Winter’s finally here and everything seems so hard all of a sudden. Your heating bill has skyrocketed, your holiday debt needs to be paid, and your feet feel like ice cubes, among countless other inconveniences (yes, I know, first-world problems). But the season doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, if you employ even a couple of these hacks, you should be able to enjoy some satisfaction this winter.
When you’re done cooking a meal in the oven, you can leave the door open. The heat that would otherwise be wasted will help warm your house. Same goes for the toaster oven. Also, you can leave the bathroom door open after taking a shower to heat the area outside the bathroom.
Consider laying area rugs over spots where the floor is cold. A cold floor usually indicates that there is insufficient insulation or a draft below and the rug can keep the cold contained. Also, hold your hand under closet doors and doors leading outside. If you feel a draft, you can place a draft blocker there.
If there are windows through which you get a lot of sunlight, leave the shades or curtains open during the day to capture the heat from the sun. If your windows are drafty, however, use heavy drapes and keep them closed to block the breeze.
Ceiling fans will help keep you cool in the summer, but they can also be helpful in the winter. You can run the fan clockwise on a low setting to push warm air away from the ceiling and down to you.
To save on heating costs, you can program your thermostat so it’s warmer during the hours when people are home and awake and cooler when people are away or asleep. Sixty-eight degrees is generally a comfortable temperature when people are home and awake, but if anyone is chilly, you can offer them a sweater!
Many of us never pay attention to our old radiators, but we actually have some control over how they function. If the valves are adjustable, adjust them to allow more heat in rooms that need it and less in rooms that don’t. In many heaters, the valve is on the opposite side of the heater as the on/off knob.
You can also keep a pot of water on a heater or two to keep the air moist.
If your favorite old sweaters are looking a bit, well old, it could be worth it to invest in a sweater shaver to remove pills. You should be able to get at least another winter or two out of them in lieu of charging new winter clothes to your credit card. (You can see how your credit card spending is affecting your credit score by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)
To protect your sweaters from moths — and keep them smelling great — make sachets with dried lavender, which can be purchased online or at your local flower shop. Simply cut a square of fabric from an old T-shirt, lay a mound of lavender in the center and tie with a ribbon or string. Place the sachets in your sweater drawer or closet.
If you’re headed outside for your shoveling shift or to build a snowman, you can cover your stocking feet in gallon baggies to keep the warmth in and the moisture out.
Parking your car facing east during the day will help prevent ice from forming, but if your windshield looks like a skating rink, you can melt the ice by spraying the surface with a solution of two-parts vinegar to one-part water. (Just give the ice a few minutes to start melting.)
On extra cold days, you can cover your rearview mirrors with baggies to prevent them from icing. If you run out of salt or sand, try a mixture of alcohol and dish detergent to de-ice walkways.
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