Reusable Hand Warmers

   The ever oppressive 2013/2014 Winter has entered a new realm of brutality. Days have blurred into weeks of repetitive snow removal. We have seen periods of record lows along with just plain weird weeks of spring weather in the middle. This is not unusual for our Rocky Mountain town, it is however in harsh contrast to our last several mild winters.
   As I get older, my hands seem to lag behind the rest of my body when I engage in outdoor activities. Besides the unpleasant stinging of extreme cold, it is equally annoying to have to run inside every fifteen minutes to warm my hands. I stubbornly refused hand warmers for many years, but last year they finally became a necessity.
This year they proved to be well worth the bulk investment. I did have a problem with using a new pair each day for just a couple of hours. This seemed like a huge waste considering that a pair will last up to 10 hours.

Reusable Hand Warmer Trick
   Since the thermal reaction is fueled by oxygen, I wanted to see if I could stop this process by starving the heaters. Sure enough, sealing the pair of heaters in a sandwich bag achieved the desired result. The heaters cooled down and were easily revived once the bag was reopened. The important step is to push all the air out and slide the knot as close to the hand warmers as possible.
   Not only have I been able to reuse the same heaters, so far I have gotten seven uses out of one pair over a two week period. This has saved me several pairs of heaters that would have been partially used then discarded. Not to mention a single pair can cost a dollar a pack and I have been shoveling daily for the last month.

   As a final side note, this tip was inspired by my mother-in-law, who wraps wet paintbrushes in sandwich bags. I used this trick extensively throughout painting our house, saving multiple brush cleanings between recoats. Simply enough, not only does it save time and money, it reduces waste.

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