Keep the Heat In

keep the heat
Image via Melanie

It’s getting cold; and it’s expensive to stay warm. We heat our house with heating oil – it’s basically diesel under a different name, and it pretty much costs the same, too. We have to order at least 100 gallons of it at a time, and if we’re lucky our total is only around $300; and if we’re not so lucky, then we cuss the cold. It wouldn’t be so bad if we only had to buy it once, but negative temperatures and never-ending winters force multiple purchases. It gets expensive.

I live in a little, old, drafty house, which makes winter feel a little hellish. I say hellish, because the cold and I do not dwell well together.

Between, now and someday, we’ve got to find other ways to trap our pricey heat in.

It would be a dream to have a few thousand dollars to replace all of our old windows, re-insulate our house, and buy a wood burning stove, but alas, we’re too broke for that.


So between, now and someday, we’ve got to find other ways to trap our pricey heat in.

I’ve got three small, inexpensive projects that we use, that you can use too.

image insulated window panels
Image via Melanie Denney


Insulated Window Panels

If and when your hair blows in the wind, while sitting next to the window, while you’re inside, then it is likely that you need new windows, or at least a temporary solution.

The Supplies:

Fabric, packing tape, and a $7.00 sheet of Styrofoam from a home improvement store. I already had fabric, and I bought another roll of packing tape, just in case, so this project cost me $9.00. I didn’t do all of my windows this go-round, just the ones in the rooms we use the most, for now.

The How To:

  1. Measure your window, and cut the Styrofoam to size. You’ll want it to be as snug as possible, in order to create a nice sealed barrier against draftiness.
  2. Wrap the fabric around the Styrofoam, just like you would a gift, and tape it into place. If you’d rather use straight pins to secure the fabric, then by all means  …
  3. After you’re done, you can slide the panel against your window.

You’ll notice that the draft is greatly diminished – no more wind blowing through your hair.  


door snake
Image via Melanie Denney


Door Snake

Infomercials crack me up. I actually like watching them – when my daughter was a baby, she never slept, so I spent countless hours watching middle-of-the-night infomercials. I got a kick out of them trying to make life seem impossible to live without the latest gimmick. I remember one about a door snake, for only $9.99 plus shipping and handling!

I have a better deal for you. I’ll share how I construct my makeshift door snakes; and they’re totally free.

The Supplies:

A bath towel, some pretty fabric, and a few rubber bands or hair ties – whichever you have on hand.

The How To:

  1. All you need to do is roll your towel up, lengthwise.
  2. Secure the two ends and the middle with an elastic.
  3. For the sake of aesthetics, roll your finished snake in some pretty fabric, and like before, secure it with some elastics.
  4. Place it at the foot of your door, where the cold air tends to seep through.

After the cold weather passes, just remove the elastics, and throw the towel into the washing machine. Simple.

insulated roman shades
Image via Melanie Denney


Insulated Roman Shades

I seriously love Roman shades. Not the kind that you have to spend your life savings on, but rather the make-your-own kind. Thanks to the Little Green Notebook, I’ve been Roman-shading my windows on the cheap with inexpensive mini blinds.

The Supplies:

Mini blinds, fabric glue, and two kinds of fabric: 1. fabric that you want to see, 2. fleece to line the back.

The How To:

1. Size the mini blinds to your window. I just hang them up, let them all the way down, and then starting from the top I mark on the thickest thread, every six inches, until my window ends. (I like my shades a little longer, so I’ll go one more mark beyond my window’s ending.)
2. Take the blinds down, and lay them flat; cut away the thinnest strings. DO NOT CUT THE THICKEST STRING.
3. Remove the bottom piece and all of the slats. For every six inches that you marked, you need a slat; I need seven, so I’ll just remove all but seven of them.  
4. Reattach the bottom piece. Now you just have the top piece, the string which you marked every six inches, a few slats, and the bottom piece.
5. Lay your fabric (the one that is going to be seen), face down. Lay your blinds face up, on top of your fabric.
6. Position your reserved slats, every six inches.
7. Drag a bead of glue along the curved part of the slat, being careful to avoid getting glue on the string, and then glue the slat to the fabric. Continue with each.
8. Trim the fabric down, but leave at least three inches on the sides, top, and bottom.
9. Now it’s time for the fleece. Trim the fleece to fit over the glued slats.

image example
Image via Melanie Denney

10. Glue the fleece to the back of the slats to create a lining and you’re done with that part.
11. Fold the bottom edge of the fabric to completely cover the bottom piece of the blind, and then glue into place.
12. Fold the edges of the fabric over, and then over once more to cover the fleece, and then glue into place.
13. When you get to the top part of the fabric and the top piece to the blind, don’t glue it into place until you slide the blind back into its installation brackets. Once it’s in its brackets, you can use a tiny bit of glue to secure the fabric to the top piece.


Image via Melanie Denney

There you go – an inexpensive way to add a little functional style to your windows.

What do you do to keep the heat in during the winter?

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What do you think?

Keep the Heat In

Melanie Denney lives in the smallest of towns, with her two little darlings. She has a Bachelor's degree and happily works as a full-time mother and a freelance writer, specializing in sociology and recreation leadership. ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. bulldogs183 says:

    I think this was very helpful.

  2. Leslie says:

    I use plastic on my windows and it cost the same. Our bill is 130.00.

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