Get a jump on preparing your house for the holidays so you can relax and enjoy the season’s simple pleasures!
With Thanksgiving approaching and the winter holidays just around the corner, there’s a lot to look forward to (and prepare for) at this time of year. Batten down the hatches for winter weather and get a jump on holiday hosting prep, so you can relax and savor the many simple pleasures of the season, like big family dinners and walks in the crisp air outdoors.
Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less
1. Replace floor protectors on chairs.
Don’t let dining chairs do damage to your hardwood floors: Check their feet and add or replace floor-protecting pads if needed. Felt pads come in self-adhesive and nail-in varieties; if you’re using the self-adhesive type, be sure to clean the base of each chair foot thoroughly and allow it to dry before applying.
2. Examine the sump pump.
If you have a sump pump in your basement as protection in case of flooding, make sure it is working properly before the rainy season really gets going, and then repair or replace it if needed.
3. Check paths, stairs, and railings for safety.
Slips and falls on ice and snow can happen anywhere, but they’re even more likely if the footing is uneven or a railing isn’t sturdy. Take a walk around your home’s exterior, paying special attention to walkways, stairs, and railings, and make repairs as needed.
4. Show some kindness to feathered friends.
Nonmigrating birds can use extra help when wild food becomes scarce and water sources freeze. Stock up now on birdseed so you can keep those feeders full, and consider providing a water source as well — refresh it daily to prevent mosquitoes.
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend
5. Get a jump on holiday prep.
If you plan to host this holiday season, take a bit of time now to prepare a few things in advance. Launder and iron the fancy linens (roll-up freshly ironed linens on old wrapping paper tubes to prevent wrinkles), drop off the kitchen knives for a professional sharpening or polish some silver — you’ll thank yourself later.
6. Deep-clean bathrooms.
Aim to schedule a deep cleaning of the bathrooms a week before entertaining so a quick surface wipe-down will be all you’ll need to get things looking spotless again on the big day. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, goodness knows there are plenty of other things to worry about — like how you’re going to fit a turkey and five side dishes in the oven!
7. Check bathtub caulk and repair it if needed.
While cleaning the bathroom, notice the condition of the caulk around the tub. Cracked or worn-out caulk can allow water to seep into your home’s framing. If you spot a problem area, get it replaced as soon as possible.
8. Inspect the home’s exterior, and then cover gaps.
Cover any gaps you find around the exterior of your home that may be large enough for a mouse to enter — it doesn’t take much space for these little critters to sneak in. Cover exterior vents with hardware cloth, and attach door sweeps to the bottoms of exterior doors to stop furry creatures from squeezing in when the weather turns chilly.
9. Remove the last of the fall leaves.
Aim to fit in one final raking and gutter-cleaning session once the last leaves have fallen — but before the first snow.
Maintenance and Extras to Budget For This Month
10. Fix plumbing issues before the holiday crunch.
Have a slow drain, stuck garbage disposal or finicky toilet? Don’t wait until the busy holiday season, when a full house will put more pressure on your drains and when it may be harder to find a plumber who’s available. Fix it now.
11. Force bulbs indoors.
Potted bulbs make a lovely, thoughtful gift, and if you’re potting them for yourself, it’s easy enough to make a bunch to give away throughout the holiday season.
12. Stock up for winter. If you live in a region with cold, snowy winters, taking the time now to stock up on winter gear and supplies will mean less stress when that first big storm hits.
Check snow shovels and ice scrapers; replace as needed.
If you use a fireplace or woodstove, order firewood.
Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt.
Restock emergency kits for your cars and home.
If you use a snowblower, have it serviced and purchase fuel.
If your home has an emergency power generator, review safety standards (the American Red Cross has helpful tips) and check that it’s working properly
Tell us: What’s on your to-do list this November?