winter home

Unpleasant fact ahead: As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating (and cooling), according to Energy Star. And, as you well know, that energy use translates straight to your bill each month. So, head on over to the thermostat and turn it down a few notches. Before you start grumbling, don’t worry. You won’t have to shiver through the season. Turning up the thermostat isn’t the only way to keep the chill off. Use these seven simple ways to stay warm this winter—and keep your bill low.

1. Cuddle under blankets

Get ready to hibernate and pile on the blankets. You’ll save on the heating bill and get all comfy at the same time! Stash extra blankets around your home in easy-to-grab baskets or bins. Invest in blankets that you’ll love for a lifetime, like vintage quilts, organic cotton throws and heavy woolen blankets.

2. Use rugs

Spread rugs across your floors to lock in heat, especially if you don’t have carpet. Besides the literal warmth, rugs can also visually make a room look cozier. Rugs add “layers” to a room. They create texture and warmth, and are way more inviting than a hardwood floor during nippy weather.

3. Light candles

Candles give off heat too! Maybe even more than you think. Before you light up though, make sure you’re using candles made from soy or beeswax. Conventional candles made from paraffin wax, a by-product of oil refining, emit fumes that contain toxic chemicals including volatile organic compounds. Also look for candles that use essential oils for fragrance, not synthetic compounds.

4. Drink hot tea

Kind of obvious, but it’ll give you an excuse to have another cuppa. Sip on your favorite organic hot tea to banish the shivers this winter. That cup might even do more than warm you up. The antioxidant properties found in most teas can help ward off wintery colds and sniffles.

5. Snuggle up

Beat the chill by huddling on the couch with your significant other, kiddos or furry pal. Embrace this together time with your loved ones when it’s too chilly to go outside. Watch a favorite movie or read together.

6. Bake away

Warm up the house and create something scrumptious at the same time by baking. Need organic inspiration? Make our Organic White Chocolate Rosewater Cupcakes or our Superfood Vegan Biscotti with Matcha and Maca. Be sure to prop the oven door open after you’re done baking (and you’ve turned the oven off). That extra bit of heat can help warm up your home.

7. Stovetop simmer

Let a pot of simmering spices permeate your house with warmth and delicious aromas. Simply fill a small pot with an inch or more of water and add an assortment of wintery spices, like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. You could also stir in fruit peels, like oranges and grapefruits, or add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Turn the stovetop to a low simmer and enjoy the scent throughout the day. (Don’t forget to keep adding water as it evaporates!)

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image: Yannic Meyer