You may love the dark nights, freezing temperatures and bursts of snow. Or you may dream about emigrating to warmer climes until the flowers start blooming again. But whatever your view on winter, you have to admit that it makes life more challenging than any other season. So, here are 40 hacks that should hopefully make those cold months that little bit easier for everyone.
40. Use a razor to get rid of sweater pills
One of the benefits of the winter season is being able to dig out that favorite chunky sweater that’s been hiding at the back of the wardrobe since spring. To make sure you show it off at its best, Coupons.com recommends using a razor to get rid of the fibers that have come loose. Soon, it will look like it’s come straight from the rack.
39. Clean your fireplace with tin foil
Lighting up a fire during a particularly cold evening can sometimes leave quite a mess to clean up the morning after. Thankfully, the website Lifehack has a suggestion to make clearing up all the ash that little easier. Simply place two layers of tin foil at the bottom of your wood grate or fireplace – before setting it alight, of course. Once the fire has run out, just fold up the foil and bin it.
38. Wrap pipes in newspaper
Don’t throw away that copy of The New York Times once its crossword has got the better of you. You don’t need to spend a fortune preventing the pipes around your house from freezing when the temperature drops below zero. Simply wrap them in newspaper to help keep all the moisture at bay, the website Farmers’ Almanac recommends.
37. Use a spatula as an ice scraper
Sometimes the weather appears to change from mild fall to Arctic winter overnight. But if the change in conditions does catch you unaware when it comes to seeing through your windshield, fear not. If you haven’t yet bought a proper ice scraper, then a good old kitchen spatula will do the trick.
36. Create your own windshield washer fluid
Who knew that vodka could be a useful tool in the fight against dirty windshields? Just 8 ounces of the alcohol is enough to help make your very own washer fluid, according to Homesteading. Simply add it with some warm water and an ounce of liquid soap to a clean, empty one-gallon receptacle. And voila!
35. Use your oven as much as you can
Here’s another excuse for you to bake as many cookies as a human can possibly eat this winter. Yes, the everyday oven can double up as a radiator when turned on. And once you’ve finished using it, leave the door fully open for as long as possible to help warm up the kitchen further.
34. Start a fire with orange peel
That tangerine you may find at the bottom of your stocking? Well, it isn’t just a tasty healthy treat. The oil in its skin can also help to start a fire, according to Lifehack. After leaving the peel to dry on a sheet pan, simply place it alongside a packet of silica in a paper bag. Pretty soon, your house will soon smell like an orange grove.
33. Warm your house with tin foil
There’s little use in having a wall-mounted heater if it radiates warmth away from the rest of the room. So, to get the most out of the fixture, Homestead recommends positioning a piece of tinfoil on the wall opposite. This will help to reflect the heat toward the wider space and prevent you from reaching for that sweater.
32. Keep a refrigerator outside
Need to save money on your energy bill this winter? Then here’s a cost-effective tip. If the weather looks like it’s going to be constantly freezing, then it might be handy to keep a small refrigerator in your garage or outside in the elements. The natural cold will help keep your foodstuff fresh free of charge.
31. Heat up your boots with makeshift insoles
Our feet are often the body part that feels the cold the most when winter hits. So why not give your footwear that extra level of protection by making your own cozy insoles. Have a felt sweater that you haven’t worn in years? You only need to cut half an inch thickness from it to keep your toes feeling toasty, Coupons.com claims.
30. Cover your car mirrors with sandwich bags
You may have bought some sandwich bags to keep your favorite turkey, stuffing and cranberry hoagie fresh this winter. But it turns out they can be just as useful for your car mirrors as your stomach. According to Farmers’ Almanac, simply place one over each of your two car mirrors in the evening. And no matter how cold the weather gets overnight, they will both be free of frost come the morning.
29. Use screws to gain traction in your shoes
Navigating your snow-covered drive can seem as hazardous as climbing Mount Everest if you don’t have the right footwear. To avoid any embarrassing falls in front of the neighbors, then, Coupons.com suggests placing some tiny screws in your shoe soles’ sides. This will enable you to gain much more traction as you step outside your front door.
