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7 household hacks to help you prepare for Hurricane Irma

As Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest Atlantic storms in recorded history, heads for Florida, people are taking to social media to share their "pro tips" for hurricane preparations.

Some areas are under evacuation orders, and officials are urging people to heed the warnings. (Florida Gov. Rick Scott put it bluntly: "If you live in any evacuation zones and you're still at home, LEAVE!")

But if you plan to shelter at home, some items lying around your house may be just what you need to get through a few difficult days.

Here are some hurricane hacks you probably didn't think of:

Fill Ziplock bags full of water and freeze them standing upright

Fill up Ziplock bags full of water and store them in your freezer before you lose power. Facebook/Naila Gomez

Fill Ziploc bags three-quarters full of water and stack them standing upright in your freezer. This will help keep your freezer cold longer in case of a power outage, and it will also give you a good supply of fresh drinking water if needed. Remember, you should stockpile at least 1 gallon of water per person/animal per day for at least three days. 

Turn your washing machine into a cooler

Use your washing machine to store items that need to keep cool. Daniel Villa

Before the storm hits, fill up your washing machine with ice, put items inside that you want to keep chilled and close the lid to keep them cool. Don't worry about what to do when the ice starts to melt — the machine is designed to drain water.

Fill your bathtub full of water

Florida resident Karyl Niemi suggests using a silicone pot cover to seal your drain. Karyl Niemi

This is an old standby for emergency preparations: fill your bathtub up with water before the storm hits. The water can be used to flush toilets, clean dishes or it can be purified and used as extra drinking water. If you have time, buy bags to line the tub before filling it to keep water clean for drinking, the National Weather Service recommends. On Facebook, Florida resident Karyl Niemi suggests using a silicone pot cover to seal your drain. 

Put pieces of sod into a kiddie pool to make a potty area for your dog

A dog training facility in Florida found a creative way to bring the outdoors into your home when you're stuck inside during a storm. Facebook/Every Dog Has Its Day

If you have to shelter at home and you have a pet, expect your animal will need to remain indoors until you're told it's safe to do otherwise. That means your pet will need a safe place to relieve itself while inside. Every Dog Has Its Day, a dog training facility in Orlando, Florida, recommends putting sod in a kiddie pool and putting it in your garage (if it isn't likely to flood). That way, you'll have "a safe place for your dogs to potty during the storm," the group wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared nearly 25,000 times.

Use a water bottle and a flashlight to make a lantern

Tape a flashlight to the bottom of a plastic water bottle to create a makeshift lantern. Twitter/TeamKaite

If you don't go camping, you'll probably never use a lantern again. So, don't buy one. There's an easier solution: Tape a flashlight to the underside of a water bottle — or water jug — to help illuminate a room if the power goes out. This hack will also work with your smartphone. Simply place a plastic bottle over the flashlight on your smartphone for the same effect.

Embrace your dishwasher

Place items in your dishwasher to help keep them dry. Facebook/Anna Kerns

If there are pictures or other small items you'd like to keep safe, try storing them in plastic bags and placing them inside your dishwasher. But first, turn off the water supply to the unit. "It's sealed to keep water in, so it should do just fine keeping it out too," CBS affiliate WTSP in Florida reports. "Just make sure all your dishes are taken out before loading up important documents or belongings." Plastic bins, washing machines, dryers and safe boxes can also be used to help preserve valuables. 

However, it's important to note none of these options are guaranteed to be 100 percent waterproof. If you have to evacuate your home, make sure you bring all important documents — your passport, copies of insurance policies, a form of state issued ID, etc. — with you.

Use aluminum dish pans to keep furniture out of water

Use disposable aluminum trays to protect legs of furniture from water. CBS News

This tip won't be much help if major flooding occurs, but it can be helpful if a few inches of water seep into your home. Place the disposable aluminum cooking trays under the legs of furniture to help minimize water damage, WTSP reports.

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