When winter hits hard, it can be a nightmare if you’re not prepared. Without the proper tools and planning, snow, ice, and that unbearable finger-numbing cold can ruin even the sunniest day.
But worry not! There are a few simple tricks you can do to make your winter a whole lot less chilly and your life easier. And who knows—maybe by employing a few of these hacks around your house, you’ll be able to cut back on the time you spend shivering under all those layers.
Some of these hacks might take some initial leg work, but if you have the time and will, they can make your life a heck of a lot warmer!
1. Spray shovels with oil: Were it told today, the legend of Sisyphus would be about a man forced to shovel snow uselessly until the end of time. It’s a painful, seemingly endless endeavor, but it’s one you can prepare for: spray your shovel with non-stick cooking oil so that the snow just slides right off of it!
Michael Vesia / Flickr
2. Open cabinet doors to prevent frozen pipes: Ever have to deal with frozen pipes? There’s an easy fix, if your inner neat freak will let you do it. Leave your kitchen cabinets open—especially those under the sink—to let hot air circulate in and around those regions.
Kotivalo / Wikimedia
3. Plug air leaks: Heating bills can be astronomical thanks to all the air that escapes underneath your doors. For an easy fix, roll up carpets, towels, old shirts, or just about anything that you find and shove ’em in the cracks.
Clean Energy Resource Teams / Flickr
4. Try bubble wrap insulation: Got rarely used windows in your home that just hemorrhage hot air like a popped balloon? If you have some bubble wrap laying around, you can cut a window-sized square of it, spray the window with a small coat of water, and then stick on the wrap for some transparent insulation.
5. Find a draft with a candle: Sometimes you may not know where an icy, Arctic draft is coming from. Have no fear: a candle can get the job done! All you need to do is light the wick and hold it up to various windows and doorways. If the flame flickers, then congratulations! You found the draft.
Giulio Guarino / Flickr
6. Use WD-40 to prevent frozen pipes: Even the best pipes freeze or burst. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s something you can fight with a spritz of WD-40 oil. Just spray down to the exterior joints and pipes to help cut down on annoying bursts and busts.
7. DIY hand warmers: Your hands can lose a lot of moisture in the winter. Lucky for you, there’s a simple way to warm ’em up and keep them soft. Make a few fabric pouches, fill them with rice, and then sew them up. When your hands get cold, pop the pouches in the microwave and voila! Just by holding on to those, your hands will warm in seconds.
8. Unstick that door: Hopefully you didn’t put your WD-40 away! It can break you out of another winter jam. If the icy grasp of winter ever freezes your car door shut, just spray it down with this slick stuff and you’ll be back behind the wheel in no time.
9. De-ice that windshield: Sometimes, it takes more than all of your upper body strength and a gas station-bought ice scraper to free your windshield from accumulated ice. For a quick fix, fill a spray bottle with two parts vinegar and one part water, then spray it on. Watch the ice vanish before your eyes!
GreenTipGuy / Youtube
10. Cover your windows: When you’re due for some heavy snow, simply slide some sandwich bags over the rearview mirrors and hold them in place with a rubber band. This will prevent your mirrors from freezing over and make your morning commute a little more pleasant.
One Good Thing By Jillee
11. Use kitty litter for traction: A little litter in your trunk can be for more than emergency roadside pit stops for the family feline. If your car ever gets stuck in the snow, you can put some litter behind the tires for added traction when backing out of it.
PMC Super Tuners
12. Switch your fan to redistribute warm air: Ceiling fans aren’t only summertime tools! There’s usually a switch on motor that reverses the fan’s direction, which forces rising heat back down to ground level.
JanetandPhil / Flickr
13. Use foil behind radiators: Radiators blast a lot of heat directly into the wall, which doesn’t help you… or the wall. Slide some foil behind the radiator to reflect some heat back into the room and keep you warm.
14. DIY ice shoes: No one has the time or money to spend at the hospital after an ice-induced slip, so help yourself out and fasten on some homemade snow shoes. All you need is a T-plate and bolt screws to make one!
KresimirPregernik / Instructables
15. Invest in a push broom: When there’s not enough snow to bust out the shovel but still enough to warrant caution, consider using a push broom to get the job done. You can sweep that fluff away and make your stoop safe.
16. Shave your knits: Do you have any pants that accumulate little fuzzy balls? They can make your clothes look old and warn. Take care of those fuzz balls—or sweater pills, as the kids call them—with a razor.
kelleymarie / Instructables
17. Park your car in the right direction: A little planning can go a long way, so take the time to park your car facing east. When the sun rises (in the east, duh), it’ll spend a little more time cooking the ice right off your windshield, leaving less ice-scraping grunt work for you.
Ray / Flickr
18. Fill your shoes with magazines: Slip rolled-up magazines or even foam pool noodles into your boots so they don’t fold over to the side. They’ll keep their shape and look nicer on display without much additional effort.
Live Simply by Annie
19. Open your curtains: It might be tempting to close your curtains and block out the cold, but don’t! Besides the likelihood of inducing cabin fever on to your entire family, you’re blocking out natural sunlight and warmth that could go a long way in heating up the house.
20. Heat that gravel: Got traction grit or gravel? Then good news! You’re one step closer to ridding your sidewalk of ice. Just give the stuff a quick 15-minute heat-up in the oven, toss it on the icy walkway, and before you know it the ice is melted and you can walk without worrying about slipping.
Michael Kannon / Youtube
21. Burn your oranges: Here’s a nice hack: cut off the peels and toss ’em in the fireplace to create a nice, fruity aroma that will make every nook and cranny of your house smell clean. The peels make for fantastic kindling and they clean out your fireplace in one go.
smiley / Flickr
22. Roll newspaper for kindling: Firewood doesn’t chop itself, and sometimes you run out. When your firewood stocks reach empty, you can roll up bundles of scratch paper and make some logs of your own. Or just use a phone book. Your call.
The Crazies / Youtube
23. Use terra cotta planters to make a space heater: Penny pinchers, misers, and those with a love of fun DIY projects, you’re in luck: here’s a cheap way to make a space heater. Just make a little base out of tiles, light some candles, and put a terra cotta vase upside-down on top of it. It’s got an old-fashioned look and provides that new-age warmth.
Tiny House Listings / Youtube
Staying warm in the winter isn’t always easy, but these tips and tricks can help you out. Which from the list do you think you might try this winter?
Share these amazing winter hacks with your friends below!