snowy winter street, wrought-iron fence

I have vivid memories of winters as a child in Brooklyn. Snow days were fun! We made snowmen and had snowball fights in the street. When we came home, we put our wet mittens and socks on the radiator to dry.

The hiss of the radiator brings back other memories as well, like how my grandparents coped without clothes dryers and humidifiers. In nice weather, mom and grandma would hang clothes on a clothesline to dry, but what did you do in the dead of winter? You used the radiators! Ours were always draped with wet clothes during the cold months.

Another iconic image from my childhood: old pots filled with water on the radiators. As the water evaporated, it added moisture to the air. It’s another use for an old pot, and no extra energy was used to humidify the rooms. I think that these old tricks are worth a re-visit. They are so eco-friendly and frugal.

We had a dryer and humidifier, as it turned out.

I love this time of year when I am sitting in my warm apartment, reading, and listening to the various whistles, pops, and hisses coming from the radiator and remembering good old winters in Brooklyn. Savor the season and enjoy!


By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.