28. Wear gloves after moisturizing
The harsh and unforgiving weather of the winter season can play havoc on your skin. And none more so than on your hands. But to help keep the dryness at bay, Wisebread recommends wearing a pair of gloves – preferably cotton – once you’ve applied your moisturizer of choice. This will ensure that the skin retains its moisture.
27. Insulate windows with bubble wrap
If the windows in your home aren’t all double-paned, then don’t worry. That bubble wrap you’ve found among the Christmas presents you ordered is all you need to keep the warmth in and cold out. After using nothing more than water to spray the window, simply stick the bubble side of the addictive popping material to the glass.
26. Make sure you always have gas
It’s always wise to keep your gas tank at least half full over the winter. And this isn’t just so then you’re always ready to head out in an emergency. A steady supply of gasoline during the cold months will help to prevent the freezing of any water left in the tank and ultimately save the fuel pump from damage.
25. Use a lighter to thaw a frozen lock
There’s not much worse than trekking home from a freezing cold journey only to find that you can’t actually get inside. But if you happen to have a lighter with you, then frozen locks shouldn’t be a problem. Simply light it up to thaw the lock and you’ll soon be putting your feet up in front of the fireplace.
24. Spray cooking oil on your shovel
Like many things you’ll find around the kitchen, non-stick cooking spray has more than one use in wintertime. You’ll definitely be glad you have some if you find yourself shoveling snow on your driveway after a particularly heavy fall. Spray the stuff on your shovel or other tool of choice and you’ll reduce the chances of clumped snow sticking to it, according to Wisebread.
23. Make shower tablets out of VapoRub
If you think you may be coming down with a cold, then this particular tip could be a godsend. Dig out your ice cube trays and add some Vicks VapoRub before freezing them again, Coupons.com suggests. You’ve now made your own vaporific shower tablets that when combined with steam should help to alleviate that cough or runny nose.
22. Use cat litter for tire traction
Even if you don’t have a feline friend yourself, you may want to grab yourself a bag of clay cat litter next time you’re in the supermarket. Just a sprinkle of the stuff at your car tires’ base can be enough to add some much-needed traction and get you out of the snow, according to Coupons.com. Keep the bag in your trunk and the extra pressure will also boost contact between the ground and tire tread.
21. Spin your fan clockwise
You might have bought that ceiling fan to help you cope in the height of summer. But it can also help you in the middle of winter, too. Yes, by spinning it in a clockwise direction and on a low setting, Coupons.com claims that the fixture can help to push back down any rising warm air and eventually heat up the entire room.
20. Throw compost into your soil
If you have green fingers, then this tip will eventually reap its rewards. Preparation is key when it comes to the world of gardening, and Wisebread has a useful recommendation with this in mind. If you remember to mix your soil with some compost before the weather takes a turn for the freezing, the following spring’s planting will be so much more fruitful.
19. Make use of the sun
Here’s a tip that everyone can follow with ease. Well, as long as you actually get some semblance of sunlight during the harsh winter months. If you do, then make sure to harness this natural energy in the daytime by opening your blinds and curtains. This will help the whole house to heat up. Also make sure you close them again when it gets dark to trap the warmth in.
18. Park facing east
Save time in the cold winter mornings scraping your windshield and mirrors by simply parking the right way the night before. Yes, if you position your car facing east, then the rising sun should hopefully help to thaw any pesky ice or frost that makes getting to work such a laborious job. You just need to determine which way is east!
17. De-ice your pavement with soy sauce
If you’re a big fan of cooking your own Chinese food, then chances are you already have one of the most useful products in the battle against slippery sidewalks. According to Coupons.com, soy sauce can serve as a de-icing substitute to reduce the likelihood of any nasty falls. If you don’t happen to have any at hand, then salt or baking soda will apparently do the same trick, too.
16. Maximize your water usage
It may be instinctive to pull the plug once you’re ready to step out of your long, warm bath. But according to Homesteading, the best thing to do on a freezing cold winter’s day is to hold the water in just before it drops to room temperature. As well as providing more humidity, this will also ensure the room stays warmer for much longer.
15. Use a lawn sprinkler under your car
A lawn sprinkler is something else you probably wouldn’t expect to be of much use during the winter months. But the watering tool can come in handy on one of the season’s warmer days. Place it underneath the car for just half an hour to get rid of all that trapped ice and debris, Wisebread recommends.
