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20 Best Winter Life Hacks

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20 Best Winter Life Hacks

Winter is a tough time of year for many. The days are long and cold, and weather extremes can not only strike at a moment’s notice, but they can bring treacherous and dangerous conditions. Farmers’ Almanac to the rescue! You count on us to help make your life easier so we compiled a list of 20 of our very best winter life hacks and advice to get you through the toughest (and longest) season of the year.

  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 mismatched socks to use: use them as wiper blade covers!
  2. Ceiling fans are not just for summer. Flip the switch to reverse the spin of the fan and turn on the lowest speed to blow warm air down from the ceiling.
  3. Use energy from the Sun. During the day, open drapes and blinds to allow sunlight to help warm the house, and then close at night to hold the heat in.
  4. Dress in Layers! Find the blankets, wool sweaters, and socks. If you can dress in layers while watching TV or working from home, you may be able to keep the heat at a minimum during certain times of the day.
  5. Keep a bag of clay kitty litter in your car’s trunk. If your car gets stuck in deep snow or slick ice, sprinkling kitty litter (non-clumping) at the base of your tires can be just the thing to add some traction and get things moving again. The extra weight in your trunk will also create added pressure on your tires, ensuring greater contact between your tread and the ground.
  6. Make a fertilizer spreader do double duty. Use it in winter to scatter sand on icy walkways.
  7. Clogged snowblower? Simply spray the snow blower’s clean, dry auger and inside the discharge chute with cooking spray, such as Pam®, before launching into snow drifts. You can also spray it on your shovel so snow won’t stick.
  8. Don’t smoke or drink coffee before shoveling. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, and can add extra stress to the heart. More shoveling safety tips here.
  9. Prevent food spoilage. It might seem like a no-brainer, but if you lose power from a winter storm, don’t let food spoil in the fridge. Pack it in coolers and move it outdoors (provided it’s 30 degrees F or colder), or bury it in the snow safely so wildlife cannot get to it.
  10. 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 below).
  11. Easy Deicer. Fill a clean spray bottle with 1 part water and 2 parts rubbing alcohol and store it in your car during the cold weather months. Spray it on your frosted windshield and windows on those chilly mornings to make scraping easier. See the tip here.
  12. 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.
  13. Frost-free mirrors. Place plastic bags over your car mirrors at night and they’ll be frost-free in the morning. Reuse them over and over.
  14. Get some traction! 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!
  15. Frozen locks? 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.
  16. 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.
  17. No ice scraper? A plastic card, such as an old gift card, from your wallet works in a pinch.
  18. Grab a roll of duct tape and keep it 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.
  19. No more icy walkways. Alfalfa meal, which is an effective fertilizer and sold in most garden stores, is great at melting ice. And it’s 100% organic so it’s less of a threat to local water systems when used in moderation. Because it is dry and grainy, it also can add traction on slippery walkways.
  20. To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspaper, covering the newspaper with plastic to keep out moisture.

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1 Kate { 01.21.19 at 9:06 am }

Michael ,
Hot air rises. Why would you move your warm air toward the ceiling in the winter and blow it down on you in the summer? Just asking. Alfalfa is $15 a pound. That’s kinda exspesive for side walk traction. Sand is fine if you get it without the salt just wipe your feet. Janice there are hundreds of sock patterns on line both from the toe up ones to the toe down. I’ve done both and the cable stitch. Each has advantages.

2 Charles Larson { 01.19.19 at 2:19 pm }

Your windshield wipers will pivot away from your windshield if you do this before ice and snow your wipers will not freeze to the windshield. Also if you are not going to use your car for an extended period of time in the summer do this and it will extend the life of your wipers blades.

3 martha { 01.18.19 at 7:34 pm }

regarding #19 – alfalfa meal…………. according to our local feed and grain store, the only form of alfalfa meal is rabbit food, available in pellets only. Although it does the job – it leaves sticky greenish ‘stuff” on shoes. This dries on floors and carpets (car) as a suspicious brown! I ordered something else!

4 Carol Miller { 01.18.19 at 3:37 pm }

I leave my ceiling fans blowing down all year. Too many hot flashes! It still does a good job of circulating the air.

5 Laura Buckley { 01.18.19 at 1:22 pm }

The sock idea has another use too.Icy street or walkways? use socks over shoes.At least for awhile the sock fibers will grip icy surface and help get you to the door without slipping.As they get saturated the effect wears off but if the distance is not too far it really works.I have been saved by this trick several times and avoided landing on my bum.Best to use thicker winter sock with more fibers to catch on ice.If they don’t fit over the type of shoe just carry the shoes and walk in socks.Keep a couple old pairs on hand in car especially when winter is coming!

6 Henry J Schmidt { 01.18.19 at 11:20 am }

If you don’t want any of the above problems. Move to south Texas. Very little snow or ice ever.

7 Michael Denton { 01.18.19 at 11:07 am }

# 2. Ceiling fans blow up in the winter and down in the summer. Just saying.

8 THOMAS SZILAGYI { 01.18.19 at 10:08 am }

De-icer for #11: No need to make an alcohol mix. Fill the spray bottle with the same blue windshield wiper fluid you use for the car. Label the bottle with a marker with what is in it.

9 Barbara { 01.02.19 at 7:57 am }

Janice, it’s a standard sock pattern with turned heel. Twisted rib (mock cable) design. It is not unlike this pattern: https://www.etsy.com/listing/192001128/knit-socks-pattern-mens-simple-ribbed?ref=studio_redirect
You could adapt a pattern you already have, or find a basic ribbed sock pattern.

10 Susan Higgins { 01.15.18 at 1:04 pm }

Hi Janice, unfortunately no. That’s just a stock image. But don’t they look cozy!!!

11 Janice { 01.12.18 at 4:56 pm }

I am not leaving a comment, but have a question. I am a knitter who loves knitting socks, but have never seen the pattern on the orange socks you have pictured in the section of winter tips. Do you have any idea where they came from and the name of the pattern? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you !

12 Susan Higgins { 01.10.18 at 2:36 pm }

Thank you, Bernard, great tip!

13 Bernard P. Stern { 01.10.18 at 1:23 pm }

I by water softener salt in 40LB bags and put the bags in my trunk or behind the wheel wells in my truck. You can us the salt behind and under the tires if you get stuck or to deice you side walks and if you don’t us it all, put it in your water softener. It’s also cheaper then buying winter side walk deicer.

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