Survive Michigan Winter With These Cold Weather Hacks

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Ace Winter, No Matter How Many Pairs of Gloves You Lose

Question: If you have four children and each child owns 4 winter hats, 3 sets of gloves, 2 scarves and a pair of earmuffs and Child #1 leaves one scarf and one glove on the bus, Child #2 borrows a hat from a friend, Child #3 leaves one glove in the van and loses one at the bus stop and Child #4 refuses to wear any of it – how many winter items do you have in all?

Answer: I have no idea. All I know is if I trip over one more muddy boot or have to pick up one more soggy mitten off the kitchen floor, I am going to lose my ever-loving mind!

Sound familiar?

With the arrival of cold weather in Michigan comes sledding, hot chocolate, warm sweaters and Christmas. But it also brings wet socks, cold toes, runny noses and an overwhelming amount of winter snow gear. While I can’t promise you won’t ever have to deal with another soggy mitten, I can offer up a few simple Cold Weather Hacks to help get you through the season.

Welcome to our Mom Hacks series where we provide moms and dads around West Michigan with our favorite tricks for surviving this gig called Parenting. Many thanks to Family Fare Fast Lane for partnering with us on this family-helping project.

Fast Lane at Family Fare is our new online grocery shopping experience. Fast Lane provides yes Rewards members with online ordering and quick pickup. Spend more time exploring your city and leave the shopping to us!

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20 Cold Weather Hacks for Parents

1 – DIY Wool Insoles to Keep Those Toes Warm

Woolen Insoles Winter Hacks

To help keep your little one’s feet extra warm in their boots, make your own wool insoles. Trace the outline of the boots on a piece of thick wool or felt (or even an old wool sweater!), cut them out and then place them inside the boots.

2 – Track Hats & Gloves With Over-the-Door Organization

winter hacks hanging baskets for mittens

To help keep track of all the mittens, hats and scarves, store them in a hanging shoe organizer (or other similar item) inside a closet door. The little pockets are the perfect size- and if you can find one with clear pockets, the kids will have an even easier time locating what they need.

Or, hang them in kitchen gadget hangers mounted by the door. This gives a little more of that farmhouse look while still keeping the mittens visible and close to the door. The baskets above are from World Market’s kitchen section.

3 – Waterproof Boots With Plastic Bags

Michigan winter hacks

I think this hack has been around for decades – and it’s still a winner! For extra waterproofing inside boots, place a plastic bag over your child’s sock on each foot (empty bread bags are actually perfect for this!) and then slip the foot into the boot.

4 – Keep Tall Boots Tidy with Pool Noodles

Pool noodle boot hack for winter 1

If you have boots that like to flop over instead of stand up straight, cut some pool noodles and place them inside your boots to help them stand upright.

5 – Keep Spares in the Car – Spare Hats and Gloves, That Is

winter hacks keep extra gloves in the car

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve arrived at school, only to discover that someone left their hat sitting on the counter at home or managed to lose a mitten somewhere between the house and the car. Keeping a box of spare gloves and hats in the car can help you keep your kids’ hands and heads warm, as well as save you from some unneeded stress.

6 – Upcycle Old Socks Into Leg Warmers

cold weather hacks

For extra warmth under coats and snowpants – or even just around the house! – cut off the foot part of adult-sized knee socks to make arm and leg warmers that are the perfect size for kids!

7 – A Spoonful of Honey IS the Medicine

honey Winter Hacks 2

In recent years, experts have begun to recommend against giving cough and cold medicines to children under the age of 6. As a natural cough suppressant, honey has been proven to work just as well as over-the-counter medications in children over age 2. Just ½ – 1 teaspoon should do the trick! (Please note: Honey should never be given to a child under 1 year old.)

8 – Make an Off-Road Stroller Using Zip Ties

If you’re getting cabin fever and want to walk or bike around the block with the kids, attach some plastic zip ties around the tires of your jogging stroller or bike. This will give you more traction on slippery sidewalks.

