Get a jump on preparing your house for the holidays so you can relax and enjoy the season’s simple pleasures.
With Christmas approaching and the winter holidays around the corner, there are things to look forward to and prepare for this time of year — even with the adjustments we are having to make because of the pandemic. Batten down the hatches for winter and get a jump on holiday prep, so you can relax and savor the pleasures of the season, like family dinners and walks in the crisp outdoors.
Things to Check Off In An Hour Or Less
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.
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.
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.
Show Some Kindness To Feathered Friends
Non-migrating 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
Get A Jump On Holiday Prep
If you plan to have a special holiday, 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.
Aim to schedule a deep cleaning of the bathrooms so a quick surface wipe-down will be all you’ll need to get things looking spotless again during the holidays.
Check Bathtub Caulk And Repair 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.
Inspect House Exterior And 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.
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
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 it may be harder to find a plumber who’s available. Fix it now.
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.
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 wood stove, order firewood.
◦ Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt.
◦ Restock emergency kits for car and home.
◦ If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel.
◦ If your home has an emergency power generator, review safety standards and check that it’s working properly.