Life hacks for cold weather on campus

Remember last year’s surprise snowmageddon? While many places were impacted, the Boston blizzard of 2015 was one for the record books. Many of my friends live in Boston, and they were snowed in for what seemed like weeks–the snow came down in February and literally didn’t finish melting until June. Cars were buried, and so were front doors.

You ready for the cold weather? (Credit: DIYLOL.com)

You ready for the cold weather? (Credit: DIYLOL.com)

Even if this year is mild, I’m preparing for the worst by making sure I have a list of life hacks to make my cold weather living easier. Whether you’re on winter break or back on campus, keep these life hacks in mind.

Car safety kit

If you have a car on campus, make sure it has a cold weather safety kit. Sure, if the car is buried in six feet of snow, a kit won’t help you much. But if you’re in a car buried in the snow, you’ll be glad you were prepared. According to the safety article “How to make a winter survival kit” from the Ready Wisconsin government website, there is a list of things you must keep in your car.

There are many other items that are necessary for good winter safety on the road; check out the full list and make some additions of your own before you take your next winter drive.

Did you know that hand sanitizer can be used as a de-icer? You can use it to get the ice out of your car locks–or just to clean off your windshield. Three parts vinegar one part water can also work.

If you’re a biker rather than a driver, here’s a life hack for you: use zip ties to turn your bike tires into snow tires. The extra tread will give you grip on slick surfaces.

Warming up your cold dorm room

Does your dorm use old wall mounted heaters or radiators? One easy way to double the heat in your dorm room is to put tin foil against the wall behind the heater. It reflects the heat back into the rest of the room.

Have one of those doors with a gap underneath it? You can use pipe insulation–or skinny pool noodles that you slit down one side–to fill in the gap. It’s a much easier project than the door blocker I tried to stitch and fill with sea shells last year!

If your windows are super cold and drafty, grab some bubble wrap or saran wrap to insulate your windows. And this one’s a no brainer: if the sun is out, open up your shades! Letting that sunshine in can give you natural heat during the day; close the shades to keep that heat in once the sun goes down. Even better, use an old quilt as a curtain.

Keeping yourself warm

It wasn’t until last year that I finally got a really good pair of winter snow boots. Before that, I had some leaky ones that didn’t keep my feet very dry. But one easy way to prevent your socks from getting wet if you have leaky boots is putting plastic grocery bags or sandwich baggies over your socks before you stick your feet in your boots.

As for those wet shoes, you can stick microfiber towels into them when you get back into the dorm. That will help them dry out quickly so you won’t have to put your feet in soggy shoes. You can also cut out wool insoles for your shoes to give you a little extra cushiony warmth under your feet before you head out into the cold winter weather.

What are your best tips for cold weather living? Tell us in the comments.

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  1. […] in your car along with your winter car safety kit (which I wrote for CengageBrain about in “Life hacks for cold weather on campus,” posted December 25, 2015), and check out these other great tips from Ginny Gaylor, also on […]

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