Winter bedding

5 ways to survive a Wisconsin winter

It gets pretty cold up here at our headquarters in Wisconsin. And by "pretty cold," we mean face-numbingly, "can't feel my fingers," "Why would anyone live here ever?" cold. That's why, every year, as the lakes freeze over and the winds set to howling, we recommend newcomers try these five things.

1. Buy yourself some new bed sheets.

There's nothing worse than coming home on a winter night, peeling off your balaclava and jumping into your would-be cozy bed — only to discover your sheets are as frigid as Jack Frost himself. Do yourself a favor: get some flannel sheets. They don't ice up in cold rooms like synthetics do. Instead, they greet your wary toes with night after night of soft, cozy warmth.

If you want to get extra toasty, try layering a flannel duvet cover over a down comforter to top it off. We have it on good authority that roughly 11/10 people prefer flannel to frostbite. So get a set for yourself, and while you're at it, get a set for all ten of your closest friends (plus one set of synthetics for the plowman who keeps burying the end of your driveway every time you put down the shovel).

2. Get a down jacket.

Here's something you'll learn the first time you try to layer two hoodies and a jean jacket on your way to the mailbox, thinking that'll be "good enough" to keep you warm for the two-minute trek. First, you were wrong about "two minutes." You're now waist-deep in foot after foot of icy cold stuff. And you're gonna need the shovel. Three hours and several frostbitten extremities later, you're going to realize another thing: you should have bought a down jacket.

Now, it can be tough to choose between all the men's winter coats out there. So we recommend narrowing your search down to men's winter parkas. They have a longer length that all your assets will appreciate. Barring that, consider gravitating toward those with lots of pockets. And then filling those pockets with handwarmers. Lots and lots of handwarmers. (Thank us later, folks who sell handwarmers.)

3. Cover those ice rinks you call "floors" with rugs and mats

Don't think you're safe from winter's icy grasp just because you're sitting nice and cozy in your flannel-clad bed. Those wood floors are about to give you some harsh life lessons. Do the smart thing: invest in some rugs. A large one under and around your bed is a good place to start. The living room? Obviously. But you'll want to get a bathroom rug, too. The best we've found: Supima bath mats made from American-grown Supima® cotton. They're extra warm and fluffy — the perfect cure for the common cold (foot). It's easy to find matching Supima monogrammed bath towels, so you can wrap some of that soft, fluffy warmth all around you, too, if you're into that.

4. Keep your toes toasty with extra warm slippers.

Unfortunately, you can't cover every square inch of your home with Supima bath mats. So for every other frozen piece of tundra you call a floor in your home, you're going to need slippers. Shearling is the way to go here. It's warm, soft and naturally breathable, so it doesn't leave your feet all sweaty. If you don't have slippers, you have options. Remember those personalized needlepoint Christmas stockings your grandma gave you, what, ten Christmases ago? The ones collecting dust in that old canvas tote in the attic? We're not saying it's ideal, but you know what they say: if the personalized needlepoint Christmas stocking fits....

5. Get a heat-trapping fleece throw or blanket.

You can't be in your toasty bed or shoving your toes into a fluffy bath mat 24/7. Occasionally, you're going to find yourself on the couch watching TV, or in your study looking up real estate in Florida. For those times, we recommend fleece blankets or throws. They're light enough to lug around yet remarkably plush and warm. The secret? They trap your own body heat, turning you into your very own space heater.

So there you have it: five things to help you survive a brutal Wisconsin winter. We hope you learned something. We know we did.

If you need us, we'll be wrapped up in a fleece blanket in our study — pricing a two-bedroom condo in the Keys.

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