When you have roommates, everything is a compromise, from how loud you can watch television, to how you’re going to organize the furniture. One of the biggest negotiations, however, most often deals with the thermostat. Everyone has heard stories about the roommate that cannot sleep without the window open, or maybe you are just on a budget and need to keep the thermostat at room temperature. Just because you are low on funds doesn’t mean you have to risk your personal comfort in these cold winter months. Below are some suggestions to not only keep you warm and more comfortable, but also how to stay that way for cheap.
Being comfortable in your room begins with being comfortable in your body. If you’re like many people on campus, the first stop of the day is not class, but for coffee. Warm and caffeinated, the brew is great in the cold weather. However, there are a few downsides. In cold weather, we inhale dry, cold air and exhale warm, moist air. Add in a caffeinated drink like coffee and you are well on your way to dehydration. Counteract your coffee consumption by drinking water in class. It doesn’t have to be ice water. With the way some classrooms are heated, a cool drink might be welcome refreshment.
Having to walk on cold floors is sure to send a chill up your spine. There is a cheap way to warm things up with newspaper, some of the best insulation around. If you have wood or tile floors, like in the dorms, put a layer of at least five or six pages of newspaper under your area rugs. This tactic works on your bed, too; just put some layers under your mattress and you will be amazed how much heat newsprint can hold.
Newspaper is also extremely absorbent, so consider it next time you are lacing up your boots. A page or two between your sock and your shoe will trap heat to keep your feet warm and absorb all that moisture from the snow.
It may be simple, but it is a valuable solution: open your curtains before leaving for the day. Allowing sunlight into your room during the day heats it up and helps to conserve energy. Close the curtains at night and the warmth stays put.
Once the heat is on and the windows are closed, things begin to dry out. Your throat gets scratchy, your skin gets flaky and most hair suffers from static cling. Oh, and don’t forget the electric shocks you get each time you touch the doorknob. All of these are the results of low humidity, or the amount of water vapor in the air. A simple solution is to boil some water. Just like a cheap humidifier, boiling water adds moisture to the air quickly. If you do not have access to a stovetop, or are not allowed a hotplate in your dorm, just put out a bowl or cup of water. Evaporation will take its course, though slower than the boiling method.
Michelle Nicoletto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.