Preparing your home for the holidays as a first-time homeowner is a big deal. It’s your first opportunity to showcase your new home to your friends and family for gatherings and parties. You want to make sure that it’s in tip-top shape not only for a nighttime event but for hosting family for a few days. This includes making sure all the home systems are working, that it’s a comfortable space, and that you have everything you need to be a successful host. If you’re a first-time homeowner getting ready to host for the holidays, here are some of the most important house preparation tasks you should add to your to-do list.
Whether you just bought your house and you’re in the renovation process, or you’ve owned your home for a few months now, there are a few house preparation renovation and repair projects you should consider as you prepare for hosting this holiday season.
As you take on house preparation tasks before hosting for the holidays, ensuring that the HVAC system is working correctly is extremely important. Depending on the climate you live in, issues with your HVAC could leave you and your guests in freezing weather. Before the weather starts to freeze and long before the holidays, you’ll want to work with heating contractors in your area to check over your HVAC system and ensure that it’s ready for winter.
Once you have ensured that your HVAC system is ready to keep you and your guests warm all winter, you will need to perform monthly maintenance to keep it in the best shape possible. This means checking the filters monthly to either replace or clean them out. You can also vacuum out vents to remove dust and dirt that is blocking airflow.
Next on the indoor house preparation list is making sure your home is safe and prepared for you, your family, and any other guests that will be visiting this holiday season. This includes checking on everything from smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to security systems.
As you’ll likely be doing a lot of cooking in your kitchen and maybe burning candles more during the holiday season, it’s extremely important that you take a few vital steps to keep your house safe in case of any accidents with fire. The first and simplest step is to check on all of your smoke detectors. Make sure they’re working and that they have new batteries. If you are doing renovations in your home, you may consider having fire sprinklers installed in certain areas. Talk with a fire sprinkler designer to learn what would work best for your home. You should also make sure to have a working fire extinguisher and teach your family and guests where they can find it in case of an emergency.
Next you want to make sure your carbon monoxide monitors are working. Over 400 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning and over 50,000 people visit the hospital for treatment. Simply making sure your monitors are working and that the batteries have been replaced when necessary will help you to avoid this emergency situation.
Another house preparation step you can take for security is installing a security system before the holiday season rolls in. With more packages and items being delivered to homes, it’s more likely that people will be out looking to steal from your doorstep. Thieves are also more prone to breaking into homes when they know there are more valuable items they can get, such as around the holiday season. Install a good security system that not only gives you camera access but will also sound an alarm if anyone enters your home that shouldn’t be there.
Another way to make sure your home is more secure is to double-check that all of the locks on your doors and windows are working correctly. You may consider replacing old doors that have weaker locks. You may even consider installing screens on some of your doors to keep out pests and add another level of security. There are even garage door screens you can use to keep pests out of your garage and add some extra security against thieves.
Typical homeowners plan to spend around $10,000 on home renovations, and a large majority of that is generally used for renovating kitchens. Going into the holiday season, your kitchen will be the highest traffic room in your house. With all of the cooking, baking, and gathering, your kitchen will need to be prepared for all you need to accomplish there. That’s why a kitchen renovation is one of the most important steps on your house preparation list.
You don’t have to do an entire renovation to get great results from your kitchen. Even replacing a few items can make your kitchen space much more usable and up to date. If you don’t have good appliances, now is the time to consider replacing them. A stove/oven is the number one most important appliance in your kitchen and if it’s unreliable you will have a lot of unnecessary stress while hosting and preparing for the holidays. You also want to make sure you have a fridge that is large enough to hold all of those delicious leftovers. Before it’s time to start hosting, make sure you check out your appliances and either get them serviced or replaced so you know they’ll be ready for all of the food you’ll be making this holiday season.
With more guests in your home comes more use of the plumbing. You want to make sure well before the holiday season that your plumbing system is ready to hold up to the extra work it will be put through. Make sure to get a plumber out to your property to ensure that there are no issues with your system and even to flush your pipes to make sure they’re well-prepared. You may also have them perform storage tank inspections to make sure there are no leaks or problems with underground storage tanks you have. The last thing you want to deal with while hosting is a leak or plumbing issues.
