You may have heard or even experienced yourself the record cold in the northeast United States. Bar Harbor set a record on Friday and I've experienced my own personal cold  as well.

The furnace in my apartment is randomly shutting off. It happened three different times this week. My landlord has been trying to fix the problem, including last night when I called him around 10:30 after getting home from a friend's house. At 3 am, I finally woke up and felt the heat on again.

If it's one thing I've learned this week, it's that having a few things on hand is really helpful.

For Snow


A plastic shovel with a flat blade is most useful in removing snow in that it's light, easy to stow, and picks up more snow faster then its garden-y cousin. On snowy days, I bring it with me in my car in case I happen to get snowed into my parking spot. Also handy for when the plow has left a big pile of snow at the bottom of the driveway that you can't quite drive through. Cost: $5-$10

Rock salt, which is just really big crystals of sodium chloride is cheap enough by the bag to keep on hand. You can share a big bag with a friend or two. If you're in a pinch, you can also use table salt which does the same job of lowering the melting point of water as the fancier rock salt, it's just a little more expensive. One town actually recently used expired garlic salt to deice their roads! Cost: $5 for a big bag

Car brush
A plastic brush with a scraper and a brush is necessary for both the ice and snow aspects of winter. You want a long enough handle to be able to reach half way across your windshield. Tip: Access the brush on the passenger side of the car, that way when you open the car door the snow falls on the passenger seat, not where you need to sit to drive. Cost: $1

For Warmth

Putting your hands on cold steering wheels or door handles is not the way to stay warm in the winter. I keep one pair of mittens in the car at all times just for this reason. Get them from your favorite thrift store or knitter! Cost: $5

I have a working fireplace but since I'm scared of setting fire to things, for the moment I only have a pile of candles in there. Sometimes I light them for ambiance but have to blow them out soon after because of the amount of heat they throw off. Friends joked around that I should start burning furniture but hopefully it won't get to that! Cost: $10-20 for a bunch of candles

Wool Blanket
Last night, the wool blanket over my head kept things toasty until the heat came back on. I've had this blanket for years and say what you want about wool being a little scratchy but that blanket is warm and durable! Try an army-navy supply store for a cheaper version. Cost: $80 retail, but you'll have it forever

Wool Socks
I have one pair of SmartWool socks and last night, they were on. If your hands, head, and feet are warm, I think it is possible to sleep when it's cold. You can go the homemade route if you are talented or know someone who talented in the knitting department. Cost: $8-10 (for SmartWool)

Heat Pack
Back in the day, people used to go to bed with a warm brick. Now we have more comfortable options. My grandmother made us all heating packs for Christmas and I threw mine in the microwave for a few minutes and brought it to bed with me. Alternatively, you can drag your dog into bed with you. Another warm body does help things out…

Hopefully my heat stays on but if not, I have a few tricks to stay warm!

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