In case you haven’t heard, temperatures in America are insanely cold right now.
And it’s about to get even worse with a mass of Arctic air set to hit the Upper Midwest and Northeast next week, courtesy of cold air sweeping down from the North Pole.
So as people bundle up in preparation for the sub-zero weather, we found ways for everyone to stay warm and dry despite the nastiness outside.
Here are 12 hacks to help you keep warm until spring.
Mittens > Gloves
It may be easier to text in gloves, but your digits will be much warmer in mittens. When they’re made of the same material, mittens offer more warmth since fingers have skin-to-skin contact with each other and can share body heat.
Mittens also tend to have a smaller surface area than gloves, which reduces heat loss, so when in doubt, always choose mittens.
Avoid Wearing Cotton
Cotton clothes and socks are the absolute worst things you can wear during the winter, because cotton holds moisture and loses its insulating properties. If you sweat under your jacket, get wet from the snow, or if there’s any moisture in the air, the cotton will quickly absorb it and keep it close to your skin, making you feel even colder.
Merino wool or polypropylene socks are a much better way to go since these fabrics wick moisture away from skin. Wool in particular is great because it suspends the moisture in the weave, and can absorb almost 1/3 of its own weight before making you feel cold or wet.
And for those who don’t have wool socks (or don’t want to go out in the cold to buy them), an easy hack is to put your socks on and then slip your feet into plastic bags. It looks weird, but it will keep your feet really dry and warm.
Use Kitty Litter On Stuck Tires
Salt and sand can help when your car gets stuck in the snow, but kitty litter will also work in a pinch to give you traction. Shovel as much snow and ice as possible out from the path of your tires, and then put a liberal amount of cat litter around and under the tire.
Then just rock your car back and forth, switching from drive to reverse carefully, until you get unstuck.
Bubble Wrap Your Windows
A lot of heat escapes through windows, unnecessarily increasing utility costs. For an easy way to insulate your window while still letting light in, use large bubble wrap and an Exacto knife.
You don’t even need tape or glue — just mist water onto your window with a spray bottle, push the flat side of the wrap against the window and it will stay put and keep your room insulated for months.
Another pro-tip is to call around to furniture and/or department stores to see if they have any large bubble wrap that they’re going to throw out or that you can buy on the cheap. They’re usually swimming in the stuff.
Learn Your Ceiling Fan Settings
Ceiling fans are not just there to cool you off in the summer — most fans have a setting that allows them to spin clockwise on low to recirculate warmer air trapped near the ceiling towards the floor.
You’ll be shocked at how much warmer the room will get.
Dry Your Shoes Quickly With Newspaper
Once the snow starts to melt, shoes quickly become wet and are hard to dry. Most people think to put them near a heat source, but this can have the unwanted effect of shrinking your shoes.
Instead, stuff wet shoes with newspaper. It will absorb the moisture quickly, though you might have to replace the newspaper a few times depending on how drenched your shoes are. You can also wrap the outside with the newspaper and secure with a few rubber bands.
Ice-Proof Your Car And Stairs With Household Ingredients
Coming outside to a frozen windshield or ice on your stairs is one of the worst ways to start the day. But there are homemade solutions that can help prevent this from happening.
For car windows and windshields, mist a 3:1 mixture of distilled vinegar and water onto the glass before a storm or icy weather hits. It will keep ice from forming on your windows, and you can also spray the mixture on already ice-covered windows to melt it quickly.
To keep your stoop or sidewalk from becoming icy, make a brine treatment 24-hours ahead of a winter storm with salt dissolved in hot water. Pour a thin layer onto steps and sidewalk to make snow easy to remove, and keep an ice layer from forming.
Prep Your Shovel With Cooking Spray
Shoveling snow is one of the worst winter tasks, so don’t make it harder on yourself by not properly preparing. Rubbing vegetable oil, paraffin wax, or cooking spray onto your shovel ahead of time will keep the snow from sticking, and allow you to shovel faster and easier.
Stock Up On Cheap Razors
It’s super easy to fix sweatshirt or sweater pilling with a cheap razor.
Just lightly run the razor against the fabric where pilling occurs, and the razor will shave off the small balls of fibre without harming the material so your warmest clothes will be ready to wear in public again.
Warm Blankets With A Hot Water Bottle
Before climbing into bed, fill a water bottle with hot water and stick it under your covers. It’ll warm the sheets, and can be left safely in bed all night long for added warmth.
Take this hack to the next level by wrapping your pajamas around the bottle and sticking them under the covers before putting them on.
Winterize Your Bike
You could buy winter tires for your bike, but those are expensive. Instead, take zip ties and stagger them around your current wheels roughly a half an inch apart and snip off the excess with scissors.
They’ll give you extra traction when biking around slippery roads and are easy to remove come spring.
Buy Some Hand Warmers
A friend of mine with poor circulation swears by these during the winter. The air-activated heat packs are safe, odorless, and can provide heat for 10 hours if you’re jogging, tailgating, hiking, or just commuting to work.
You can also make your own by sewing together a fabric pouch filled with rice, and warming it up in the microwave before leaving the house.
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