When winter rolls in, we could all use a little help.
Freezing temperatures, icy windshields, treacherous roads and dry skin—sometimes it feels like it would just be best for everyone to hole up inside and watch Netflix all day.
For the days when you can’t give up and binge-watch “Gilmore Girls” under a cozy blanket, we gathered some of the best winter tips and tricks out there to make your life a little easier.
1. Assemble A Winter Survival Kit
Keep a few gallons of water and some food in your vehicle during the winter months, advises the U.S. Marine Corps Winter Survival Course Handbook. You’ll also want to stash some matches or a lighter in your vehicle in case you need to start a fire, and keep a metal container on hand for boiling snow for drinking water. Some blankets, tape, a knife, a first-aid kit and a compass should also be included in your winter survival kit.
2. Heat Up Frozen Locks with Hand Sanitizer
When it’s especially cold out, your door locks might stick. Hand sanitizer is always a good thing to keep on-hand to prevent the spread of germs, but it’s also super useful for heating up frozen locks. The alcohol in the gel acts as a natural de-icer, according to TipHero.
3. Socks On Your Windshield Wipers
We’ve all got an extra pair of knee-high socks at the back of a drawer somewhere. Make good use of them by slipping them over your windshield wipers so you don’t have to de-ice the blades in the morning, suggests Real Simple.
4. Turn On Your Ceiling Fan
Your ceiling fan can help lower your heating bill. Set your fan to a low speed and set it to spin clockwise—the fan will pull cool air up and push warm air down, according to Tom Breeden, vice president of engineering at Hunter Fan Company in Memphis, Tennessee. Breeden told U.S. News & World Report that this trick could save you 15 percent on your heat bill.
5. Keep Shoes Looking Fresh
If road salt leaves a white residue on your boots, clean them up with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Use a rag to dab the solution onto your shoes, then wipe them with a dry towel. Let your shoes dry naturally, then buff them with a soft cloth, recommends Good Housekeeping.
6. Socks In The Glovebox
There’s another handy use for socks during the winter. Stash a pair in your glove compartment in case your car gets stuck and you need to push it without slipping. The trick? Put the socks over your shoes for added traction, says One Good Thing By Jillee.
7. Use Your Floor Mats To Get Out Of A Jam
Wheels spinning on ice? Take the floor mats out of your car and place them under your tires. You’ll need to throw them under whichever wheels are spinning, according to Lifehacker. Your mats may be a little beat up, but hey, at least you’re not stuck anymore.
8. Dry Wet Shoes With Newspaper
When you come in from the cold and snow, your shoes are going to be soggy and wet. Instead of setting them near a heat vent, which can make them brittle, simply pull out the insoles and shove a few crumpled newspaper sheets inside, suggests According to Elle. If they’re super soaked, change out the newspaper every few hours.
9. Protect Your Back While Shoveling
Shoveling can strain your lower back, especially if the snow is super heavy. Take a tip from YouTube user L Kanavaros, who attaches a rope to his shovels. It sounds quirky, but this solution allows you to remain upright while shoveling and makes the shovel easier to maneuver.
10. Banish Colds With DIY Shower Soothers
There’s no need to spend a fortune on decongesting shower tablets when you’re feeling under the weather. Make your own with your favorite essential oils, baking soda, sea salt and menthol crystals.
11. DIY Boot Trays
Keep dirt and grime off your floor with these DIY river rock boot trays from Reality Daydream. These are especially useful if you don’t have a mudroom where people can stash their wet boots after coming inside. The rocks and trays will catch all of the runoff from your snowy boots.