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Life hacks for winter: Quirky, fun tips for surviving the cold

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Got your cooking spray? Good – you're ready ... to shovel?

Cooking spray is perfect for keeping sticky snow off shovels (vegetable oil will work, too), which ultimately makes the job easier and faster.

That little tip is among a number of winter "life hacks" – off-beat pointers for making cold-weather months just a little more bearable – that have been circulating on the web.

Here are some more:

From Buzzfeed, which has 24 winter life hacks (a few are silly, bordering on stupid – wear your robe backwards to make it a Snuggie; but some of these are truly inspired bits of genius):

– Women's knee-high socks can easily be cut into toddler leggings

– Make your own hand warmers with ziplock bags and calcium chloride ice-melt pellets

– Put socks on your toilet seats – not pretty, but a little warmer. (Another tip: Socks on your windshield wipers will keep the snow off them in a snow/ice storm.)

– To avoid floor mess caused by wet, muddy boots, create a mat out of a big tray lined with small stones

From Business Insider's 12 Hacks for surviving this freezing, icy winter:

– Make homemade brews to keep ice of your car windows (mist a 3:1 mixture of distilled vinegar and water onto the glass before a storm or icy weather) and front steps (a thin layer of brine made with salt dissolved in hot water can make snow easier to remove, and prevent ice layers from forming).

– Reverse your ceiling fan to clockwise, on low, to push warm air that has settled near the ceiling back down into the room.

From HuffingtonPost:

– Wet shoes/boots? Stuff them with super-absorbent paper towels used in auto shops (or newspaper works well, too).

From Wisebread:

– Use floor mats under your tires if you get stuck in snow or ice. (Also recommended: kitty litter.)

– Use a penny to check your tire treads – if Lincoln's head shows, you need new tires for winter driving.

– Wear cotton gloves over your hands after moisturizing, to lock moisture into skin.

– Running tights are a more efficient, better-wicking, better-looking base layer than traditional long underwear.

– Keep a tea kettle with mulling spices boiling to add moisture to the air and fill your home with a wonderful smell.

Another oft-cited trick: Buy a cheap razor – and use it to shave your sweaters. The blades do a fair job of stripping off the pilling you get on older sweaters.

And how about this one ... a hot water bottle will help warm up cold bed sheets. But so will a blast from the hair dryer! You can find that hack and nine others (including: cut out wool inserts for your shoes and boots) in this short video:

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Winter survival app for smartphones

Two software developers in Fargo, North Dakota have created the Winter Survival Kit app for iPhones and Android smartphones. The Crookston Daily Times reports the creators wanted to help after a powerful blizzard left hundreds of drivers stranded last winter. This free app can notify help and provide some potentially life-saving alerts. It can also help you prepare for winter travel.