December is a busy month — with holiday decorating, food prep and celebrations taking over the schedule. So go ahead and give yourself the gift of a lighter load of chores around the house. Here’s a suggested to-do list that will get you ready for family festivities and the potential for harsh winter weather but won’t dampen the joy of the season.
- While setting up holiday decor, take a moment to inventory what you’ve stored from past years. Declutter and donate those items that never seem to make it out of the boxes. Dispose of anything that is in poor condition. Consider replacing old light strands with energy-efficient LEDs. Finally, make a detailed list of anything you need to purchase. Bonus tip: Once your decorations are in place, snap a few pictures so next year’s installation is quick and easy.
- If overnight guests or a night of entertainment is on your agenda, do a thorough cleaning of the guest room and common areas that holiday guests will use, including the kitchen, family room and bathrooms.
- In preparation for potential winter illnesses, check your medicine cabinet. Take out-of-date items to a medicine drop-off station. These are typically sponsored by local police stations and national drugstore chains. Make a shopping list of medicines that need to be replaced.
- Schedule a date with a chimney sweep. Cleaning the chimney is an essential fire-prevention measure for both gas and wood fireplaces. Also, consider installing a chimney cap to prevent birds and squirrels from entering the chimney.
- Disconnect garden hoses from outdoor faucets to prevent them from freezing and bursting. Drain hoses and store them for next spring.
- Check your snow shovels, ice scrapers, and other snow-removal tools. Replace or repair as necessary. Be sure to have a bag of de-icing rock salt on hand because stores will run out when a storm hits. Go ahead and inventory your winter gear as well, making sure everyone in the family has gloves, boots and winter coats that are in good condition and fit properly.
- Give yourself permission to snuggle under a cozy blanket with a warm beverage and enjoy the season.