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The Survival Mom – Freezing to Death in Your Own Home? Learn How to Live in Just One Room!

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Most of us live in new or new-ish homes with large, spacious rooms, great rooms, we call them. Even if your kitchen is small by today’s standards, your great-grandmother would have loved it! If you’ve ever been in a home built in the early 1900s or earlier, you know how tiny every room was in comparison with today’s homes. Well, great rooms are great, that is until you’ve lost power and need to somehow stay warm. Then, trying to heat that big space? Not so great.

However, there’s a simple solution to this. Read on…

image: snowed in homes in a blizzard

What’s the survival strategy to not freeze (or swelter?)

Well, it turns out that when an emergency hits and there is no power or you need a new furnace, those tiny rooms can be your friend and help you stay warm. It’s far easier to keep a 12×10 room either toasty warm in the winter or cool enough in the summer than a luxuriously huge room found in modern homes.

So, there’s your survival strategy for when the power goes out and you’re either freezing or sweltering: pick one of the smallest rooms in the house (probably not the bathroom, though!), and plan on making that your living quarters until life returns to normal.

Quick Tips to Stay Warm or Keep Cool

If this scenario happens to you, try these tactics to stay warm or keep cool:

  • Select a room with a very small window. The largest percentage of summer heat and winter cold comes directly through windows, so your Survival Room should be one with a limited amount of window area, or at least some good thermal curtains. (See our last tip if you do have a great room.)
  • Stock up on extra blankets and quilts. You’ll use these to cover windows and doorways, again, limiting the amount of outside air that enters. Here are more reasons to stockpile blankets. You can even tape up inexpensive mylar emergency blankets instead.
  • If you’ve experienced power failures in the past due to weather conditions, be sure to have proper clothing ready and accessible. You’ll likely stay bundled up from head to toe on cold, wintry days or wear nothing but shorts and a tee, or even just a bathing suit if the power goes out during the summer. In the cold, dress in layers, keep socks and slippers on your feet, and wear a hat.
  • Be sure that your heat source, like a Mr. Buddy, is safe to use indoors, and have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the room you plan to use for these types of emergencies.
  • Even if you loathe camping, watch for sales of sleeping bags and even small indoor tents. On the coldest of nights, you could always pitch a tent indoors and have everyone sleep inside it. Again, a much smaller space for temperature control. Read about more ways to use a tent indoors.
  • Keep a healthy stock of chemical hand, foot, and body warmers.
  • Make sure this room has a phone jack and you have a corded phone that doesn’t require AC power. (Many newer corded phones do.) Cordless phones go out in a power outage, and you might need a way to get in touch with emergency personnel or worried loved ones. In addition, you’ll want to be sure your landline is a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS), an analog system that derives its power and connectivity from the telephone provider’s central switching system through copper cables, not electricity. If you’re getting a package deal with internet, phone and cable bundled, you may have Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP.) VOIP requires electricity. Best to check so as to not be caught off guard.
  • If you do have a great room-style home, reader Dave offers this tip: Use bedsheets to close off hallways that don’t have doors so you can partition your rooms. (I have a family room, with a pellet stove, but is connected by hallways to the front room/front door and dining room. By closing off these hallways, I can concentrate the heat in my family room. Thanks, Dave!

And remember that these tips aren’t meant to be used in isolation! Use as many as you need to. Layer them up!

Even More Tips For Keeping Warm When There Isn’t Power

Read more ways to stay warm without power here.

When the power goes out, the much easier strategy is to plan on staying in a single room, with access to a bathroom, not to keep the entire house cool or warm. The kids will probably just feel like they are having a camping adventure inside!

Have you ever had to stay warm by living in just one room of your home? What would you add to this list?

Originally Published October 6, 2017; updated and revised by Team Survival Mom.Save

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I’m the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I’ve been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.

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