Before the holidays arrive, make sure your home and family are ready. Things may be different this year and gatherings may be smaller, or even entirely online, but many of the preparations remain the same.
Whether people are coming to your home or you’re keeping socially distanced, this can be a good time to take stock of your home and do some clean up and repair. Even if the family isn’t visiting, these are still practices that will aid you in the long run and build good habits.
Preparing your home before the holidays is about a lot more than just vacuuming the carpet. Many aspects of your home can use a bit of freshening up to ensure your house is welcoming and comfortable for everyone.
Here are six ways you can prepare your home before the holidays.
1. Check Your Appliances
Your appliance will be under heavy additional stress during the holidays. If you aren’t sure if they are all up to the task, now, before the holidays, is the time to find that out for sure.
For example, you will certainly need to use your stove more than you usually do. If you are cooking things like turkeys, it may have to run for far, far longer than it normally would in an ordinary week. That’s why you need to ensure it can do so without some problem occurring.
If your stove were to break it could disrupt your entire dinner. The same goes for things like your refrigerator and dishwasher.
Plenty of us have refrigerators that aren’t quite sealed right. It is good to remedy that before the holidays rather than when you are going in and out of your fridge a lot and putting even more stress on it. Those little leaks can add up around the holiday season.Your dishwasher may well be your lifeline during the holidays. That’s why should take care of it now, before you are loading it up multiple times to deal with large family meals. If you need dishwasher repair services, it’s better to get those before the holidays rather than during or after.
However, it isn’t just malfunctions you should look out for. You can also give your appliances a thorough cleaning before the holidays. This is not simply cosmetic. A stove or dish washer that is cleaned is less likely to have problems. When it comes to a dish washer, water can easily build up if you’re neglecting it. Cleaning it out can prevent larger problems that could be an unwelcome surprise after the holidays.
2. Check the Heating and Cooling While You’re at It
While you are checking your appliances, you may as well also check your heating and cooling systems. One thing you definitely want for holiday gatherings is to be able to control the temperature in your home. Even if it is just your immediate family, holidays are a time to get cozy at home.
Despite the cold temperatures, if you are planning on having guests over and ovens running all day, it could get quite warm in your home. So you shouldn’t only think about your heat. Air conditioner repair could also be a concern if you aren’t sure whether your system is working well and up to the task.
Depending on where you live, it may even still be warm, so adding guests can make the heat inside your house really spike. Ensure you can cool things off if the need arises.
Of course, for many of us, residential heating is a larger concern around this time of the year. Many parts of the country are extremely cold right now, and may well get even colder by the time holiday celebrations roll around.
If you have been using your heating system already, you may feel confident that it is ready for the holidays. However, if you have been holding off on cranking up the heat, now is a good time to give it a test run so that you can spot potential trouble before the holidays.
3. Clean Up the Yard
Those are two big jobs to take care of before the holidays inside your home, but what about the outdoors? Those are going to be just as important.
Even if it is cold and raining or snowing where you live, you still shouldn’t neglect your yard. This is the time of year when many of us see our yard fill up with leaves. They are beautiful, but they can still lead to problems if we don’t clean them up.
Leaves that are not raked up and disposed off can create compost piles that attract pests. They may even lead to bald spots on the lawn where grass has a harder time growing. Don’t let this one go on too long. Take care of those pesky leaves before the holidays roll around.
If you do wait too long, you could be looking at needing revegetation service come next spring. You don’t want to discover unsightly bald patches on your lawn because of last year’s negligence.
It isn’t just about maintenance, though. You can also wow friends and family by doing some landscaping before the holidays arrive. You might clean up your lawn one last time while the weather is OK. Or perhaps you could do a bit of trimming and pruning to clean things up before winter settles in.
If you are feeling inspired, you might get more creative with your lawn. Investing in some landscape design supplies fencing, pruners, and power tools can give your whole home a dramatic makeover.
You might fear that with conditions this year no one will get to see your hard work, but a digital tour of your yard and some family photos outside can both show off your landscaping and give friends and family a peek at your home. Get creative with those photos this year if you aren’t going to be able to see family and friends in person. They could brighten someone’s holidays even more.
