I have weird ways of keeping warm in the winter, but I swear they work for me. I’m sure I’m probably the town crazy lady, but that’s okay by me. It’s worth it to be able to stay warm throughout the winter without paying out the nose for the high cost of my apartment building’s inefficient electric furnace. But I lucked out because I rent an apartment on the top floor, which uses a wood burning fireplace. The only problem is the fireplace is small and oddly shaped; it’s difficult to get a fire started and tricky to keep it going. I also don’t want to burn a lot of newspaper or cardboard to get it going, as these all increase the levels of creosote that can build up in the chimney as a result. So, the answer to my winter heating woes is to be patient and efficient. I wait until my local parks do their summer cut back on all of the trees at the parks. Then I give it a week, and on a cool dry day, go on a hike with a large reusable shopping bag. As I go, I fill it with the best kindling I can find. When I get home, it all goes in a box in my basement storage unit, on top of a wooden pallet so it stays dry off of the floor. If I do this every day when it doesn’t rain, I’ll keep up enough kindling to have a fire every brutally cold day in the winter. The more I can use me fireplace, the less I can turn up my electric furnace–that means a lot lower heat bills for me.