I welcome winter. Not only is it beautiful and brings the holidays, but I get a vacation from the daily grind! Chores drop down to just basic things and all the extras (garden, canning, and whatnot are all done till next season, allowing me to relax and enjoy some quiet time. But, unless you stay warm and cozy, winter is not going to be enjoyable at all. So here are my tips and tricks to stay warm during the worst winters, inside and out.
1.) Proper Clothing ~ Dress in layers once the temps drop. Not only will you stay warmer, but it's a great way to keep your heating costs down. The first layer should be close to your skin to help hold the body heat close. Add another baggy layer on top and you will not notice the cold nearly as much. Thermals are great since they are thin, yet warm when worn under clothing and make a huge difference. Plus, if your plan on being outside in freezing temps even for a bit it's easy to add in an extra thin layer or two without feeling bulky or uncomfortable.
I also use leggings the same way. No, they are not "thermals" but they look nice (I love pairing them up with ripped jeans in the winter and matching sweaters or hoodies) and will help keep you warm and toasty on the coldest days. For extra warmth, go with the fleece lined ones. They are also super soft against your skin.
2.) Proper Winter Footwear Including Slippers For The House ~ If your feet are cold, you will be miserable. I almost always double up on the socks, wearing a thin pair as a first layer and then a thick super warm pair over top to keep my feet as warm as possible along with proper shoes/boots (warm and waterproof) for outside and warm slippers for the house to protect my toes from the cold wood floors and to trap as much warmth as possible.
3.) Space Heaters For Those Cold Rooms ~ Space heaters can be a great way to warm up a cold area in your home, making everyone more comfortable during the winter BUT using the wrong one can be costly! My advice is to invest in one of the infrared heaters. Yes, they cost more for a nice one, but they also seem to cost less to run, helping to keep the electricity bill down and you warm. They also look nice and can become a functional part of the every day decor in your home. We keep on in the bedroom and it doubles as an end table for us, complete with a drawer and a shelf. In our living room, we keep a fireplace model heater, which looks great sitting under our tv and provides a bit of extra warmth on really cold days.
4.) Proper Winterizing ~ A simple candle can be used to track down those drafts. Just light it and watch for the flame to start to flicker as you hold it in front of windows, outlet covers (no really...ours are a nightmare of cold air coming in) and doorways. Take steps to seal it up as much as possible. Windows can be recaulked and covered with plastic. For the outlets I remove the plate and install foam covers to seal out the drafts. Weather stripping applied to the doors can help seal things up greatly. Make sure you check the bottom of the door also as it can let in a ton of cold air. We keep draft stoppers for each of ours and use them religiously come winter to keep the cold out.
5.) Know When To Open And Close The Drapes ~ Opening the drapes can let the sun in, resulting in warmer temps inside your home during the day. Shut them before the sun goes down so you don't end up losing heat. Thermal curtains are also a great idea to help seal out the cold at night, especially if you have a large window. In a pinch you can use an old quilt or two to cover the windows. Just fold over and hem so you have an area to run a rod threw and hang like you normally would.
6.) Always Have Candles and Oil Lamps On Hand ~ Last winter, because of a storm, we lost power for a few days. Thankfully, we have a generator that we used to run the most important things (computer, coffee pot, and the fridge) and a wood stove that provided heat to the main house and allowed me to cook for everyone. Unfortuantely, our bedroom was freezing. Lighting the oil lamps and my collection of emergency pillar candles brought the temp up so it was at least tolerable.
7.) Get a Humidifier ~ Moist air feels warmer then dry air so instead of turning up the thermostat, turn on the humidifier. It will help your dry skin during the cold months and help prevent you from getting sick. BONUS. Ours does double duty as a humidifier and oil diffuser which helps me keep clutter to a minimum and even while shut up, keeps the house smelling nice and fresh.
8.) Hot Drinks and Delicious Soups ~ Warm up from the inside out. Enjoy a cup of cocoa, a perfect cup of tea, a hot toddy, or just have an excuse for one more cup of coffee. Chicken noodle soup or a pot of chilli on a cold day is a perfect healthy meal that will warm you up and if you bake up a loaf of bread to go with it, leave the oven door propped open when you're done so the heat helps warm up the kitchen.
9.) Bedding ~ Sleep is important and it's no fun trying to sleep when you're cold. Down or even a Alternative Down Comforter will keep you toasty warm, even on the coldest of nights. If you're looking for something more unique and fun find a Chucky Knit blanket to drape over the foot of the bed. Both will keep you comfortable all night long and you may find yourself turning the heat down just so you can snuggle deeper into your blanket. Electrical blankets are also an option and I have one just for the days I have a cold / flu to use in the living room.
10.) Get Up And Move ~ January is freezing here in the Midewest so it's the perfect time to get a head start on spring cleaning. Everything gets cleaned, from floor to ceiling. It keeps me busy and a bit warmer until spring decides to come and I can get outside to enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather.