To-Dos: Your January Home Checklist
Protect your home from harsh winter weather and get a jump-start on your top projects for the year
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January may be cold and dark, but it can also be a time for bold beginnings. Make the most of your month by clearing space in your home, boosting warmth and dreaming up plans for the year ahead. Here are 13 to-dos to give your home a little midwinter TLC.
Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. With more heater use and wood fires in the fireplace, it is especially important during winter to make sure those smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Use the test button on each device, and change batteries as needed.
When bad weather has you stuck indoors and you’re looking for an alternative to screen time, board games and cards are a crowd-pleaser. Pull out everything you’ve got and check that each set has all of the pieces. Put games your family no longer enjoys aside to give away, and put the rest back neatly.
Stay toasty warm with plush, thick socks, cozy hats, scarves and gloves or mittens. Sort through your sock drawer, entryway baskets and hooks and anywhere else cold-weather accessories are hiding, and take stock of what you have. Replenish as needed.
Protect pipes from freezing. Why? Because frozen pipes can burst, leading to costly repairs. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to insulate any exposed outdoor pipes. And if you’re planning to be away from home, ask a friend or neighbor to turn on your water to a trickle. Also, find out where your home’s water shut-off valve is so you can cut off the water quickly if a pipe does burst — and be sure to show your house sitter where it is.
Entice little ones stuck indoors to creative play and cut down on cries of “I’m bored!” Try adding a chalkboard or whiteboard wall, a play tent ortepee
, an area for messy art, a “stage” for acting or a tumbling mat.
If your house gets very dry in the winter with the heater on, you may need to add humidity to the air around some plants, especially citrus trees and ferns. You can use a humidifier or simply spritz them with plain water occasionally.
Make a fresh start with the new year and clear out the clutter. If dealing with the whole house feels overwhelming, focus on just a few categories of items, such as clothes, books and children’s toys.
Remove everything from the pantry, toss out stale and expired foods and wipe down the shelves before putting everything back.
Clean out the fridge and freezer, and clear off countertops. Let the refreshed space motivate you to stick with your health resolutions for the new year.
Heavy coatings of snow can cause tree limbs to break — which can be especially dangerous if a large limb is positioned near your home. Using a long-handled broom or rake, gently knock snow from branches after each storm.
Take down holiday decorations, and store them well. When you’re ready to put away the holiday decorations, take the time to do it with care (you’ll thank yourself later). Wrap delicate ornaments in tissue paper, and wrap string lights around cardboard to prevent tangling. Consider giving away ornaments that didn’t make it onto the tree this year, and repair or toss broken items. And if you’re not ready to say goodbye to the white twinkle lights quite yet, leave them up. We can all use a little extra cheer in the middle of winter.
In winter, it’s natural to want to spend extra time at home, just relaxing. Make yourself a haven for snuggling up to watch a movie or read. Layer on warming textiles, pour some hot tea or make cocoa, and settle in.
Take steps to prevent ice dams. Ice dams are areas of built-up ice that can accumulate around your roof line, causing leaks when the backed-up snow behind them begins to melt. Using a roof rake, remove snow after each storm. And, if you notice an ice dam beginning to form (and if you can safely reach the area), break it up now to prevent future damage.