittens? Might you need to have more socks on hand?
If your area has very hot summers, plan to store some cool clothes. Target light colored clothing – it reflects heat. There is a reason Desert Dwellers wear light colored, flowing robes. When my husband spent two years working as a civilian he was most comfortable in very large long-sleeved cotton t-shirts. I was able to find them at Land’s End – for storage purposes I would just keep my eye out at yard sales. You might want to have hats on hand to keep heat off the head. You will be tempted to keep sandals on hand but keep in mind you may have to be outside more than usual, and may be working outside in a power outage situation. Therefore, you will want socks and appropriate shoes, even in hot weather. If you live near a creek or other water, you might want to have a pair of worn out tennis shoes for each person to make creek play safer! If you are in a situation where you cannot get to medical help immediately, it is important to prevent injuries as much as possible.
Spring and Fall Clothes
Whether or not your area has four seasons, springs and falls are usually fairly mild. If you focus on storing layers, you will be covered – no pun intended! – for all four seasons. And stock up on socks!
You may find yourself in a situation where you must walk and work outside more than usual. If you live in the woods like I do, sometimes tennis shoes are not sufficient. Depending on your habitat, each household member should have a sturdy pair of working/walking shoes – like hiking boots with appropriate socks. They are quite uncomfortable and stiff at first, so as part of your preparation plan, plan activities where the family is wearing the boots in order to break them in. Don’t forget the socks!
You absolutely WILL experience a power outage. Hopefully it will not be more than a few hours, but plan as if it will be a few weeks. With some planning, a significant inconvenience can be made as comfortable as possible.