Winters in Tennessee are a bit like playing roulette, you never know exactly what kind we will get. It could be cold and wet, bitter and snowy, or dry and chilly. My grandmother used to always say to watch the animals in the early fall, they will tell you what winter you will be in for. This year, the squirrels are fat, and their tails are large and fluffy. If my grandmother is right, as she often was, that means this winter will be cold!
Living in an old farmhouse that needs a lot more work than we can afford, makes winters challenging especially when they are cold! So here are a few of my favorite ways to prepare for a cold winter and stay warm, especially as someone who is chronically ill.
Insulation of your home
Everyone should be insulating no matter where they live. Insulation helps keep your home warm and your heating bills lower. Now, these are quick and affordable insulation tips not drastic changes to your home that may be costly.
I recommend starting with your windows. Start by checking for all drafts around your windows. If you can caulk around the window seals, do not seal your windows shut with caulking. The next thing I recommend is looking into a window insulation kit like this one. These are very affordable and work very well. I finally recommend insulation curtains or hanging a blanket over your windows. This will cut down on heat loss as well. On warmer days you can open the curtains or remove the blanket if you wish.
After the windows make sure you have a draft stopper for all your exterior doors. This helps keep cold air out and bugs too! Here is the one I recommend. It is also very wise to check your pipes in your home for leaks and insulate them from freezing. Burst pipes are the worst and can do so much damage to your home.
Finally, if your home is extremely drafty, caulking around your baseboards can help tremendously.
Blankets and more blankets
As soon as the temperature starts to dip outside the blankets come out of my linen closet. I have blankets all over my house. As I stated above my house is old and drafty so when cold winters hit it is nice to have blankets around to keep us warm. During the spring and summer, I go through my blanket stash and see what needs to be retired to the dog’s beds or needs to be completely replaced. I love making blankets, whether they are crocheted, knitted, sewn, or even fleece tie blankets. Extra blankets are an easy way to keep warm in a cold winter without having to raise the thermostat.
Insulation doesn’t just work for our homes it works for our bodies too. I always tell my kids you can add more layers when they are chilled. My MS makes me very cold intolerant and with the cold comes pain. So, I have lots of hand warmers, thick wool socks, warm sweaters, and comfy hoodies to keep me insulated in the winter without raising my thermostat. If you are someone that likes to knit or crochet, you can find patterns for warm cardigans, sweaters, and socks to keep you toasty warm all winter!
Warm drinks and soups
There is nothing more comforting than a hot cup of coffee or tea, a comfy blanket, and a good book on chilly winter nights. During the winter we crave warm comforting dishes to keep our bellies warm on the nights when the temperature dips below freezing. In our house during winter soups, stews, and warm dishes are a staple. You can find some of our favorites here! I also keep a kettle full of water on my stove so I can have a nice cup of hot tea or cocoa when I am chilled.
Candles or a fireplace
This tip requires fire safety. Candles will not heat your home completely, but they will add a bit of heat while adding a nice bit of comfort to your home, especially during the dark nights of winter. If you have a fireplace that is in good working condition you can easily heat your home with the fireplace as many people did back in the day. If your fireplace is not in good working condition, please do not use it until it has been properly maintained and inspected. If you burn candles or use a wood stove or fireplace, please make sure you are monitoring them. First safety is a step you should always be the first step before lighting any fire in your home.
These are some of our winter preparations and ways we keep warm during the cold fall and winter nights. What are some of yours? Tell us in the comments below!