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Home Preparation Checklist for the Holidays

The holidays are coming upon us. There will be turkey, mistletoe, and sparkling champagne. With all the holiday cheer, make sure your home is prepared for the influx of the holiday celebrations. It’s a good idea to safety check the home, inspect appliances and keep in mind some general prep work that will make your life much easier once the festivities begin.

Safety Check

Fall Hazards

Inspect your outside walkways for fall hazards and repair holes and uneven joints. Fix any loose treads on steps, deck boards, and pavers. Use sand or a deicer to prevent your steps and walkways from being a dangerous ice hazard. Check all outdoor lighting to make sure it adequately lights up the outdoor walkways when it gets dark. Inspect indoor stair handrails and check to see?whether hallways and rooms have any obstacles to safe movement.

Smoke/CO Detectors

Replace batteries in the detectors and test them to see if they are working properly. Read about additional detector testing tips from our blog Fall Is Here, Are You Ready for Winter.

First Aid Kit

Make sure you have at least one first aid kit in the home and that is has burn cream, bandages, and ice packs readily available. The American Red Cross has some great suggestions for the Anatomy of a First Aid Kit.

Fire Extinguisher

Every home should have a least one fire extinguisher. To determine how many extinguishers you should have, take into account the size of your home and if your home is multi-level. Place at least one fire extinguisher on every level. Most home fires occur in the kitchen, so have an extinguisher placed in the kitchen. When choosing which type of extinguisher to have, get a dry chemical fire extinguisher rather than a water-based one. Dry chemical extinguishers are more effective and more safe in smothering electrical or grease fires.


If you don’t have children or haven’t had young children in the home for a while, it’s easy to forget the importance of child-proofing to prepare for your holiday visitors. The basics are covering electrical outlets, moving objects away from table edges, locking or stowing away potential poisons like cleaning products, medications, etc., looking for sharp or dangerous items within reach or potential tempting items a child would put in their mouth, and blocking stairway access to prevent fall hazards.

Inspect Appliances


Inspect the dishwasher for utensils, bits of plastic or glass at the bottom of the dishwasher tub and remove the trap (that is in most dishwashers) to clean it. Wipe away mold, slime, hard water deposits, and detergent residue, from the spray holes, the door gasket, around the rim of the door, the arm latch, etc.? Always use a rinse agent to keep dishes cleaner. Also, periodically pour a cup of vinegar in the dishwasher before starting the wash cycle; vinegar prevents mineral deposits and will help it to work better.


Clear blocked vents in the fresh food area and in the freezer area to insure airflow. Replace all burned out refrigerator appliance lights. Clean the doors seals and test for a loose seal by placing a dollar-bill in the closed refrigerator door with the bill half in and half out. You?ll need to have seals replaced if the bills slips out easily. Clean the refrigerator coils (usually located in the back) and free them of dust so it can run more efficiently. You can use your vacuum brush attachment to clean the coils. Keep the fridge between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees.


You don’t want to overcook or undercook your holiday food. So, check to see that the oven temperature is working properly by using an oven thermometer. There are battery-powered infrared thermometers that use laser to measure temperatures. You can utilize this not only on the oven appliance, but to also inspect other heating and cooling equipment in the home.


Clean the drip opening with a soft cloth, warm water and dish detergent to get the residue off of it. Unplug the appliance before you clean it. It might take several tries before you get it completely clean.


Not doubt, the microwave will get used a lot during the holidays. Prepare it for the beating by making sure the air vents are clear of grease and dust. You can use a spray degreaser or ammoniated glass cleaner. Also, make sure the interior is cleaned and food is not allowed to fester in it. Food particles and splatters absorb some of the microwaves energy. Food particles can also cause burns and other damage to the microwave.

General Preparation


Obviously, the toilet gets more use with holiday guests in the home. So, checking it for potential disasters is a must. Check the flushing action and replace the flapper valve or entire flush mechanism if necessary. If you find that the toilet rocks slightly, try tightening its mounting bolts. Click here for more tips on how to improve toilet performance.

Vacuum Cleaner

Replace bag or empty the canister. Clean the vacuum brushes and remove debris. Place the vacuum in an easy to get to area.


Take the time to free your kitchen cabinets from clutter and locate needed holiday cooking utensils and cookware. Also, the cabinet doors will open and close much more efficiently if you take the time to tighten loose cabinet hinges, tighten the screws that mount to the door and to the cabinet wall, and tighten loose drawers, door pulls and drawer slides.