Clever Solutions to 5 Tricky Winter Problems

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This winter is not my kind of winter. It seems like just when we thaw out and the snow melts, another arctic blast comes our way, along with all the problems associated with it. For those of you in areas that are typically snow-laden, these winter survival tips are probably nothing you haven't heard before. But for those of us who aren't used to seeing snow on the ground all winter long, hopefully one of these clever solutions will prove useful, and have you breezing through the rest of winter.

It all started with the frozen locks on my car. While they've been hard to unlock in winters past, they've always eventually opened. But not this time. Fortunately, I was not crunched for time, so I headed inside to see if I could find a solution on the web. Not only did I find the answer to my current problem, but the internet was full of other winter problem solvers that I'd never heard of before. Here were the most helpful tips that I discovered.

1) Frozen Locks - My grandmother always insisted I have a can of de-icer in my car, which I thought was silly since we were lucky to see a couple inches of snow all winter. I gave that notion up a decade ago, but apparently it would have helped out with my frozen car door locks. But if you find yourself in a bind and de-icer isn't on hand, use a lighter to heat your key. But be sure you have gloves on. That baby will get hot!

2) Stuck Car - I know we've all heard of using kitty litter to get your car un-stuck from the snow, but what about using your car mats? I'm usually not the prepared individual that drives around with a kitty litter bag in my trunk for emergencies. If you're anything like me and find yourself stuck, place your mats on the spot where you tires are spinning out. Then gently rock your car back and forth to build up some momentum. Your car should gain traction and have you free in no time. Granted, you might need new floor mats.

3) The Pilly Sweater - This isn't really a life-saving tip, but my sweaters have been annoying me all winter. Even the few expensive, barely worn ones I acquired this season! They are pilling all over, which has me picking the the fuzz off my sweater, pants, jackets, floors, etc. To remedy this, take a cheap razor (blades only, one without soap), and run it over the bumpy areas.

4) Shoveling Snow - Not only have we seen a lot of snow this winter, but we've also seen a lot of heavy, wet snow that makes for extra hard shoveling (and yes, we already broke one in the process!). If the snow seems more arduous to shovel than usual, try spraying your snow shovel with cooking spray, which should reduce friction and allow the snow to slide right off (I'm visualizing the sledding scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).

5) Wet Sneakers - I run all year long, rain and snow. Back when I rented and had the most intense radiator in the world, I just placed them on top. Apparently, this is not smart to do, especially with expensive running shoes, because it damages the material and can also shrink them. Instead, stuff and wrap them with newspaper. The newspaper will wick away the moisture and dry them fairly fast.

I've only had to try the first tip (granted my pilling sweaters are about to encounter a razor), so I would love to hear from others that might have already known about and tried these ideas. Did they work and/or do you have any other useful tips and tricks that could make the rest of the winter go a little smoother?

The tips noted above were compiled from Refined Guy | 15 Useful Winter Hacks to Help You Survive The Next Few Months and Business Insider | Hacks for Surviving Winter, which, along with the tips above, have many more useful tricks for surviving winter.

(Image credits: Andrew Koturanov/Shutterstock)

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