In Handy 14:24 26 Oct 2022

Fully prepared for winter: what everyone should have at home

We gathered helpful solutions and calculated how much each would cost: insulation to cooking without a stove. Why do you need a bag with bags at home, and how can you keep warm with the help of a table? Find out in the article.

What is the problem?

russia continues to attack Ukrainian infrastructure. putin's tactic is to sow panic and despair among Ukrainians. The russians are doing everything to leave us without electricity, water, and heat in the winter. Although the Ukrainian authorities will try to resist this and quickly restore the damage, it is worth preparing for winter as much as possible.

What is the solution?

On February 24, it became clear that you should always have a basic survival kit at home, add something "seasonal" to it every season, and not forget to check and update it. Rubryka decided to collect essential tips on preparing for winter and calculate how much it would cost.

How does it work?

Warming up

Even under the best schedule, the authorities cannot promise temperatures above 18 degrees in apartments this year. In some regions, the situation with heating can be even more difficult. So, this winter, Ukrainians will have to heat themselves at the expense of electrical appliances and other improvised means. 

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First, experts advise checking the electrical network in the apartment or house. The apartment will be blacked out on the panel if more electrical appliances are turned on than the network capacity allows, but the proper wiring will remain intact. It is better to call an electrician right now, inspect the electrical panels, repair the sockets and replace the problematic parts of cables and wires. Such measures will work if the electrical network is overloaded. 

  • Electrician services are estimated to cost at least UAH 300
  • Heaters (fan heaters, electric panel convectors, oil panels, heat panels, etc.) can be purchased on average from UAH 900 to 6,000.
  • A heated mattress pad, which only a couple of months ago cost 400 UAH, will now cost at least 600 UAH
  • Prices for electric heated blankets start from UAH 900.

Important! When using electric heaters, follow the warnings of the authorities. Because the russians are attacking Ukraine's electrical network, the local authorities are asking residents to reduce their electricity consumption. Pay attention to these requests. It will help support the energy system of the entire country.

Warm room

Another tip to help you survive the winter is creating a "warm room." If the area allows, it can be arranged in the kitchen. You can use it to prepare food and at the same time to live there. You can move a sofa to the kitchen, where the entire family can sleep and warm up. At the same time, it is crucial to insulate this room. Rubryka wrote about the best ways to do it here

Котацу — зігрітися взимку

The Japanese invented an excellent way to stay warm. This is a "kotatsu"—a traditional Japanese table covered with a blanket. A heater is sometimes additionally placed under the blanket (as an option, a regular heating pad). On the lower "floor," you can warm up or even sleep, and on the "upper," you can work on a laptop, read or have lunch. You can also put a mattress or mat under the table to make sleeping more comfortable. 

Kotatsu can be ordered on Aliexpress (a full set costs at least UAH 24,000), or you can make it yourself (a coffee table, a leg heating pad, a blanket, and a board on top), which will cost many times cheaper.

  • A double blanket made of hollow fiber is at least UAH 600
  • Duvet — from 1,900 to 6,000 hryvnias.
  • Electric mat with heating 50×60 cm — from UAH 650.
  • In addition, stores specializing in tourism goods offer sleeping bags and rugs for UAH 240
  • Winter sleeping bags are at least UAH 1,000. You cannot overestimate the effectiveness of sleeping bags; they are warm to sleep in, even at low temperatures. 

Tent in apartment

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You can place an ordinary tourist tent in the middle of the room, and you can be warmed up. This idea was tested in South Korea in 2013 when the country was going through an energy crisis. At that time, Koreans bought tents en masse and set them up in the middle of apartments. Entire families slept, played, or watched TV inside. For example, at a temperature of +18 in the apartment inside the tent, they kept it at 26 degrees. You can place a small heat source in the tent, and the temperature inside it will be much more comfortable than outside. In addition, unlike a sleeping bag, you can do a lot in it, for example, working on a laptop or conducting classes in Zoom.

  • The cheapest tent for 1–2 people, which can be placed directly on the bed, will cost approximately UAH 500-700.  
  • A 4-seater tent of 2x2x1.35m will cost at least UAH 1,200.

Stocking our wardrobes

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Warm clothes for the home are a separate expense item. It is necessary to dress correctly using the "cabbage" principle. Layered clothing works like a thermos. If you have to do some work, removing one or two layers of clothing is better so as not to sweat. After all, sweat will take heat from the body 25 times faster than air.

