Keeping warm this winter
I thought I would write today about how we keep warm in the colder months without breaking the bank. This is more relevant this year than ever due to the huge price rise of utilities - gas and electricity - and I know many, many people are worries about this subject.
These are the practical things we do / have done to keep the costs down and stay warm.
Please add any of your thoughts and ideas in comments, I will publish any practical tips.
1. Look for draughts.
Every home needs air circulation. In the warmer months it is lovely to feel a gentle breeze. But. Come winter time and you can feel chilly from the smallest air input.
In our wee house we were aware of three areas that had cold draughts: the porch/living room door; the living room skirting board; the fireplace.
We have a mostly glass door between the porch and the living room. It has a wooden frame and fits quite well in its frame - but it seems like the door was fitted when previous residents had a carpet: whereas we have solid floors. This leaves a gap of 15mm under the door for draughts to come in. We easily sourced the draught - our front door was old and had gaps to one side. Last year we used a rolled-up blanket as a draught-excluder for the interior door. This year the exterior door has been replaced, and the difference can be felt already.
The skirting board was tricky to fix, but really worth it. I purchased a tube of sealant that dries clear. Then I squeezed a small amount where the skirting board joins the floor, along where the draught was coming in. (I also used this in the kitchen where the base boards join the tiled floor to stop any spills going ùnder the base boards, and making it easier to wash the floor.)
The fireplace was trickier.
We have a built-in gas fire, so the draught comes from the exterior flue. It is essential not to stop this air flow, so to partially solve the cold draught issue, Man Wonderful has made a firescreen for us. It is made from wood, and sits in front of the OFF gas fire.
We moved into this wee house one year ago, so had lived through a winter here already. We knew the attic was partially boarded, but the insulation was thin. We saved up through the first part of the year and bought three huge rolls of loft insulation. Just after the heatwave in the summer, Man Wonderful spent a day in the attic and it is an important job done!
3. Double up.
In September, I like to 'properly' clean the curtains. This means either machine wash, line dry and iron or includes a repair or two. Once we rehang the curtains, we hang a second pair behind. These come down in Spring and are stored away for the next Winter. This is something I've always done - I grew up in the 70s in a house with a small income but lots of people.
It costs little to nothing to double up like this - you can pick up a set of curtains at a Charity shop for £1 (on a £1 day) or free on something like Facebook selling page.
Wear them. Get up and put some on. Double them up. Knit some. Warm feet are far better than cold feet: it takes me ages to warm up cold feet.
5. Thin layers.
We wear layers - one thing I do that might sound unusual is I wear additional sleeves. If we have a long-sleeved top that is ready to be scrapped, I take the sleeves off and hem the top of these. Then on a chilly day I put on these additional sleeves to have another thin layer. It works really well for me.
6. Eat earlier.
We eat our main meal at lunchtime and a small meal in the evening. I've never been a sarnie* person, especially on a cold day. Our usual menu in the winter is porridge to start the day, a yummy meal with loads of veg at lunchtime and something on toast for supper.
7. Don't sit down.
I find sitting and doing nothing quite difficult. I like to tidy, wash up, sort things out, knit, read, sew etc.. But once I sit down I can start to get chilly. I try to keep going as much as I can, and when I do sit down I have a patchwork quilt on my legs.
8. Go to bed.
This is a brilliant idea for keeping warm. I don't pre-warm the bed but if I'm cold I wear socks in bed. Sexy, eh?!