Except for one glorious summer of apartment dwelling, I’ve never lived anyplace with a central air system. I didn’t even have a window air-conditioning unit until after I was married.
I spent my childhood summers sweltering. The downstairs windows of our home didn’t open, and my second-story bedroom was cooled by one small fan.
In fact, I remember sneaking down to the freezer at night for ice cubes to run across my forehead in hopes I would cool off enough to fall asleep.
The heat can make you resort to all sorts of tactics to keep cool. If you’re feeling desperate for relief, try one of these sometimes strange — but effective — methods.
1. Take an icy foot bath
The fastest way to start shivering in 90-degree heat may be to dip your toes in freezing cold water. Fill a bowl with cool water and dip your little piggies right in.
Add some ice if you’re brave, but don’t overdo it. Quickly immersing your feet in ice-cold water can be painful — although I suppose it would take your mind off the heat.
2. Wear some cooling clothes
To turn down the heat a notch and look fabulous at the same time, you can buy a whole range of clothing products that claim to keep you cool in the heat of the day.
My favorite by far is this lime-green evaporative cooling vest. I’m so putting that on my birthday wish list.
3. Freeze your sheets
You don’t need specialized sheets to stay cool at night. Simply throw the ones you have in the freezer for a couple of hours before bedtime. Then, pull them out, put them on the bed, and enjoy the cool.
Just fall asleep quickly, because on an 80-degree night it probably won’t take long for the sheets to lose their chill.
Of course, it might become a bit inconvenient to remake your whole bed each night. So maybe try this strategy with just your pillowcase and a top sheet.
4. Go underground
Head down to the basement on those scorching hot days. Our basement stays so chilly that we sometimes use blankets down there in the summer.
Some people may balk at this idea if their basement is unfinished. However, don’t let that stop you. Simply clean out a corner and set up a chair or maybe a desk. Personally, I would rather smell mustiness than melt into the floor upstairs.
5. Live underground
Are you ready to get extreme? Then consider buying or building an underground home. Sure, you might not get much sunlight, but that’s a small trade-off to have your very own naturally cool hobbit house.
Often called earth homes, underground dwellings give you the same cooler air as a basement without making you feel banished from your main living quarters.
If you’re ready to get drastic, do a web search for “earth homes” or “underground homes” for inspiration.
For some less drastic but still effective tips, check out “12 Ways to Lower Your Cooling Costs This Summer.”