9 – Every Michigander Should Own a Boot Dryer

Winter Hacks boot dryer

Invest in a boot dryer. There is some cost upfront, but these handy little contraptions will save you time and space- and as a bonus, you won’t have to listen to whining about cold, wet boots! (Or gloves, or anything, as this boot dryer can handle it all.)

10 – Use Family Fare Fast Lane and Never Push Your Cart Through Snow Again

Family Fare Shopping Cart with Bags

You know those days when you don’t have any food in the house, but you can’t face the idea of getting out of your warm car, trudging through the blowing snow and facing the crowds at the grocery store? It’s a “Family Fare Fast Lane Day”- as simple as ordering online (from the warmth and comfort of your home!) and picking up the groceries when it’s convenient for you.

11 – Put Heat Vents to Use with a Mitten Drying Rack

Winter hacks drying rack

Buy a rack to hang wet mittens and hats on (or if you’re handy, make your own!) Set the rack near a heating vent and all your gear will be warm and dry when you’re ready to head outside again.

12 – Practice Car Seat Safety with Ponchos or Backwards Coats

winter hacks

To ensure the effectiveness of your child’s car seat harness and keep him as safe as possible, experts recommend removing his winter coat before placing him in the seat. Brrr!

To keep your child warm: after securing the harness, place his coat over him, put arms in the sleeves, and let the jacket drape over him. For additional warmth, leave a blanket in the car to place over his legs. Or, consider using a car seat poncho as another warm alternative. 

13 – Use Instant Hand and Toe Warmers to Take off the Icy Edge

Winter Hacks hand warmers

Stock up on instant hand and toe warmer packets and then stash them in your purse and the car so that you always have warm hands and toes

14 – De Ice Your Car Locks With Hand Sanitizer

Key in Lock Winter Hacks De Ice

Keep hand sanitizer in your purse at all times. Not only can you help ward off those winter germs, but it can serve double duty as a lock de-icer. If your car lock is frozen, apply a few drops of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to your key and gently put the key in the lock. The rubbing alcohol will melt the ice inside the lock.

15 – Remove Road Salt Stains With Vinegar

Winter Hacks clean boots

Tired of salt stains on your boots? Just mix some water and vinegar and apply to remove salt stains from leather boots!

16 – Kitty Litter is Like Cheap 4-Wheel Drive

Keep a box of kitty litter in your trunk. Those of us who live in Michigan are all too familiar with getting our car stuck in the snow or on the ice. Throw some kitty litter under your tires to gain some traction and be on your way!

17 – Use Your Crock Pot or Instant Pot as Your Personal Chef

Crockpot Winter Hacks

Pull out that crock pot or instant pot. Spend just a few minutes in the morning throwing together some ingredients and come home to a warm, comforting meal in the evening!

18 – Buy Double the Gloves and Hide one Pair Away

winter hacks for kids grand rapids extra gloves

Kids in preschool and elementary school will inevitably lose gloves over the course of winter – and when you go to buy more, all of the stores will be sold out.

Plan ahead and get your child two pairs of gloves at the start of the season, but hold one back.

I don’t let my kids know I have an extra stash, so that they will still be careful to not lose the gloves they already have. But if and when those gloves go missing, it will not be a mad dash to find another copy of those perfect gloves I bought on sale.

19 – Let Your Kids Play Firefighter When They Come in From the Cold

You know how firemen leave their boots in their pants so they can leave in a hurry? Try the same thing with your kids! Place their boots inside the bottom of the legs of the snow pants (they often have elastic cuffs which will help hold it tight). Then roll the top of the pants down toward the floor as far as you can. When the kids are ready to go, all they have to do is step into their boots and pull up the snow pants.

20 – Use Coconut Oil to Sooth Skin…and Smell Nice at the Same Time

Winter hacks coconut oil

Cold winter weather can really dry out our skin. If your little one has dry lips or chapped cheeks, use coconut oil to soothe their skin. Silicone diaper cream can also be used on irritated skin, such as a nose that is sore from a cold.

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