November Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist

The holidays have arrived, and with them comes the bustle of gift shopping, hosting, and for many, snow. Our November home maintenance checklist will help you with safe turkey preparation, winter weather safety, and home security if you’re going out of town. 

1. Spruce up the kitchen

Practice safe cooking

Before you fire up the range for Thanksgiving, make sure your cooking habits are in good shape. Between 2014 and 2018, the NFPA estimated over 100,000 home fires started from cooking.1 Safe cooking with kids and adults will make your holidays a little brighter. 

Follow a few of these basic guidelines:

  • Keep flammable materials like curtains or rags away from the stove and oven.
  • Don’t leave cooking unattended.
  • Turn off appliances after food is done.
  • Read and follow all cooking instructions.
  • Have a fire extinguisher ready for emergencies.

Check out our guide to Thanksgiving safety to learn more. 

How to cook a turkey safely
  • Clean the oven before cooking.
  • Completely thaw the turkey before cooking.
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure the bird is ready.
  • Let the turkey sit for 20 minutes before serving.2
  • If you’re frying your turkey this Thanksgiving, follow the fryer's safety guidelines to avoid a fire.3

Remove crumbs from the 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. (Plus it will make room for leftovers.)

Clean the 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.

2. Tidy the bedroom

Launder throw pillows and blankets

Give your guests the gift of fresh laundry. Wash the sheets, pillowcases, throw pillows, and blankets in your house. Regular washing keeps icky stuff like dust mites at bay and prevents allergens in your home from building.

Also, 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. After all, fluffing will get you only so far.

Vacuum under the 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.

3. Prep around the house

Check dryer and hoses for lint

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.

Wrap the pipes for winter

If you didn't do it last month, early November is a good time to start preparing. Prevent pipe freezes later in the season by wrapping the pipes in your basement. A water leak detector downstairs can also catch leaks that may happen during the winter.

Polish stair handrail

Pretty much everyone who has ever been in your house has touched this. Everybody. Grossed out yet? Disinfect, polish, repeat.

4. Do a bathroom checkup

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.

Do a deep clean

Obviously, cleaning the bathroom should be a regular chore. But with guests coming and your schedule filling up, now’s the time to really get scrubbing. Deep clean your bathroom by sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming the floors. Use bleach (with gloves) to clean the shower, toilet, sink, and other surfaces.

5. Check CO and smoke detectors 

With all the cooking and activity going on in your house over the holiday, don’t forget to test your smoke detectors and CO detectors. A simple test or fresh batteries can keep your main defense against home fires up and running.

6. Prepare for winter

Get salt

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.

Protect your packages

With so many folks doing their holiday shopping online, porches and front steps will be ripe for poaching porch pirates ready to pilfer packages. This year, consider installing a video doorbell to watch for thieves. 

Video doorbells can also make it easier for receiving guests and talking to visitors at a distance. 

Arm the home security system if you travel

If you’re going out of town this November, be sure to arm your home security system and turn on your security cameras. If you don’t already have the equipment, you can find affordable options to keep your home safe while you’re away: 


After living with the COVID-19 pandemic for months, most of us know the drill. But just in case, here are a few basics for hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year: 

  • Limit your guest list to 10 people. 
  • Ask guests to stay home if they’re sick and limit themselves to public spaces in your home.
  • Seat guests outside if possible or space seating far apart.
  • Sanitize eating utensils and plates or use disposable cutlery and plates. 

With snow and ice covering most of the US during winter, getting behind the wheel this November can be a hazard all its own. Before venturing out this winter, be sure to check your tires and breaks. Check out our guide to safe winter driving for a full list of tips.

We don’t recommend it, but there are ways to mitigate risk while traveling for the holidays this year. If you’re flying, be sure to wear a mask, keep your distance from strangers, and wash your hands regularly through your travels. 

But if your destination is close enough to drive, we recommend hitting the road instead of the runway. 

Related articles


  1. National Fire Protection Association, “Home Cooking Fires,” July 2020. Accessed October 29, 2020. 
  2. Centers for Disease Control, “Food Safety Tips For Your Holiday Turkey,” November 2019. Accessed October 29, 2020. 
  3. United States Fire Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, “Prevent A Turkey Fryer Fire,” Accessed October 29, 2020. 
  4. Centers for Disease Control, “Personal And Social Gatherings,“ October 2020. Accessed October 29, 2020.
Kaz Weida
Written by
Kaz Weida
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.

Recent Articles

Large craftsman style house at twilight with lights on
Best Home Security Systems of 2021
After hundreds of hours of tests and research, plus a combined 50+ years of experience,...
beautiful mountain river scene at sunrise bc canada
The Best Home Security Systems in Canada
Find the best home alarm system to protect your house. We looked at price, features,...
watching camera feed on tablet
Best Wireless Security Systems
Wireless home security systems are more popular than ever. They’re easy to install and hard...
man pointing at smart home control app on a tablet
The Best Smart Home Security Systems
We’ve tested and researched smart home security systems to help you find the right DIY...