These will come in handy during winter storm season.

By Real Simple
Updated December 20, 2017

Whether you’re prepping for winter storm season or just want to be ready for an unexpected emergency any time of year, keep these power outage hacks in your back pocket and you’ll always be prepared. Emergency situations call for some creative thinking, so let a plastic milk jug stand in for a lantern or turn your olive oil stash into a makeshift oil lamp. You don’t have to wait for a power outage to test out these smart ideas—just hit the lights to let them shine.

Olive Oil Candle

Cut a piece of wick (or a cotton string dipped in melted wax) two inches longer than the height of the glass jar you’re using. Open up a paper clip, wrap one end around the wick, and let the other end rest on the side of the jar so the wick won’t fall in. The top of the wick should be about one inch above the top of the jar. Fill the jar with olive oil, stopping about one-half inch from the top. Light the wick with a match. Place the candle where it won’t get knocked, and always keep an eye on it when lit.

Milk Jug Lantern

Place a mini flashlight with a wrist strap inside a clean and empty plastic gallon container, then tape the strap to the outside. The light will bounce around the container, creating a stronger glow, and the jug handle makes it easy to carry the lantern with you from room to room.

Mason Jar Ice Hack

Do this one ahead of any power outages. Fill a glass jar half full with water, then place it on its side in the freezer until frozen solid. Turn the jar upright and keep it stored in your freezer. If you notice the ice start to melt, you know that your freezer shut off. This trick can tip you off to a power outage that happened while you were at work or when you return to your home after an evacuation. To help keep food fresh, avoid opening the freezer door when the electricity is out, and throw out any perishables (meat, fish, leftovers) if the freezer’s been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.