14. Protect your pets’ paws with Vaseline
The harsh winter weather can also affect our beloved pets, too, of course. Yes, cats and dogs are just as susceptible to dry skin once they’ve braved the elements. To prevent their paws’ skin from peeling or cracking, Insider says that owners should smear them with Vaseline before letting them loose into the garden or going on a walk.
13. Make your own handwarmers
Furiously rubbing your hands together to stay warm will be a thing of the past if you get a little creative with a few household goods. All you need is a plastic bag filled with water and a plastic bag filled with salt, according to Coupons.com. When you’re feeling the cold, simply squeeze and shake to generate heat.
12. De-ice your gutters with heat tape
Here’s a tip that could save you some considerable money. In preparation for any winter storm, place some heat tape or a roof cable designed for de-icing on your gutters or shingles. The website Lifehack says that this will stop any damaging formation of ice in places which would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars to fix.
11. Make full use of your stove pot humidifier
The stove pot humidifier is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to ensure your home stays warm for as long as possible. But to get even more out of the device, then why not place cinnamon sticks, lemon juice or any other fragrance of your choice next to it? This neat trick from Lifehack will help to waft a clean and fresh smell across the entire room.
10. Vacuum seal your summer clothes
Winter is the time when our favorite sweaters and coats get their chance to shine. But instead of leaving your T-shirts and shorts to gather dust at the back of the wardrobe, why not place them in a vacuum bag instead? This will not only keep them fresher but will free up space, too.
9. Organize your scarves
You may only have one scarf to get you through the long winter months. But if you have more than a handful of the woolly neck warmers, then you may want to find a better way to organize them all. Instead of just throwing them in a cupboard, why not place each one in an individual plastic shoe bag? This also makes for a pretty storage feature, too.
8. Dry wet shoes with newspaper
You’re back home after a day of battling the winter elements and your shoes are totally soaked. Instead of putting them in the drier where they’re more likely to get further damaged, leave them on the doormat. According to Coupons.com, all you need to do is place some scrunched-up newspaper inside the footwear and within hours they will be bone dry.
7. Cover your windscreen wipers with socks
Okay, so your neighbors might think that you have lost the plot a little. But who cares if it makes the morning commute just that bit less stressful? The night before, Coupons.com suggests using a pair of old socks to cover your windshield wipers before sticking them in the air. When it comes to the morning after, your wipers won’t be stuck to your windows like glue.
6. Keep the cold out with pipe insulation
You can have the heating on full blast, every window sealed shut and numerous layers on and yet still somehow feel a draught. Yes, the gap below a room’s doors can often be a major problem when it comes to keeping the heat in. But ArchitectureArtDesigns.com has the perfect solution. Simply place some pipe insulation where the empty space is and you’ll no longer have to deal with the winter cold.
5. Waterproof your canvas shoes with wax
Heading out into the rain or snow with only a pair of canvas shoes to cover your feet? Well, you can still return home as dry as you left, according to the website DIY Projects. Simply rub an unscented candle against the shoe’s whole surface until it’s entirely white. Then use a hairdryer to ensure the wax is fully melted into the canvas.
4. Check your tire tread with a penny
The legal minimum tread depth of a tire is 2/32” in the United States, Insider notes. So, to make sure that your vehicle meets this requirement, position a penny head face down in-between its tread ribs. If you can make out Lincoln’s head, then you might have to make a trip to the nearest garage.
3. Snowproof your bike tires with zip ties
Of course, cars aren’t the only mode of transport whose tires need proper maintenance in the winter months. Cyclists can also help to reduce the chance of an accident by increasing their traction. To avoid slipping and sliding around on the ice, Insider suggests positioning some trusty zip ties all around both tires.
2. Use tealights to make a heater
Here’s how you can get creative, save money and stay warm in one fell swoop. That’s if you have some spare flower pots and tea lights or candles hanging around. Simply place the latter inside the pot turned upside down and the heat that emanates will be enough to warm the entire room, according to Coupons.com.
1. Make your own defroster
Who better to discover one of the ultimate winter hacks than a weatherman named Ken Weathers? Yes, the Texas native has come up with a simple solution that instantly makes painstaking windshield and window scraping a thing of the past. Just add one part water to two parts rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and your defrosting woes are no more.