30 Tips to Help You Win at Winter

Whether you like it or not, winter is here, and the many inconveniences that accompany it have already reared their ugly heads.

From struggling to stay warm, de-icing your windshield and trying to save money on your heating bills, Grand Central has some much-needed cures to survive the long winter months.

Car Hacks

1. If your car gets stuck in the snow, try putting cat litter under the tires for some extra traction. If that doesn’t work, try salt; or, if you don’t have these things on hand, try using the floor mats from your car for an extra boost.

2. Cover your windshield wipers in old socks to prevent snow from sticking to them.

3. Make your own de-icing windshield washing fluid at home. Use 2 quarts of rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of dish detergent. Apply to your windows to avoid future ice problems.

4. To stop ice from forming in the first place, spray your vehicle’s windows with a vinegar and water mixture (a ratio of 3:1 – vinegar to water).

5. Park facing the east so the sun will do some of the de-icing and snow removal for you as it rises.

6. Cover your side mirrors with freezer bags and zip them closed as much as possible. This will help prevent ice from forming so you won’t have to scrape those off, too. This will save a little time – and in the dead of winter, every second counts.

7. Use a heat rub, like you’d use on sore muscles, to help loosen a frozen lock.

8. If you don’t have an ice scraper, use a plastic kitchen spatula or even a credit card to scrape ice off of your windows.

9. Good, durable tires are important in the cold and snow. Test yours by sticking a penny in the tread of your tire. If you have a shallow tread, you’ll be able to see most of Lincoln’s head on the coin. This means it’s time for new tires.

Energy-Saving Hacks

10. You know that little switch on the base of your ceiling fan? It switches the fan blades from running counterclockwise to clockwise and vice versa. During the winter, flip the switch so the fan rotates clockwise and run it on low. This direction change will push the warm air from the ceiling down toward you.

11. Interesting fact: Electric blankets use very little energy. If you plan to stay in one place for a while, curl up with one to save money on your energy bill. Also, have one on your bed between your comforter and the top sheet to keep you warm at night.

12. Warm your home in a natural and practical way – using the sun. Open the curtains when the sun is out to help your home stay warmer. This is most effective in rooms with south-facing windows.

13. When you decide to crank the heat, make sure to have thick curtains to help hold it in. If you don’t want to purchase new curtains, you can line your existing curtains with fleece or a shower curtain. Placing curtains in front of your doors can also help. This could be stylish, right?

14. So long as the weather isn’t freezing, sit cans or bottles on your porch or deck to free up some fridge space.

15. You can lose a lot of heat through drafts. Caulk or otherwise fill in the space where the draft(s) comes in so you won’t be wasting energy.

16. Use tin foil behind your radiator, space heater or heating vents to reflect heat back into the room.

17. Turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees. With a sweater and a warm blanket, you won’t likely notice the difference and you can save significantly on heating costs.

Health Hacks

18. Keep your showers short and at a lukewarm temperature. This will help keep the natural oils in your skin instead of washing them off, which reduces your chance of getting that dry, cracked skin that’s so common this time of the year.

19. Speaking of dry skin, avoid it by moisturizing. Find lotions or creams that are oil-based instead of water-based to add a protective layer over the skin that will help keep moisture in. Most lotions labeled “night creams” are oil-based and work best when used before going to sleep so your skin is moisturized overnight. Coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil can also help heal damaged skin. Try wearing cotton gloves over your hands after you moisturize to help lock the moisture into your skin.

20. To help reduce hat hair, use dry shampoo when you remove your winter headgear. It will help lift squashed roots and revitalize your entire look. You can even find cheap, travel size bottles at Target for under $2.

21. Use a humidifier to help reduce the chance of nose bleeds and general discomfort from winter dryness.

22. Keep a teakettle or small pot filled with mulling spices simmering whenever you can. This will help keep the air moist if you don’t have a humidifier and it will also fill your home with a wonderful smell.

23. Wear sunscreen – even when it’s snowing – and especially if you have fair skin. It might seem a little silly, but sunlight can reflect off the snow and affect your skin just as a sunny summer day can.

24. Get out in the natural light. It will boost your mood, even if it seems gloomy. You can also take vitamin D supplements to make up for the sunlight you might be missing out on. Lack of vitamin D causes seasonal depression, so taking supplements can help raise your mood considerably.

Miscellaneous Hacks

25. Remember that de-icing mixture for your car? You can create a similar mixture to put on walkways to prevent freezing after shoveling. Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and 1.5 gallons of water and pour over your walkways. Make sure to put a significant amount on the areas where you get in and out of your car to prevent injuries.

26. If your sweaters are beginning to look a little ragged or “pilly,” grab a cheap razor and gently shave the bunchy fibers away.

27. Wear a pair of tights, leggings or running pants under your pants for an added layer of warmth. They’re less frumpy than long johns, so you’ll stay warmer without the bulk.

28. You can sweep light snow away using a broom instead of using a shovel. Just tap the snow off of the bristles when you’re finished.

29. Spray your shovel with nonstick cooking spray before you use it. Now snow won’t stick and shoveling will be significantly easier.

30. Contrary to popular belief, bikes aren’t just for summertime. You can make your tires snow-proof by placing zip ties in even intervals around your tires. Now you’ll have the added traction you need to ride through snow without having to purchase expensive snow tires.