While we here at 50 Campfires are generally big fans of winter, we also know that it’s not always fun and games. The truth is that while winter can be stunningly beautiful and a whole lot of fun, it can also be downright annoying. Cold weather, seemingly endless darkness, and frozen precipitation in its myriad of forms can make everyday life a lot more challenging. But rest assured, winter doesn’t have to be that hard! There are a lot of ways to make winter life a little easier and many of them won’t even require a trip to the store! Here is our list of the top 10 hacks to help you love winter!
1. Put sandwich bags in your socks.
We love getting outside no matter what the weather brings and we want you to love it too but you’re not very likely to enjoy it if you end up with wet, soggy feet! Sure, a good pair of rain or snow boots will keep your feet dry but if you find yourself in a bind you can always wear sandwich bags on top of your socks (or even better, between two layers of socks!) to keep your feet protected from rain, snow, and wind. This also works well with plastic grocery bags and regular old plastic wrap! Your feet will thank you for taking the time to keep them cozy!
2. Homemade hand warmers.
Anyone who regularly gets cold hands or feet knows that those little chemical hand warmers can make a big difference in your level of comfort when the weather is cold. But if you find that those hand warmers are getting expensive or that you just don’t have them around when you need them you should try this trick instead! All you need is two Ziploc bags of different sizes, ice melt pellets, and water. Fill the smaller bag halfway with water and the larger bag a quarter of the way with ice pellets. Seal up the smaller bag, place it in the bigger bag, and then seal that one up too. Squeeze the small bag until it breaks open and the ice melt mixes with the water and voila! Your home made hand warmer will be nice in toasty in twenty minutes.
3. Put screws in your shoes for better traction.
If you find yourself slipping and sliding on the ice when you go out for your daily walk or run, try drilling some screws into the bottom of your shoes to make the sneaker version of studded snow tires. The screws will help you have better traction on slick surfaces and make your winter outings much less treacherous. Just be sure to select short screws so that they don’t poke all the way to the bottom of your feet! Half-inch sheet metal screws work perfect for this purpose.
4. Spray your shovel with cooking spray.
Shoveling your sidewalk before heading off to the office on a cold winter morning is hard work. Make it easier by spraying the scoop part of the shovel with non-stick cooking spray before you go out to start digging. This will prevent snow from sticking to the shovel, make your job faster and easier, and help you get to the office on time!
5. Zip tie your bike tires.
Zip ties are similar to duct tape in that there seems to be unlimited ways to use them. One really good way to put zip ties to work for you is to wrap them around your bike tires (one between each set of spokes) to give you better traction in the snow. Just wrap them around your rim and tire, tighten them up, snip off the ends, and off you go! Because the zip ties can be easily cut off once the snow melts, this is an easy and inexpensive way to make riding possible all winter long!
6. Point your car east.
There’s another trick to make clearing snow from your car a little easier in the morning and it’s as simple as parking your car pointing east. When the sun rises in the morning the rays will help warm your windshield and give you a jumpstart on morning snow removal. Even if the snow doesn’t melt all the snow and ice away it will soften it up enough that it is can be easily removed with an ice scraper.
7. Kitty litter can help you gain some traction.
If you thought cat litter was only useful for helping contain your feline friend’s mess, think again! Kitty litter can help provide traction for car wheels on slippery surfaces. If you find yourself stuck with wheels that just keep spinning, try putting some cat litter down behind your tires. The cat litter will give your tires something to grab onto as they turn and soon you’ll be well on your way!
8. Use vinegar to deice your windshield.
It may seem like a lot of our hacks are aimed at helping you keep your windshield clear and there’s a good reason for it! Having to scrape windshields on cold dark mornings is pretty near the top of almost everyone’s winter annoyance list. But here’s another trick to make life easier! If you mix three parts vinegar with one part water and wipe it on your windshield the night before a big dump, your car windows will be ice free (or very easily cleared) in the morning! You can also mix up some of the solution in a spray bottle and use it to quickly melt ice that has formed overnight. How easy is that?!
9. Dry your boots with newspaper.
No matter how careful you are to keep your feet dry, eventually some moisture will find its way in. And you definitely don’t want your shoes to be wet the next time you put them on! Keep this from happening by stuffing your boots with newspapers when you come in from the cold. The newspaper will absorb the wayward water and your boots will be warm and dry again the next time you’re ready to head out and brave the elements!
10. Use hot water bottles to heat those toes!
Cold toes are a common problem in the winter but keeping them warm can be as simple as using a hot water bottle. While many drugstores sell bottles that are designed to be used specifically for this purpose, you can almost certainly make due with what you have on hand. Nalgene bottles are perfect for this use because you can be almost certain that they won’t break or open up and leak water all over your bed! Simply pour in some hot water, seal it up tight, and give your toes something warm to cuddle with on those cold, dark nights. This is also a really easy way to keep your toes warm if you find yourself camping on a chilly night!
We know that winter can be a bit of a drag but we hope that this list has given you some ideas on how to make it just a little bit easier. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll spend less time dealing with the annoying parts of winter and more time enjoying all the fun that can be had when the weather turns cold!
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