1. Your medication. Because you’ll need your beta blockers for the long, traffic-filled commute home. But also, extreme temperatures—like the freezing ones in your unheated cottage—can render all kinds of medicines useless.
2. Bottled liquids that are mostly water. Water expands by about nine per cent when it freezes. Physics says: lots of cracked and broken containers in the spring.
3. Things that, if they fail, could seriously alter your life for 18 years: condoms; pregnancy or ovulation tests. (See No. 1, re: extreme temperatures.) It only takes once.
4. Canned food. A can’s seams can split as its contents expand (see No. 2, re: physics); air gets in through the new, tiny openings. And then you have canned botulism.
5. Anything worth stealing: alcohol and drugs; expensive electronics or tools; copper wire; barrels of maple syrup; the Fabergé egg from Ocean’s Twelve.
6. Boring dry things that aren’t sealed in containers: flour, oatmeal, beans, pasta; dog food; potpourri. It’ll just go stale as it attracts kitchen pests. If you have any potpourri, throw it out immediately. It’s not 1993.