- With those in cold climates preparing for snow, plus holidays and social gatherings everywhere you turn, December is a notoriously busy month. But with a little preparation, you can savor the best of the season. Check off these tasks for a less hectic, more harmonious month.
- Get ready for winter storms. Check the condition of your snow shovels, gloves and window scrapers, and replace as needed. Store snowy weather supplies near the door where you can access them easily in a storm, and mark the sides of your driveway and other key places with reflective poles, to help the snowplowers see where to go. And even if it doesn’t snow where you live, keeping the pantry stocked with food, bottled water, candles and flashlights in case of power outages is always a good idea.
- Disconnect hoses. If it freezes in winter where you live, now is the time to shut off the water supply to your outdoor faucets. After shutting off the water, turn on the faucets outside to allow any water left to drain out. Then disconnect garden hoses, drain the water and roll them up to store indoors until spring.
- Update your emergency kit. Be prepared for power outages and other emergencies by making sure your house and car are outfitted with well-stocked emergency kits. The basics include bottled water, a hand-crank radio, a flashlight with extra batteries, a cellphone charger (crank or battery-powered is best), food, blankets and a first-aid kit. At home, keep your most essential documents in one easily accessible place.
- Spruce up indoor play areas. If you have kids at home, harsh winter weather can mean more playtime indoors. Stave off the cries of “I’m bored!” with a spruced-up playspace. A bit of reorganizing and a few simple purchases (like a giant roll of paper and fresh markers) can make the same-old space feel like new.
- Refresh the guest room. Be ready for overnight guests this holiday season by prepping your guest room in advance. Make the bed with fresh sheets, replace lightbulbs as needed, vacuum and dust — it’s amazing how many dust bunnies can congregate in an infrequently used space like the guest room.
- Block drafts. If you feel a draft, don’t just reach for another throw — apply weatherstripping to the drafty area to warm up your house and save on your energy bill. If the cold air is getting in under a door, what you need is a door sweep. Usually made from hard plastic, a door sweep attaches to the bottom of your door, sealing off the gap that lets in cold air.
- Plan for holiday home safety. A few simple precautions — such as illuminating the area around your house, locking doors and windows, and trimming bushes — can go a long way toward keeping your home safe. And with night falling earlier this month, and many people headed out of town, it pays to be extra safety-conscious, whether or not you are going anywhere.