Thermal underwear and knitted socks are a must-have! When choosing thermal underwear, consider its type. It is worth buying one intended for something other than active recreation. Understand the principle of operation of thermal underwear, and note that it does not work with jeans and other cotton fabrics. For sleep, you should have a separate set of thermal underwear. Clothing should be as light and comfortable as possible.

  • A set of thermal underwear from a Ukrainian manufacturer will cost from UAH 530 to UAH 1,500, depending on the product's composition.
  • Woolen socks are from UAH 150.
  • Warm home shoes made of sheepskin — 250–350 hryvnias.
  • Other useful things are a poncho made of natural wool or a plaid sweatshirt with a hood (for now — from UAH 390).

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Looking for alternative energy sources

One can calculate any apocalyptic scenario of survival in an apartment for a relatively limited period. After all, it will be almost impossible to survive for several months without heat and electricity in a high-rise building. However, if some man-made accident occurs, you can survive for some time in a panel building in an insulated apartment, with sleeping bags, gas burners, and a supply of food and water even at sub-zero temperatures. 

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You must first stock up on matches and candles if the power supply goes out. The advice is simple, but for some reason, we forget about elementary and inexpensive things. It would be best if you also had a battery-powered radio to get news and follow emergency alerts, a flashlight and spare batteries for it or a rechargeable flashlight, and a couple of powerful power banks for charging phones and gadgets.

To charge a laptop, you should look for a power bank with a fast charging capacity of 60 W. Choosing devices with a capacity of 20,000 mAh or more for such needs is better. Prices for such capacity start from UAH 1,600

In the absence of electricity, lanterns and power banks on solar batteries will come to the rescue. But you should remember that it may not be possible to fully charge them because there are not so many sunny days in winter.

And another life hack for lighting: a car battery plus an LED strip. It works great. The charge lasts for a long time.

It will be reasonable to purchase a gas lamp. For cooking, buy tourist gas burners. By the way, gas cylinders run out quickly (one cylinder is usually enough for two hours of continuous burning), so you need to have spare ones. Buy dry fuel to heat a mug of water for tea or dilute sublimated food.

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  • A set of 10 packages of dry fuel (80 pieces) plus a stand-burner cost UAH 340;
  • Gas burners are at least UAH 350;
  • gas cylinders — from UAH 90 to UAH 300, depending on the manufacturer and volume;
  • battery-powered flashlight — from UAH 140 to UAH 600;
  • battery-powered radio — on average 500 hryvnias.

The hit of this season is pot belly stoves. You can warm up and cook food with a pot belly stove. Its disadvantage is that it does not keep warm for a long time and consumes a lot of fuel. In addition, the operation of the stove requires compliance with safety rules, taking the chimney outside, not leaning against the wall, and installing it on a metal sheet. The manufacturer must include a fire extinguisher and a carbon monoxide detector with the stove. On Ukrainian online shopping sites, stoves are now offered for UAH 3,000–6,500.

The most expensive pleasure will be the purchase of a generator. Prices for gasoline generators, depending on the capacity and manufacturer, are, on average, from UAH 9,000 to 70,000. Diesel generators are even more expensive — from UAH 60,000 to 170,000.

Stocking up on food

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The main requirements for winter wartime products are calorie content and shelf life. As a rule, in anticipation of difficult times, people sweep from the store shelves cereals, salt, sugar, pasta, flour, oil, stew, and canned goods, and this is a great set. 

  • Add beans, lentils, or other legumes to the strategic basket. These products are stored for a long time and are a good meat substitute. 
  • Fats—salted lard, oil, peanut paste, butter (you can freeze several packs), cod liver, omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements, olives, and fatty cheeses such as Parmesan. 
  • Also, pay attention to dry milk. It has universal use.
  • In addition, stock up on dried fruits, nuts, and honey. These natural products are nutritious and "long-lived" among other high-calorie products.
  • You should also stock up on products with a long shelf life whenever possible: coffee, tea, oil, condensed milk, candies, chocolate, cookies, cereal bread, and energy bars.

In a blackout, you should pay special attention to products that are prepared quickly. These are bouillon cubes, muesli, instant oatmeal, and vermicelli, sublimated meals in individual packaging. Army rations in retort bags do not require electricity and boiling water and are quickly heated. Just pour water, put the catalyst, and a bag of food; in 10–15 minutes, you will have a portion of hot lunch. By the way, buckwheat can also be steamed for several hours in a thermos without boiling it.

