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how we're staying warm this winter
Every winter, I try to save money and cut down our electricity bill by exploring options to stay warm. I can't sleep when the room is too cold, but we can't shut the door because the cats cry when faced with a closed door. Over the years, I have tried heating pads, hot water bottles, rice bags that you can microwave. We've tried using central heating, space heaters, more blankets. Nothing worked.

The winning idea ended up being super simple and inexpensive at less than $30: I hung a curtain in the doorway. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed at how long this took me to figure out. I installed the curtain with a tension rod and a set of shower curtain rings. It's funny because I saw this kids' shower curtain at the store a while ago and adored the pattern, but I let it go because I had no use for it. When I came up with this idea, I was excited to have it prominently displayed at home. Anyway, we were a little worried about the gaps at the top and bottom of the curtain. But I was fairly sure that despite those spaces, it would be an improvement over having the door partly open. Plus, I figured it if ended up being a problem, I could sew the top of the curtain into a sleeve and add some scrap fabric to the bottom to close the gaps. But this solved the problem neatly. The cats could have the in/out privileges while we could keep the heat exactly where we wanted it.

I'm excited to report that we were warm and toasty last night despite the gaps. In fact, we have to decrease the space heater output tonight and figure out the optimal setting now that the heat stays in the room. Despite the curtain's light color, it also offers the added bonus of blocking out the surprisingly bright ambient light from the rest of the apartment.

But this is more than just about the heat. It's about winning a battle that I've been fighting for years. I'm feeling hopeful about the future and the coming year.

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