Like the old 1940’s song that Bing Crosby and Doris Day made popular says, “Baby, it’s cold outside!” It has been cold enough here in St Petersburg, Florida that it has been necessary to cover up my fruit trees with sheets & blankets. I send warm thoughts to the rest of the country where the temperatures are so much lower than here. Baby, stay warm inside!

Ways to warm your home over winterWinter is here once again, and with it comes Jack Frost. Although he may nip at your nose while you spend time outside, you can shield him from entering your warm abode with these tips. Rather than reaching out a hand to turn up the thermostat, try a few of these eco-friendly options to stay toasty. Another reason to resist the urge to turn up the heat? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, almost half of a household’s energy bills go to space heating. With these easy alternatives for staying warm, both your wallet and the planet will thank you.

1. Pile on the layers. Remember when your parents would always tell you to put a jacket on if you were cold? This simple idea may actually be one piece of parental advice you should follow. Rather than cranking up the heat, put on your favorite fleece, scarf, beanie, or slippers (fuzzy socks are also encouraged). You will immediately feel all cozy and warm, and not just because you’re actively helping the environment.

2. Dodge that draft. Use draft dodgers to block the cold from sneaking under your door. You can even make your own using the ripped towel you’ve been meaning to get rid of and your old jeans you just can’t bring yourself to throw away. Making or purchasing one will only take minutes, and the saved heat in your house will be felt quickly.

3. Double up curtains. Keep the snow monster on the other side of your windows by using extra thick curtains or drapes on your glass panes. Open curtains during daylight hours to gain natural heat and close them at night to decrease the amount of heat lost through the glass, which can account for up to 25% of your heating bill.

4. Close up. Close the doors and vents in less-used rooms to minimize the amount of energy you use on heating. This will keep the heat where you want it most, and the rooms you close will quickly warm up when needed.

5. Get moving. Warm yourself up with exercise, whether it’s a quick jog or cleaning up the house post-holidays. You’ll feel warm and more energized for the day ahead in no time. Bonus points for getting others in your household or building to join you!

6. Cook up some warmth. Nothing says winter like a nice, warm meal. Warm yourself from the inside out by eating soup or drinking tea when you feel the need for heat. For an extra snuggly night, pair this with tip number 1, a cozy blanket, and some reading.

This post has been corrected. The title has been changed to indicate that there are six items on our list.

–Image via iStockphoto/erierika

Jessica Zischke is an editorial intern at Sierra. She is currently studying environmental studies at Dartmouth College, where she also works as a staff writer for The Dartmouth newspaper.

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