4. Don’t Forget the Windows and Doors
Your windows and doors are some of the first things guests will see when they visit you for the holidays. Even if you’re doing your gatherings online, windows could be a key component.
This can be a great time of year for window cleaning. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always hire a professional to get the job done for you.
No matter how you plan to do it, cleaning your windows is an essential task to prepare your home before the holidays. It isn’t just about wiping down the glass, though. This is a great time of year to also check whether doors and windows are drafty or need to be re-sealed.
As the weather gets colder and colder, we tend to have to spend more on heating our homes. A part of this is due to drafty windows and doors. When air can get in and out, you will have a harder time controlling the temperature of your home and spend more money doing it.
Fortunately, there are some simple solutions for this time of problem, including things like caulk, foam, and weather stripping. Caulk and weather stripping are pretty simple and shouldn’t take you much time at all, even though they can dramatically improve how well your home keeps heat in. Foam is a little more complicated, as you will need to take apart the frame, put in the foam and then reassemble. However, it is still an achievable project for many homeowners.
These considerations get more complicated if people are actually coming to your house for the holidays. When doors open and close many times, that in and of itself can cause a lot of heat leakage. You might need to be vigilant about guests going in and out a lot. Also make sure people close doors securely after coming in, as a door left open even a tiny crack can make a lot of cold air sneaking in.
5. Consider the Driveway and Garage
Before anyone reaches your door, however, they will reach your driveway and garage. That’s why these are also good areas to consider when making your preparations before the holidays.
If your driveway has weathered a few winters, it might be looking rough right now. During the winter, water can seep into the pavement. When that moisture freezes, it expands, causing cracks and damage you might not notice until spring and summer. Over time, this damage can mean a driveway that is a potential hazard for your guests’ vehicles.
Consider getting asphalt paving to patch up these sorts of holes. Asphalt actually lasts longer than a lot of other types of paving materials for driveways. That can make it a great option if you are looking for a long-term solution to issues with your driveway.
It’s easy to think only about the driveway, but spare a thought for your garage as well during this time. Even if you are the only one who will be using your garage, you should still give it a thought while doing preparations before the holidays.
As with your driveway, your garage can weather some of the worst winter has to offer. That can lead to damage like cracking. Even just a quick coat of paint can do wonders for your garage door and help seal it against the weather.
Also make sure the electronics are working, however. If you have a garage door opener, make sure it still functions well. Residential garage door openers do eventually need to be replaced so if you haven’t used yours in a while give it a test run before you need to rely on it during the holidays.
6. Make Sure Everyone Gets There and Back Safely
The holidays are a time for togetherness and celebration. Sometimes, however, life intercedes.
While speeding is involved in about a third of car accidents, alcohol is also a contributing factor in many accidents. The last thing you want is for a loved one to get hurt going home from your gathering because of alcohol consumed at your event. Do what you can to ensure everything is being responsible.
No one wants to need a DUI or OVI attorney during the holidays, but if someone has a little too much eggnog then tries to drive home, they may need this sort of legal assistance. Even if they feel safe, it is never worth the risk to drive while intoxicated. Lawyers can help make the best out of that kind of situation, so reach out for legal assistance if the occasion arises.
The holidays can also be a time of transformation, however. Perhaps this is the year to gift a loved one alcohol addiction rehab and help change their life permanently if they are having a hard time and need a little assistance. There is no shame in needing help and the holidays are a great time to reach out and show that you care.
Have a Happy Holiday Season
Whether you plan to celebrate in person or through some alternative means, make sure your holiday season is a happy one by preparing your home before. Even if you are keeping distanced for safety, you can still ensure your home is warm, comfortable, and welcoming. You might even set up a holiday display or background for your calls with family and friends. This can make the holidays feel brighter during a hard year.
Get creative with how you celebrate this year. You could turn the chore of landscaping into an opportunity for an epic family photo that you put on holiday cards. Or this might be the year you decide to tackle that bit of home repair you’ve been putting off because you’ve been too busy with other things. You might even take on a project you haven’t considered at all until this year. Now is the time to tackle something new and see how resourceful you can be.
No matter how you plan to celebrate, get your home ready before the holidays with these simple tips and have a fun and bright holiday season.