While you will likely be spending most of your time indoors with your family and friends during your holiday hosting, you shouldn’t skip out on renovating and repairing the exterior of your home. The exterior is in fact what your family and friends will see first when they come to your home, so you want to make sure it’s as impressive and beautiful as possible.
Winter is the pool closing season. If you have a pool on your property, there are a few things you will want to do to prepare it for the cooler holiday season.
- Before you close your pool, make sure the chemicals in the water are balanced. Improper levels can lead to corrosion of your pool walls or scale buildup.
- Add winterizing chemicals one the general levels are correct.
- Remove accessories from the pool and the deck, including stairs, slides, pool toys, and chairs.
- Clean out the filter and pump basket.
- Place a cover over your pool that seals tight to prevent animals, bugs, liquids, or dirt getting in.
You should also make sure to install a security fence around the perimeter of your pool to keep young children and animals safe.
Another important house preparation step you’ll want to take to improve the exterior of your home is working on landscaping. While winter isn’t the time to start planting flowers and shrubs, you can still do a lot to make sure your property looks clean and taken care of.
You’ll want to start with trimming back your trees and shrubs. With all the leaves falling from your trees, you will be able to more clearly see branches that can be dangerous to the safety of your home. Hire a tree service team to come to trim back any branches that hang over your home or driveway. You should also trim back shrubs to help them prepare for better growth when spring rolls around.
If you live in a snowy area, you will also want to make sure you have snow removal covered before guests come to visit. You can hire a local company to make sure your driveway and walkways are always shoveled or plowed. You may also want to sprinkle salt on steps and walkways to keep people from slipping. Make sure the snow doesn’t end up piled over your walkways or blocking any part of your driveway.
Most exciting of all is decorating in preparation for hosting this holiday season. While everyone has their own styles and preferences for decorations, there are a few general house preparation tips in regards to decorating that every homeowner can use for their own home.
Cleaning may not be considered a form of decorating by many, but can you imagine decorating your home while it’s covered in clutter and dirt? Cleaning is one of the first things you need to do as you prepare your home for holiday hosting.
The first thing you should do is declutter your spaces. If you are going to have friends or family staying in your guest rooms, make sure to clear out any stored items or clutter in the closet or drawers where they may be storing their possessions. Dejunking and decluttering your home will help you to start fresh as you prepare to decorate your home for the holidays.
Next make sure to give your rooms a deep clean. You likely won’t be cleaning while guests are visiting, so one big, deep clean will help them to be prepared for the extra visitors and traffic. You’ll especially want to focus on the bathroom and kitchen. Those rooms can get dirty quickly and will need to be prepared.
While you won’t be able to seriously clean while people are visiting, don’t fall behind on the little things you can be doing, such as laundry or dishes. If those start to pile up, it becomes a much bigger project to get them done.
A big part of house preparation for hosting during the holidays is making sure you have all of the supplies you need. This might mean working with a chair rentals company to make sure you’ve got seating for everyone. This could also mean stocking up on bulk serving dishes. It’s better to have more of some things than to find out too late that you don’t have enough. You may also consider asking visitors to bring items such as napkins, paper plates, or plastic cutlery to make sure there is enough for everyone.
If you’re going to be hosting a much larger group, you may want to contact some local party companies in your area for extra bulk items. Make sure to do this well before the holidays as contacting them too late will mean you could be left with nothing. Stock up on basics such as ice for parties, drinks, non-perishable snacks, and anything else you can get earlier. As the time comes closer, you can then stock up on perishable food items.
House preparation for holiday hosting is no joke. There is a lot that goes into it, especially if you’re a first-time homeowner or first-time host. But as long as you follow these tips, and give yourself plenty of time to prepare, you will be well on your way to successfully hosting your family and friends for the holidays.