Brrr! It's chilly out there, and for these frigid winter weeks, you are going to want to invest in a few items and use some tricks to keep your apartment above freezing.
For those of you not lucky enough to get central heating, here are the easiest and best ways to stay warm and cozy indoors during these unbearably cold winter months.
1. Buy a Space Heater or Heating Fan
This is a quick and easy method for getting your apartment nice and toasty. If you have pets or young children, avoid getting tall space heaters because they are easier to fall over. On Taobao, search for 取暖器 (qunuanji, general space heaters) or 小太阳取暖器 (xiao taiyang qunuanji, small solar heaters, including heating fans).
Supermarkets and hypermarkets such as Carrefour and Walmart also usually have them in stock during the winter.
2. Cover Your Bed with an Electric Blanket
Electric blankets are a great way to have a great night’s sleep (but might just make it nearly impossible to get up in the morning!) Look up 电热毯 (dianretan, electric blankets) on Taobao or find them on Baopals here. Or find them at your local hypermarket.
3. Seal Your Windows with Better Insulation
Many flats — especially traditional lanehouse apartments in Shanghai — don’t have very good insulation, so re-sealing windows is a great way to keep heat locked in. Caulk (填缝, tianfeng) can be used to create a better seal, as can transparent insulation tape (绝缘胶带, jueyuan jiaodai), which can be found at small hardware shops. For more DIY insulation materials, look out for window film (贴窗膜, tie chuang mo), weatherstrip seals (密封条, mifengtiao) and other things like plastic film and rubber foam tape, all of which you should likely be able to find at B&Q (in Shanghai). If that's not enough, contact your landlord to see if you can also get double-paned glass windows (双层玻璃窗, shuang ceng boli chuang) installed.
And, of course, don't forget to firmly shut your windows!
See listing for B&Q.
4. Upgrade Your Curtains
Draw your curtains at night to keep the cold from entering your room. If your current ones aren't doing the trick, you can buy heavier, custom-made drapes from places like the Shanghai Textile Market. Or search for 窗帘 (chuanglian) at your favorite physical or online home goods store.
See listing for Shanghai Textile Market.
5. Layer Up with Warm Undergarments
Stay cozy by purchasing special thermal clothing. Uniqlo's 'Heat Tech' line is a great start. You can also find thermal underwear, pajamas and more by using the phrase 保暖内衣 (baonuan neiyi, thermal underwear) on Taobao search or at your local shop. Or simply enter the keyword 'thermal' on Baopals to find tops, pajamas, men's/women's wear and more.
6. Purchase Special Heating Comforters
Ikea offers thick comforters as well as special winter thickness duvets. Browse through their online catalog of quilts here.
7. Close Your Doors
Closing the doors into rooms you don’t use allows the heated air to stay in the important rooms. Also, keep the door shut on rooms with particularly poor sealant. If that still doesn't work, put towels at the bottom of your door to stop cold air from seeping under.
8. Wear Fuzzy Slippers
Keep your toes warm with a pair of fuzzy slippers. Look for 棉拖鞋 (mian tuoxie, cotton slippers) online or at your local store, or check out Baopals here.
Alternatively, you can try out this giant electric foot warmer.
9. Keep a Hot Water Bottle Handy
This is another item you can easily find online or at your local supermarket. You’re going to want hot water handy this winter. Search for 电热水杯 (dian re shui bei, electric mugs) or 膳魔师 (shanmoshi, Thermos bottles). See Baopals' selection of Thermos bottles here and electric mugs here.
10. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
If you are able to, get your ceiling fans to spin in a clockwise direction. Energy Star says it will create an updraft and push down the heated air from the ceiling, which will avoid giving you a windchill. The higher your ceilings are, the more helpful this will be. Most ceiling fans can be reversed with the simple switch of a button on the fan.
11. Light Candles
Candles are a great thing to have just in case of a power outage, and as an added bonus can make your place smell great too. You can find them at most home goods stores or simply search for 蜡烛 (lazhu) if you'd rather order them online. Click here to find some on Baopals.
12. Roll Out a Rug
Not only will rugs add some extra flair to your apartment, but they'll also insulate your flat and keep your feet warm, which is especially great if you've got tile or hardwood floors. Look for 地毯 (ditan) online or at your interior goods store of choice, or click here to find rugs and carpets on Baopals.
13. Or Better Yet... Get Heated Mats!
Taobao truly has everything — even giant heated floor mats. Search for 电热地毯 (dianre ditan, 'electric carpets'), or find a selection on Baopals here.
14. Install Heating Lamps
Stepping out of a nice warm shower and into a freezing bathroom with wet hair is no fun. That's where heating lamps can come in handy. Search for 浴霸灯泡 (yuba dengpao, 'Yuba bulbs') on Taobao, or find them on Baopals here. Ask your landlord to hire a repairman to help get them installed.
15. Stock Up on Heating Pads
On Taobao, search for 保暖热贴 (baonuan retie, literally 'thermal heat stickers'), or find some on Baopals here. Most convenience stores — as well as beauty stores such as Watson's — have them in stock.