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.
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 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, long johns, 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 snowdrifts. 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. 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.
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 video below!).
11. Easy deicer. The night before freezing temperatures, rub half a potato over your car’s windshield. The sugar from the potato creates a barrier over the window and prevents ice from forming, so you’ll come out in the morning and won’t have to scrape! Simply rinse and wipe with your wipers when you get on the road.
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!
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. 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.
20. To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspaper, covering the newspaper with plastic to keep out moisture.