How to Survive When You’re a Guest in a Cold House

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We’ve all been there. Visiting your boyfriend’s parents or your Aunt in Jersey, they offer to let you stay in their home which sounds like a great idea, it’s beautiful and free. But later, after the coats are off and you settle in you realize their house is COLD AF! Everyone else claims to feel totally comfortable, or worse, they know it’s cold but want to keep their heat bill low. In other words: they tell you to shut the F up and suffer.

Great. Thanks. Now what? You’ve got your hoodie zipped up all the way, a scarf around your neck and at least another 24 hours in this Arctic tundra.

What now? You read this article, that’s what.

First of all, I want to tell you I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. These people you’re staying with are monsters. Why are they making you suffer? Who knows. They may not sympathize with your pain but I do. You deserve to be warm. I want warmth for you in your life. Read on…

Trick 0: Plan Ahead

If you’re already in the freezing mess that is this person’s home, then this section won’t help you. It’ll just alert you to all the things you should’ve done before you got there. No one likes a Monday morning quarterback so skip to Trick 1.

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If you’re reading this beforehand, great, let’s see if we can head this off at the pass. First of all, pack a heating pad or heating blanket. Don’t have one? Get one. A heating pad is something you can definitely fit into an overnight suitcase or a weekend bag. When you’re sitting on the couch or sitting anywhere, plug that bad boy in (as long as there’s an outlet nearby) and you’re all set! Lay the pad on your lap and stay snug as a bug in a rug.

Also, bring long johns, socks and lots of clothes to layer. If I’ve got a heating pad and thick socks, I can survive anything.

Trick 1: Hot Water

This discovery is life changing. You hear me? Life changing. I didn’t discover the glory, majesty and genius of hot water until late in life but after I did I have never looked back.

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What I mean by hot water is literally heat up a glass of hot water and be holding it and drinking it at all times. It’s a game changer. Your insides warm up super friggin fast and your hands and lap (when you rest the cup of warm water in it) also heat up at the same time. It’s like a portable space heater.

What’s awesome about hot water is that it’s a subtle solution. It doesn’t scream YOUR HOUSE IS SUPER COLD AND UNCOMFORTABLE. It looks normal, like you’re the kind of person who just likes to sip on warm things. It’s not obvious that this mug of H20 is your LITERAL LIFE BLOOD. You may not want to offend your hosts so hot water is a great solution. If you want, you can put a tea bag in it to make it look even more “normal.” Personally, I just go straight hot water by itself because I don’t care about flavor, I just want to feel my fingers again.

The only down side to hot water is that it doesn’t stay hot forever. You have to regularly heat it up again. To me, this is a small price to pay for circulation.

Hot water is a great trick for restaurants also. For some reason, restaurants like to freeze out their patrons. Not sure what the logic is there but whatever, I’ve had to figure out how to survive dining out in cold places and hot water does the trick!

Trick 2: Space Heater

I’m including this because it’s true and as I write this I’m sitting in my boyfriend’s family’s cold house inches from a space heater. But, I don’t think this is a great trick. Why? Because, if the place you’re staying doesn’t want to turn up the heat because of the heat bill they’re probably not going to let you use a space heater either. Space heaters tend to really increase the electric bill.

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Also, space heaters are really obvious. If you’re wanting to not offend or upset your host, a space heater isn’t the way to go. If this is your first time staying with this person you may not feel comfortable being this direct. I know I wasn’t. I didn’t start turning on the space heater in my man’s family’s home until after I stayed there a few times. Also, how do you even know if they have a space heater? Where is it? Do they mind if you use it? You have to do some serious recon to get access.

Additionally, a space heater is a really obvious of a solution. Anyone could think of a space heater. I’m trying to give you less obvious tricks that maybe you hadn’t thought of. But whatever, like I said, I’m sitting in front of one right now and I use it when I’m in their home so for authenticity I had to include this trick.

Trick 3: Find the Laundry Room

Ok so this is another late in life realization for me but the laundry room in a house is the warmest room in the entire house! I haven’t tested every laundry room in every house in every country, this is purely anecdotal but you’re freezing so what the heck do you have to lose right now? Go see!

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The laundry room in cold houses has been my sanctuary. I change my clothes in there, I randomly pop in every so often to warm up, I’ve even taken my computer in there to work. It’s glorious. I don’t know why because I’m not a scientist. And the dryer doesn’t even have to be on or have been on recently, that room for some reason whether it’s on the top floor of the house or the basement is WARM AF. So go in there, veg out then come back and thank me later. You’re welcome.

Trick 4: Blanket over the head

This is for when you’re in bed for the night. If you don’t know this trick already then you didn’t grow up in a cold house as a kid. I did.

Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Pull the sheets/blanket over your head so that your entire body is cocooned in. Your hot breath will warm you right up. It’s so lovely. And oddly primal and it works like a charm.

That’s all my shivering lovelies. Best of luck. Godspeed.