Winter is a tough time of year for many. The days are long and cold. Weather extremes can not only strike at a moment’s notice, but they can bring treacherous and dangerous conditions. However, the Farmers’ Almanac is here to help make your life easier. We have compiled a list of 20 winter life hacks and advice to assist you in navigating through this challenging and lengthy season.
20 Best Winter Life Hacks
1. Socks on the Go!
Pack an extra pair of socks in your car’s glove compartment. Then if you need to get out and shovel, or if you step into a puddle, you’ll have dry socks to change into. And put those orphaned or mismatched socks to use: use them as wiper blade covers!
2. Keep a Bag of Clay Kitty Litter in Your Trunk
If your car gets stuck in deep snow or slick ice, you can improve traction and get moving again by sprinkling non-clumping kitty litter at the base of your tires. To further increase traction, adding some extra weight in your trunk will ensure better contact between your tread and the ground.
3. Use a Fertilizer Spreader
Fill your fertilizer spreader with sand and carefully walk over the areas where you want the sand to be spread. This method works effectively on icy walkways.
4. Clogged Snowblower Hack
Simply apply cooking spray, such as Pam®, to the snow blower’s clean and dry auger and inside the discharge chute before tackling the snowdrifts. Additionally, you can use the cooking spray on your shovel to prevent snow from sticking.
5. Skip The Smoke and Coffee Before Shoveling
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can add extra stress to the heart. More shoveling safety tips here.
6. Prevent Food Spoilage In A Power Outage
If you lose power from a winter storm, don’t let food spoil in the fridge. While it will be safe for about 24 hours, pack it in coolers and move it outdoors (provided it’s 30 degrees F or colder) if your outage is any longer than that. Use the charcoal grill to cook up anything that won’t last.
7. Learn To Walk Like a Penguin
To walk safely on ice, walk like a penguin. Point your feet out, and hold your arms out slightly to your side. Shuffle, and take short steps (see video below!).
8. De-Ice With A Potato
On the night before freezing temperatures, rub half a potato over your car’s windshield. The sugar from the potato creates a barrier on the window, preventing ice formation. In the morning, you won’t have to scrape! Simply rinse and use your wipers to clear the windshield when you hit the road. You can also try these methods!
9. Gas up!
During cold weather months, it’s a good practice to keep at least a half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times. Not only does it prevent you from being stranded, but it prevents any water in the tank from freezing, which can damage the fuel pump.
10. Keep Side Mirrors Frost-Free
Place plastic bags over your car mirrors at night and they’ll be frost-free in the morning. Reuse them over and over.
11. Get Instant Traction With Your Car’s Floor Mats
Your car’s floor mats can help you get un-stuck from snowy or muddy conditions in a pinch. Place your front floor mats under the spinning tire to give you some traction. Just don’t forget to retrieve them after you get moving!
12. Unfreeze Locks With Hand Sanitizer
Squirt a little hand sanitizer on them. The isopropyl alcohol that kills germs also lowers the freezing point of water, and can melt the ice inside the lock within seconds.
13. Save Your Skin
Skip the long, hot showers, which can dry out skin. Try taking a lukewarm shower, for a shorter duration. And try these home remedies to combat dry skin.
14. Easy Ice Scraper
A plastic card, such as an old gift card or loyalty card, from your wallet, works in a pinch. (Don’t use credit cards as you can damage them).
15. Keep A Roll of Duct Tape In The Car
Not only does it fix everything, but you can use it as a fire starter – duct tape is very flammable and is a great tool to get a fire going in an emergency.
16. De-Ice Walkways With Used Coffee Grounds
Sprinkle leftover coffee grounds on your freshly shoveled walk or driveway to help melt the ice—it’s a natural and environmentally friendly way to add more traction underfoot. Just wipe your feet as usual before entering the house.
17. Keep Pipes From Freezing
wrap them in insulation or layers of newspaper, covering the newspaper with plastic to keep out moisture.
18. Park Your Car Facing The Sun
Harness the power of the sun by parking so your car faces the sun (facing east or south). This way icy windshields will heat up quicker and help melt light frosts even during a cold winter morning. During the day, the sun will help keep your car just a little bit warmer.
19. Close Your Fireplace Flue
Fireplaces are a great way to heat up your home. However, when they aren’t in use, it’s best to close the flue so cool air doesn’t draft in. (Just be sure to open it again when you light a fire.) Some fireplaces now have an automatic damper, so be sure to check yours.
20. Homemade Winter Windshield Washer Fluid
Did you know that high proof vodka or alcohol doesn’t freeze? Add 8 ounces of the alcohol, an ounce of Castile liquid soap, with enough water to fill a clean 1-gallon container and shake to mix. Add directly to your car’s wiper fluid reservoir.