25 Household Hacks & Habits to Help You Survive Winter

published Nov 11, 2014
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The battle with winter is a long one, fraught with snow and cold. If you need a couple more arrows in your quiver, check out these 25 household practices that help you keep you warm as the temperatures drop, save time in the freezing mornings before work, and hopefully conserve energy during the dark months. Individually they don’t sound like much, but collectively they help you kick winter’s butt to the curb.

  1. Cover your windshield wipers with old socks before storms. Ice won’t build up and make it hard to use them. Similarly, cover rearview mirrors with plastic bags.
  2. Park your car facing east to take full advantage of the sun.
  3. Make your own windshield washer fluid from 1 quart alcohol, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon regular dish detergent.
  4. After taking off wet shoes and boots, stuff them with newspaper to absorb moisture quickly.
  5. To take advantage of passive solar, open up curtains during the day to let the sunshine and heat in.
  6. Prevent drafts by installing foam cutouts behind outlet covers on the walls.
  7. Make your own hand warmers with resealable plastic bags and ice-melt pellets.
  8. Cover your windows with bubble wrap for added insulation.
  9. Reverse your ceiling fan to keep warm air at floor level versus in your stairwell or ceilings.
  10. Pre-warm your bed with either a hot water bottle or electric blanket. Stick your pjs in there to get them all toasty before you get changed for bed.
  11. Wrap foam pipe insulation around the bottom of exterior doors to prevent drafts.
  12. Fill a shallow plastic tray with rocks to store your boots when you come in from the snow.
  13. Spray pipe exterior and joints with WD-40 during the winter to help prevent them from bursting.
  14. Use tin foil behind your radiator or heating vents to reflect heat back into the house.
  15. Use a disposable razor to get rid of your sweater pills.
  16. Make DIY boot toppers out of old sweaters.
  17. Make homemade sidewalk and driveway de-icers.
  18. Rig some thermal curtains to temporarily install over your windows.
  19. Make your own fire starters.
  20. Skewer a dryer sheet with the bristles of your hairbrush, and leave it on to get rid of static while you brush your hair.
  21. Spray your shovel with nonstick cooking spray, or WD-40, before you use it so snow doesn’t stick to it.
  22. Attach mitten clips to your cuffs (and loop around your insole) to keep your pants down while wearing boots.
  23. Save money by closing the heater vents in rooms you aren’t using.
  24. When faced with a frozen lock, use heat rub intended for sore muscles. Hand sanitizer (with 60% alcohol) or a key heated by a lighter, is also rumored to do the trick.
  25. Keep moisture in the area with a teakettle or saucepan of water boiling on the range or wood stove. Add mulling spices for a nice scent in addition to the more humid air.

Re-edited from a post originally published 11.11.14-NT