January is the time for bold beginnings in all aspects of our lives. January is the time to apply bold beginnings to our homes as well. Here is a list of to-do’s to check off for your house courtesy of Houzz, an online community about architecture, interior design and home improvement.

  1. Check your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. This is REALLY important in January because we’re using more heat and have more fires in our fireplaces. Use the test button on each device and change the batteries as needed.
  2. Organize your board games as an alternative from screen time for family/friends time.
  3. Organize all cold weather accessories…plush socks, hats, gloves, scarves, etc…. and make sure they’re all available in spots where people will see and use them.
  4. Protect your pipes by insulating them. Know where your home’s water shutoff valve is. And make sure your children and caretakers know where the shutoff valve is.
  5. If/when you’re out of town unexpectedly, ask neighbor/friend to turn on your kitchen sink water faucet to a trickle.
  6. Replenish your indoor play spaces.
    1. Add a chalkboard or whiteboard wall so kids can draw.
    2. Add a tent or tepee.
    3. Keep an area for “messy/ art.
    4. Set up some kind of stage for acting.
    5. Add a tumbling mat.
  7. Spray a little humidity around plants, especially ferns and citrus trees.
  8. Clean out clutter in your wardrobe and donate what you no longer use/need to an organization that serves people who do need/use your clothing, coats, hats and shoes.
  9. Clean out the kitchen, pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Toss out stale and expired foods. Wipe down the shelving before restocking.
  10. Gently knock heavy snow from tree limbs and branches with a long-handled broom/rake.
  11. Chip away ice dams that accumulate around the rooflines. If you don’t, that ice and snow could cause leaks when the ice and snow melt on their own.
  12. Take down your holiday decorations and store them well.
    1. Carefully wrap the decorations separately in tissue paper.
    2. Wrap the string lights around some cardboard to help prevent tangles.
    3. Repair/toss whatever needs fixing or is broken. Don’t just wrap it up now in hopes of repairing it later.

Lastly, as you’re looking around, cleaning and fixing things inside your house, begin thinking about whatever repairs, additions and/or renovations you’d like to do/have done when spring and summer roll around. Make a list. Prioritize the projects on that list. Begin talking with contractors, architects (if necessary), specialty workers/craftspeople. You’ll have less competition for their time and they’ll have more time to talk with you during the winter.