With the days growing shorter (and chillier) and holidays coming just around the corner, November is bound to fill up fast with necessary preparations for winter and the holiday festivities. Stay on track during this busy time by checking these to-dos off your list, and you can greet the turn of the seasons with calm.
Do a winter safety check.
Remove the last leaves.
Make a strategy for the holidays. Whether you’re hosting, visiting or traveling, having a plan in place will help things go more smoothly. Hosts can tackle some tasks in advance to relieve last-minute pressure. If you’re traveling, book your pet sitter or house sitter, buy plane tickets, and boost security around your home (adding a few motion-sensing outdoor lights would be a good start).
Ready rooms for guests. If you plan on hosting overnight visitors during the holidays, check that you have the necessities:
Beef up entryway storage. Do you have enough hooks and bins to handle your coats, mittens, scarves and hats
Deep clean the kitchen. Start all that holiday cooking and baking on the right foot by giving the kitchen a thorough scouring. Degrease the range hood and clean the filter, dust open shelving and light fixtures, wash windows, and scrub appliances big and small.
Think of your furry friends. As temperatures drop and days get shorter, being outdoors becomes more dangerous for cats and dogs. If the weather is very cold, The Humane Society recommends taking your dog out for frequent walks and exercise (small dogs may be more comfortable wearing a sweater), but allowing them to stay inside the rest of the time. If dogs must stay outside, be sure to provide a warm shelter. If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, think about keeping kitty inside for the winter — if you’re worried your pet will get bored, you can always make a cat playground!
Clean carpets. Take large and delicate area rugs out for professional cleaning, and launder small, washable rugs at home. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, hire a carpet cleaner or rent a steamer and clean the carpeting yourself.
Schedule heating-system maintenance. Make sure the winter months will be as toasty and cozy as possible in your home by keeping up with the regular maintenance and cleaning of the boiler or heaters.
Give back. The holiday season can be especially trying for people in our communities facing homelessness and other challenges. Consider donating goods, time or other resources to a local food pantry, family shelter or seasonal program like Toys for Tots. No matter where you choose to give, it’s always helpful to contact the organization first to see if there are particular items it especially needs.