We Canadians are winter survivors. We emerge each spring, yes, a little worse for wear but a little wiser, too, armed with new ways to stop mother nature cold in her tracks. Our combined years of experience have led us to these 17 indispensable hacks, which are guaranteed to make this winter a lot more bearable. And more good news: These tips are not only easy as pie, but will also save you time and money, so prepare to be blown away.
1. Spray your shovel
Shovelling your walk is one of winter’s most hated chores, but if you spray your shovel with non-stick cooking spray, the snow will slide right off that bad boy.
2. Shave your sweaters
Winter weather is sweater weather, which means you tend to wear yours out. Got one that’s pilling? Take a cheap disposable razor and run it over the problem areas. It will look like new in no time.
3. Try your hand at hand-warmers
Hand-warmers can be fairly expensive, and yet, they’re an absolute cinch to make at home. All you need are a couple of resealable bags, de-icing salt and water.
4. Put socks on your wipers
Driving is a luxury but it’s also a winter nuisance. Case in point: snow-covered windshield wipers. Grrr! But if you use a pair of old socks to cover them up before the next storm, you’ll save yourself the hassle of cold hands and a grumpy morning.
5. Knit without needles
Using just your fingers and some yarn, you can actually make a scarf pretty easily. That’ll save you money and the time it would have taken to learn difficult knitting techniques.
6. Drink snow, not alcohol
Stranded? Whether you’re waiting out a storm or winter camping, know that there’s always water in sight. Why? ’Cause snow (not the yellow or brown kind) is totally drinkable. While booze might make you feel all warm and tingly going down, it will ultimately lead to dehydration.
7. Bags are your best friend
Resealable bags are for more than just DIY hand-warmers. They’ll also keep your socks dry (just wrap them around your feet) and prevent your rearview mirror from freezing (again, just wrap it up).
It’s not what you’re thinking: Use kitty litter to get traction on your tires in snow or on ice. Another perk: It’ll defog your car’s windows, too. Fill a sock with litter and wrap the whole kitten caboodle (ha!) in another; the litter will draw the moisture from the air, eliminating the fog.
9. Get your bake on
Heating the inside of your home is just as important as staying warm outside. If you’re stuck inside, bake something. Not only will you have some delicious cookies and treats to enjoy, but all that opening and closing the oven door will also boost that indoor temp. Eating and heating. That’s a winter win.
10. Winter takes credit
Yup, that ice on your car is really caked on there. But with an old, sturdy credit card, you can de-ice your car without a brush.
11. News you can use…twice
Finished with the day’s paper? Save that newsprint for wet boots and shoes: If you fill your soaked footwear with the stuff, they’ll keep their shape.
12. Do your spring cleaning now
This is so obvious, yet so few people do it. Clean your fridge and freezer in the winter not spring. You’ll need a place to store your food while you’re a-scrubbin’, and what better place is there than the cold outdoors? Bonus: You’ll have more free time come spring to spend outside (when it’s actually nice)!
13. Foil up
Radiator close to the wall? Well, that wall might just be absorbing all of your heat. You can try to prevent this from happening by hanging a sheet of tinfoil behind your rad, which will reflect the heat back into the room (where it belongs)
14. Give a puck about hygiene
Hockey equipment stinks. You know it, we know it. But did you know that it’s a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to a staph infection if you’ve got an open cut? Spritz the stuff with a solution of white vinegar and water to get the stink (and staph) out; when you’re done, dry the gear well, or the bacteria will return.
15. Be smart, stupid
You can turn any old pair of gloves into smart gloves with just $5 worth of thread.
16. Tame your mane with dryer sheets
That’s right: No matter the freak show lurking under your toque, a few passes from root to tip with a dryer sheet will send that static packing.