”Now is the winter of our discotheque.” — Me, misquoting Shakespeare
Yes, those endless days of summer are in the rearview for the moment, but don’t let that get you down. After all, we’ve got Netflix and the warm glow of a pine-scented candle. What more can we ask for as the daylight hours are minimal and the snow flies?
Hacks, of course.
What truly gets people down about the wintry month? It’s not the cold, it’s not the lack of daylight. It’s all the little bits of extra work you have to put into your day.
From putting on an excess of bulky clothing (though the extra pockets are nice) to clearing off the car in the morning to shoveling a path to civilization after a massive snowfall, there are innumerable little bits of extra added to the day.
And the only one who’s allowed to be extra around here is you.
Let’s start with the place we all should be looking when it comes to seasonal hacks: Farmers’ Almanac. At tinyurl.com/uwr6rkw, they’ve got a characteristically common sense list of winter hacks that includes gems like always carrying an extra pair of warm socks and using the penguin walk to safely traverse slippery ground.
It also is probably the only list where you’ll find the advice to rub potatoes on your windshield, so make sure you check it out.
Next up, we’ve got the second most useful thing on the face of the Earth — after duct tape, of course — kitty litter.
The Krazy Coupon Lady has its take on cold weather hacks. Among some fun tips on sweater care and demoistening boots with newspaper, you’ve got something that goes beyond the usual “using kitty litter for traction when you’re car is stuck in the snow.”
And that, of course, is using the moisture absorption properties of the stuff as a defogger in your car.
Check that and other useful bits and bobs out at tinyurl.com/y4cg7cvz.
And, leave it to Bob Vila to take advantage of the third and fourth most useful things on Earth — WD-40 and vinegar — for some home-improvement tinged hacks.
Not only can you use “the ’40” to defrost a frozen lock and a vinegar solution to defrost your windshield, there’s also a link to a great tutorial for creating homemade Yak Trax so you’re not slipping and sliding across the frozen Midwestern tundra.
Read the whole list at tinyurl.com/uyanleb.
Now, that we’ve got the outdoors covered, let’s step inside, warm our hands near a blazing hack fire and figure out what we’re going to do with the rest of the day.
A good place to start for those with kiddos to entertain would be this list of hacks and fun activities, courtesy of Architecture Art Designs: tinyurl.com/y4ljrpx4.
The list starts off strong with making a “town” for Lego building out of a cardboard box. Despite a complete lack of children in the Her Hacks Team office, we can guarantee a few of these will be popping up.
There are quite a few “science experiment” style hacks, too, but don’t skip past the DIY portable rock climbing wall without at least considering it.
For those readers whose “kids” are of the furrier sorts, that doesn’t mean they need any less activity as the winter wears on.
Our first list comes courtesy of Naturally Unleashed at tinyurl.com/y6lnoc77. It includes the simple — a grooming session for that shaggy old winter coat — to some mentally and physically stimulating activities to keep them busy.
The ASPCA has a list of dog- and cat-specific activities to keep them engaged at tinyurl.com/y24u3p9r. There’s also a nice section at the end about reacclimating pets to being alone as we start to see the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.
But, why should the kiddos and doggos have all the fun? There are plenty of fun ways to keep the whole household busy.
Take, for example, WiseBread’s 50-strong list of fun things to do at tinyurl.com/ycljmc32. Any list that includes both napping and a happy hour is guaranteed to bring a smile to the cynical, hack-ridden faces of the Her Hacks Team.
If it’s a creative outlet that you require, there’s no better place to start than Country Living’s list of winter-time crafts at tinyurl.com/y2wlhq8q.
From cross-stitch to making a vintage wooden sled, there’s a good variety to the length of time the projects entail, as well as skill level.
And, if you’re looking to get even more rustic (than creating a birch vase, which let’s be honest, is pretty rustic), you might want to swing over to Homesteading.com’s list of top ways for homesteaders to stay productive during the winter.
Even if you don’t happen to be on a literal homestead, there’s a wealth of ideas that to keep you healthy, hearty and hale during, despite the cold.
For instance, eating from scratch is first on the list and it’s the perfect trifecta: Healthy, money-saving and perfect to soak up those long, dark evening hours.
Food canning and dehydration are two more popular pastimes on the list, but try to keep going because there are plenty of non-food-related gems, like learning knots and taking time to clean your tools, too.
It’s at tinyurl.com/yyrcotgn and it’s a great read.
That’s it for February. It might be cold outside, but remember a warm hearth will always trump winter weather.
Anthony Frenzel writes for the Telegraph Herald.