The holidays have arrived and with them come guests. Many, many guests. Let’s get your home ready for the influx of family, friends, and fantastic food by focusing on a clean house and an organized kitchen. Snow is also on its way, so hunker down and prepare your property for the storm by tackling the items on this list. Already overwhelmed? Don’t stress. Make time to do the items designated by an owl first, since they’re the highest priority, and leave the rest for after the holiday rush.
Remove Crumbs from Toaster The remnants of hundreds of breakfasts lie at the bottom of your toaster, and those crumbs can pose a serious fire hazard. Most toasters have a trap door that allows you to safely remove crumbs and clean the depository.
Clean Out the Pantry and Refrigerator You’ll spend a lot of time in the kitchen this season, and an organized space can make your holiday cooking that much easier. Throw away expired food and tame that mess in the fridge.
Clean Dishwasher The dishwasher cleans your dishes, but who cleans it? Give your dishwasher a well-deserved scrub to remove detergent grime and buildup both inside and out. Then run it on the “clean” cycle. Your glassware will thank you.
Bedrooms and Living Areas
Launder Throw Pillows and Blankets Fluffing will get you only so far. Give blankets and pillow covers a turn in the washing machine. Some pillows won’t hold up to being fully submerged, so you’ll have to tackle those with a lint roller and a spot cleaner.
Rotate Mattresses How often you should turn your mattress depends on the type of material it’s made of. Refer to this guide and then give it a flip on schedule.
Vacuum Under Bed It’ll be okay. Promise. The only truly scary things under there are dust bunnies. Get some help moving the bed so you can vacuum or sweep underneath. You’ll sleep easier at night.
Check Dryer and Hoses for Lint Buildup You should be emptying the lint trap in the dryer every time you do laundry, but keep in mind that not all the fuzz ends up in the filter. Check the dryer and hoses, and clean any lint buildup to prevent your next load from going up in flames.
Check Water Softener and Add Salt If Needed
If you’ve noticed your water seems to leave spots everywhere, your softener likely needs attention. Add salt only when the reservoir is completely empty.
Wipe Down Cleaning Equipment This may not have occurred to you, but cleaning tools get dirty. Really dirty. Brooms, mops, and vacuums are the workhorses of your house, and they deserve a once-over now and then.
Check for Leaks around Sinks and Toilets While your toilets and pipes might sweat a bit, anything that’s puddling or dripping consistently should be inspected for leaks. The last thing you need is water damage from an unattended gusher.
Run Water and Flush Toilets in Unused Spaces That bathroom no one ever uses? The toilet probably has quite the ring since you last checked it. Make sure everything is still in tip-top shape and give it a flush.
Dust Stair Handrail Pretty much everyone who has ever been in your house has touched this. Everybody. Grossed out yet? Disinfect, polish, repeat.
Upgrade to Snowblower, Replace Broken Snow Shovels Lifting snow is heavy business, so ease your burden by investing in a new snowblower. Not sure which one to buy?
Stock Up on Salt and Sandbags Having salt on hand for icy sidewalks or sandbags for vehicles that need a little extra weight is imperative. Don’t wait until the next storm blows in to stock up.
Put on Snow Tires You’ve been putting it off, but if you live somewhere with frequent snowfall, it’s time to switch your tires before you’re caught on the road in unsafe conditions.
Prepare an Emergency Kit for Home and Car If there’s one rule of the road, it’s that you never known when an emergency will strike, so be prepared with a fully stocked survival kit both in your vehicle and at home.
Want your holiday time off to be hassle-free? Put a task a day on the schedule this month and you’ll be left with a sense of accomplishment by the time November ends
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more