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15 life hacks for all your winter woes

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It’s been a pretty tame winter so far, but you know that snow, ice, and slush are just lurking around the corner. Prep for the onslaught with these great hacks that will make winter living that much easier to deal with.

1. Leaky boots? Use sandwich bags

If your boots aren’t quite as waterproof as you’d like, slide a sandwich bag over your sock before you put your boot on. This will help keep your feet dry—as long as you don’t step in a knee-deep puddle.

2. Use mats to get your car unstuck

Sure, kitty litter is the classic traction-giver in the winter, but if you forgot to stock up and you’re in a bind, haul out your car mats and put them under the tires. They might just give the extra grip your tires need to get moving.

3. Keep your boots standing straight up

Not letting your boots flop over will help them last longer. Use a cut-up pool noodle or some newspaper to keep them standing tall. If you have lace-ups, tuck your shoelaces inside your boots so they don’t get wet sitting in a melting puddle of slush.

4. Shovel smarter

Spray the blade of your shovel with silicone-based lubricant or cooking spray to help snow slide right off.

5. Reverse your ceiling fan’s direction

Hot air rises, which doesn’t do you much good when you’re trying to stay cozy. Get your ceiling fan spinning clockwise, and it will help blow the warm air down towards you. Just don’t forget to switch it back when spring comes.

6. Avoid icy windshield wipers

Keep the wipers upright, or cover them with old socks, to prevent ice from forming on them overnight.

7. De-ice locks easily

The rubbing alcohol in hand sanitizer will de-ice your locks. Just coat your key, gently insert it into the lock, and jiggle it around.

8. Keep your mirrors clear

Cover your side mirrors with sandwich bags, zipped as far as they can go. This will help stop them from getting icy.

9. Keep your heating bills low

An electric blanket uses far less energy than your furnace, so snuggle up with one if you’re chilly. Turn it on half an hour before you go to sleep so your bed is nice and toasty when you climb in. For a low-tech solution, invest in a couple of hot water bottles.

10. Use your residual oven heat

Once you’re finished baking and have turned the oven off, leave the door open and warm up your kitchen with the residual heat.

11. Switch your curtains

Trade out your dainty summer curtains for thick, heavy ones. They’ll help keep heat in. If your windows face south or east, open the curtains while the sun is shining so you get some passive solar heating.

12. Make your bike safer

If you’re going to ride throughout the winter, put zip ties around your tires at regular intervals to provide some extra traction.

13. Save your toes

Keep an extra pair of socks in your glove compartment. They’ll come in handy when you least expect it.

14. Keep windshields clear

Icy windshield but no scraper? In a pinch, a CD or a credit card can do the trick.

15. Orange peel fire starters

Orange peels are naturally oily, so try using them as fire starters. Just dry them out, then use them to get your kindling going. As a bonus, your fire will smell great.

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