Staying Ahead Sunday–Winter Hacks Edition – Ritter Ames Mysteries

Staying Ahead Sunday–Winter Hacks Edition

The weather has changed around my house the last week or so, and we’re now donning SAS memesweatshirts and sweaters. Which means I’ve started incorporating some of my favorite cold weather hacks into daily life. Despite the meme I used at the left, these aren’t Organizing tips per se, but rather ways to minimize your frustration with cold weather. Still, done regularly, they can save you time and money.


First up, is one I have to credit to my lovely daughter since she’s the one who first started using this hack in our house. On cold nights we all love the feeling of crawling into a warm bed with sheets right out of the dryer, right? One night, right after my daughter said she was taking a quick shower before bed, I walked by her room and heard the sound of a humming motor. When I stepped in to take a look, I found the hairdryer running on High in the middle of her bed, next to her folded up pajamas, and with all her covers pulled over the top. Needless to say, I pulled the hairdryer out of this cocoon before the device could overheat, but the idea was brilliant to me.misc

So the hairdryer wouldn’t die of heat stroke, I set the nozzle just under the top of the sheets and blankets, and moved her pjs and a stuffed bear under the covers to kind of tent things a few inches past the fiercely blowing nozzle of the dryer. When she came out, her bed and pajamas were all warm and welcoming, just like she’d envisioned, if placed a little differently than she’d originally planned. Now, on cold nights we run the hair dryer over the sheets and blankets right before we jump under the covers–tenting now required. Makes the bed feel perfect.

foam-pipe-insulationIf you have drafts under any doors, a quick and easy way to beat them is a trip to Home Depot or Walmart to pick up a piece of foam pipe insulation. Use the precut foam (a little of the cut shows up at the edge of the image to the left) to run along the bottom of your drafty door(s), so the foam wraps around and hugs both sides, then cut it off just before the edge so it won’t make closing the door difficult. These foam jobbies are only a couple of dollars apiece and about six feet long, so one can usually cover two doors.

Next up is a tip my father’s heart doctor gave us years ago. elf_sweeping_2If the snow isn’t more than an inch or so, don’t shovel it, sweep it. Not only is sweeping faster in this instance, but it’s easier on your back and heart than lifting a shovel each time with even a small amount of snow.

And for my last easy winter hack, when you must shovel try this tip my husband I always use. Spray both sides of the shovel with a cooking spray like Pam. Then reapply as needed during the job. Doing that makes the snow slide right off the shovel, instead of hanging on with an icy grip so that you have to keep banging the shovel to clear off the blade again. Makes for much easier snow shoveling which, less face it, is not something anyone wants to make any more difficult.

My only other tip is one I gave to a writer friend this week when she posted about how cold her daily walks had become. Two words–Carhardt Coveralls. They may not be stylish, but they’re danged warm and easy to walk and work in. Keep warm, everyone.

If you have any stay warm tips or hacks, feel free to comment below πŸ™‚



6 Replies to “Staying Ahead Sunday–Winter Hacks Edition”

  1. I have used a hair dryer to warm the bed in hotel and motel rooms for years. Love the idea of using the foam insulation sleeve that way. There are so many uses for that stuff. Of course I only remember the last two now. You don’t dig or sweep an inch of snow; you play in it because it will be gone in hours. Well that is what happens were I live now but the idea is great. Shoveling show is strenuous and can be dangerous. I have shoveled snow. Lived in Canada, Wyoming, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa, some more than once.

  2. Pool noodles fro m the Dollar Store can also be good draft dodgers, or a scrap buster project is sew a “tube” and fill it with rice or kitty litter ( don’t use sand however, when you pick it up the dirt cloud is annoying)

    And, for the bed warmer…try one of thoe “heat it in the microwave” neck roles and put it in the bottom part of the bed…same things as the hairdryer w/o the fear of a short. This goes with the old New Englander habit of wrapping a hot brick and putting it under the covers.

    1. I use pool noodles for a lot of things, Andrea, but you can’t run the door through the split like you can pipe insulation–the pool noodle holes are too small, and there is no split precut. I used to use tubes filled with beans and rice like you suggested, but then I had to keep moving them all the time–and we all know how much I dislike doing the same thing over and over (HA!), so that’s when I hit on the pipe insulation answer. I can open the door and the insulation stays attached to the bottom, hugging each side. Then when I shut it, it’s already back in place. I truly am a lazy more than I’m organized πŸ™‚

  3. Thanks for the tips, Ritter! After all our years in New England, I’m happy to call “really cold” the 48 degrees we had this week. :>)

    1. I hear ya, Gale! I went to the store today because we had our only “warm day” this week, and it was in the 40s. Now I’m going to just hunker down and write the rest of the week–staying indoors πŸ™‚

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