For more about how to prepare hot food in case of various events, click here.

If there is a basement, a cellar, an insulated balcony, or a garage that is not heated, you should fill them with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and other vegetables.

How to calculate the required amount of products? 

Here is an approximate list of products for a month for a family of 2 people (without children):

  1. Meat: chicken, beef. Approximately 4 kg. To save time, you can prepare minced meat from whole meat in advance and make cutlets, chops, soup, etc.
  2. Fish: frozen, fresh,  4 kg.
  3. Cereals: rice, buckwheat, oats, corn, wheat, 2 kg. Or 100–200 grams of grain per day per adult in dry form.
  4. Pasta products: 1 kg.
  5. Vegetables: potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, beets, garlic, frozen vegetable mixtures, 9 kg (of which potatoes are 3 kg, carrots, and cabbage are 2 kg each).
  6. Flour: 1 kg. 
  7. Oil: 1 bottle.
  8. Sugar and candies: 0.5 kg.
  9. Salt: packs of 1 kg are enough for several months.
  10. Coffee, tea: 1 pack / 100 g jar.
  11. Canned vegetables (olives, green peas, corn, beans): at least two jars of any product.
  12. Dried fruits and nuts: 300 g

Remember pets: stock up on feed, toilet filler, and medicine.

How to save money?

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To avoid overpaying for products, you should study the range of large hypermarkets in your city and understand where the prices are the most favorable.

A more profitable option is purchasing products on wholesale bases. This option is convenient only if you have your transport because usually, such retailers are located on the outskirts of large cities. It is even more profitable if you agree with relatives and friends on joint purchasing as wholesalers and even wholesale companies delivering products. In this case, you will not have to spend your time and gas on the trip.

Promotions and sales. Usually, this way, the retailers get rid of products with a shelf life on the verge of expiring in the next month or two. Here is the same recommendation: if the product does not raise doubts that you will use it shortly and will not spoil, take it, but consider the quantity. Sales are also arranged if the store buys a specific product in a large batch at once.

Taking care of water

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Be sure to stock up on drinking and technical water. One adult needs per day:

  • 3 liters of drinking water (including liquid consumed with food),
  • 10–12 liters for hygiene and cooking.

Make sure you have a supply of water for you and your family for at least 72 hours. Each bottle should be signed to avoid confusing drinking water with technical water.

Considering the possibility of water problems, you must find out in advance where there is a well, a pump, where you can take water. Suppose you're not confident about the quality of drinking water. In that case, we advise you to use additional cleaning: a filter jug for mechanical water purification or tablets for quick water disinfection (10 pcs are UAH 165). One tablet is designed for 10 liters of water.


Have plenty of wet wipes. You can wipe yourself completely with five napkins. And if necessary, "wash" the dishes.

There is a so-called tourist shower. It is a sponge that you can use to wash without water. Also, take care of a travel towel that quickly dries because there will be problems with this in a cold apartment.

A lack of water means a lack of sewage. Therefore, residents of multi-apartment buildings should stock up on packages. Think about how it will be more convenient for you in such a situation: going to the bathroom on a bucket or in a toilet and then throwing out feces in these bags.

  • the cheapest package of 60 wet wipes — UAH 20–25;
  • a set of sponges for "dry" washing of 10 pieces — UAH 350;
  • A towel that dries quickly — from UAH 150.
  • The "plastic bags with plastic bags" is something almost everyone has at home and is free.

First aid kit for household needs:

Аптечка для побутових потреб

  • plasters of various sizes;
  • activated carbon for intoxication;
  • fever reducer;
  • drug for pain relief;
  • antiallergic drug;
  • medicine for diarrhea;
  • medication for a stomach infection;
  • drops for infectious and inflammatory eye diseases;
  • medicines you take (dosage, at least for a week) with a description of the method of application and dose;
  • the stock of masks and shoe covers;
  • hematogen and vitamins will not be extra.

Even more helpful solutions!

In addition to things you should stock up on in the event of a lack of light and heat, you need to prepare a certain amount of cash. After all, in the event of a blackout, neither ATMs nor cash register terminals will work. 

It is also worth considering a plan in advance, where exactly you will move if something serious happens and it will be impossible to live in an apartment building. 

Be sure to learn the local authorities' measures in critical situations.

This article was made possible thanks to the support of IREX. The content is the sole responsibility of the Rubryka online publication and does not necessarily reflect the views of IREX or the US State Department.


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