It’s the middle of January, there’s snow on the ground, and you’re running late to work. You run outside only to slip on the ice you forgot to banish before you left. Then, you go to get your snow brush only to see your locks are now frozen shut. Winter, you think, is just so hard to deal with…
But winter doesn’t have to be a challenge, as there are a ton of inexpensive tricks that can help get you through those long, cold months. With just a few common household goods and these 20 winter hacks, you can keep Jack Frost at bay and make it through the season with ease!
1. Bubblewrap insulator: A cheap and easy way to keep the heat inside your home and your energy bill low is to use a low-cost insulator. Bubblewrap is inexpensive and can be placed over non-insulated areas like windows and door frames. Hey, go crazy with it. You can insulate literally anything with this magical, cozy material.
Mpsportfolio / YouTube
2. DIY texting gloves: It’s incredibly frustrating trying to use your phone in 20° weather. You miss calls because it takes too long to take off your gloves, and then your hands are cold again. This simple hack can make any pair of gloves touchscreen friendly. Just sew some conductive thread into the glove tips and never miss a call again.
3. Park your car facing east: By parking your car facing east, the sun will begin to warm it and defrost your windows before you get outside. You may need to do a little work, but the light of the sun will give you a jumpstart!
Rob Boudon / Life Hacker
4. DIY winter bike tires: Once it gets cold enough and the ice sets in, it gets very difficult to ride your bike. You shouldn’t have to give up your lifestyle for a little bit of ice. Just place zip ties around your bike tires for traction. Once the winter is over, just cut them off.
5. Electric plug insulator: It’s not commonly known, but electrical outlets can be the culprit when it comes to drafty homes. The wall is usually cut out larger than needed and just a piece of plastic covers it. If you cut a packaging envelope into the shape of the outlet cover, it’s a great way to eliminate a drafty home and provide a little extra insulation.
BigBear1107 / Reddit
6. Foil behind the radiator to redistribute heat: Many radiators are designed to direct a lot of heat towards your wall and not out into the room. Most of that heat is absorbed by the wall and you end up losing heat. If you just place a sheet of tin foil behind your radiator, it will reflect that heat and redirect it into the room.
7. Prevent fogging with shaving cream: You’re playing with your defroster and you have no idea why the inside of your windshield won’t defrost. Skip the hassle and prep your windows before winter’s here. Coat your windows with shaving cream and then wipe it off. It’s as simple as that!
8. Spray your shovel with cooking spray: Shoveling snow is back breaking. To make things worse, when the snow is really heavy, it can stick to your shovel. Just spray your shovel with cooking spray before going outside to clear the walkway and you’ll find it’s much easier to move the snow.
9. Prevent pipes from bursting with WD-40: In the dead of winter, it’s sadly common for pipes to freeze and burst from the frigid temperatures. Using WD-40 to spray the exterior of the pipes and joints, can help prevent them from freezing and bursting.
10. Defrost car lock with fire: Ice can lodge itself in any tiny space, including your car’s lock, leaving you standing in the cold. Just grab your lighter and hold it under the tip of your car key for about five seconds. The heated metal should melt away that little bit of ice causing you big problems.
11. Reverse the rotation of your ceiling fans: Ceiling fans just sit idle during the winter months because many people don’t realize that there is a switch you can flip that will reverse the rotation of your fan to redistribute heat that rises to your ceiling. It keeps the heat in circulation and keeps your heating bill down.
bl-999 / Reddit
12. Boil mulling spices: The cold, dry winter air can do a lot of damage to your skin. It makes it really hard to keep your skin moisturized. Keep a kettle of mulling spices boiling when you’re in the house. This will add moisture to the air, and your skin, but also keep your home smelling warm and cozy.
Vicky Wasik / Serious Eats
13. DIY snowshoes: You’ve probably had the same dull pair of snow boots for the past ten years. It makes walking on the icy sidewalks really dangerous. Well, you can easily and cheaply make a pair of removable DIY snow grips for the bottom of your shoes. You just need a t-plate and some bolt screws and you’ll never fall again.
14. Keep socks in your glove box: Even the best cars can get stuck in some icy slick snowfall. In case you ever need to get out and push your car, keep a pair of wool socks in the glove box. Pulling them on over your shoes helps you get more traction on the snow!
15. DIY hand warmers: Make your own hand warmers with these four materials: two Ziploc bags (two sizes), calcium chloride pellets, and water. Fill the larger bag with the pellets, then fill and seal the smaller bag with water. Place the water bag inside the larger bag and seal both bags. Squeeze the water bag until it pops. The chemical reaction will produce heat and warm your hands.
Mick Telkamp / DIY Network
16. Socks on windshield wiper: Ice can freeze your wipers and ruin them. The solution? Place socks over the upright wipers to prevent excess ice buildup and to save you an extra headache in the morning.
17. Built-in headlamp: When there is cold, there is usually darkness. Just because the sun sets by 4 p.m., doesn’t mean your day is over. Instructables walks you through attaching a DIY headlamp to your ski hat, so you’re never left in the dark again.
rbateman / Instructables
18. Shave away sweater pills: Every winter it seems that our sweaters get more and more pills from the wear and tear. Those little balls can be unsightly and very annoying. The best way to rid of those pests is to use a razor to lightly remove them without ruining your clothes.
19. Prevent mirrors from freezing with sandwich bags: Nothing is worse in the morning than having to unexpectedly wait for your car to defrost. To be one step ahead, take a sandwich bag and place it over your side exterior mirrors, and then secure it with a rubber band. This will help prevent them from freezing.
20. Orange peels are fire kindling: When a snowstorm sneaks up on you, there’s not always enough time to gather wood to sustain your wood burning stove. Dried orange or lemon peels work great as kindling, and they make your fire last longer too! Plus, they fill your home with a citrusy clean smell.
Winters are rough, but they don’t have to be with these helpful hacks.
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