Print and Save Our To-Do List for November and December

Everything you need to do around the house and in the yard.

photography by Getty

The Checklist

Everything you need to do around the house and in the yard.

Home

Check your water heater. The winter weather means it has to work harder. Look at the exterior casing to see if any moisture or rust has formed, says Mark Wissler of Dallas Plumbing Company. It could indicate an internal leak. Discoloration of your hot water is also an indication that the heater is about to go out, so call the plumber.

Wrap it up. Master the art of bow making and create picture-perfect packages, with the help of The Container Store. Stop in for Gift Wrap and Bow Demonstrations (every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.) from Nov. 11 to Dec. 23.

Protect your pipes. For faucets with a cutoff valve on the ground, simply turn it off and drain. If there is no cutoff valve, place a bucket, filled with any type of insulating material (foam, a towel, etc.) over the faucet, and put a brick on top of the bucket. Styrofoam covers (available at any hardware store) help protect wall faucets from freezing temperatures.

This time of year, fire is a big risk (fire places, Christmas trees, burnt turkey). Check your smoke detector. Test the batteries and replace them, if needed. If it is wired into the house, test it anyway to ensure it is working properly.

Place a large plastic bag underneath the Christmas tree stand before you put up the tree. It can easily be hidden with a tree skirt and makes tree cleanup easier and needle free.

’Tis the season for holiday visitors. Prepare your home by giving the guest bedroom a good cleaning and preparing a gift basket with bath products, reading materials, and little snacks to make them feel more at home during the holidays. Don’t forget fresh flowers and an
alarm clock.

Garden

Disconnect and drain your garden hoses and store them for the winter. While you’re at it, give your gardening tools a good cleaning. Put a light coat of 30W motor oil on your steel tools to keep them from rusting.

Mulch your flowerbeds (at least 2 inches deep) to help protect your plants’ roots from the cold and help them retain moisture.

Plant tulips and hyacinth after Thanksgiving but before the new year. They should be chilled and ready to plant after 60 to 70 days in the fridge. Don’t have room for the bulbs? North Haven Gardens will do the chilling for you and call you when it is time to plant.

Plant pansies, violas, dianthus, snapdragons, flowering kale, and cabbage to add color to your winter garden.

Longer blades of grass help lawns prepare for dormancy. “Taller leaf blades can increase a lawn’s tolerance to cold and promote root growth,” Leslie Finical Halleck of North Haven Gardens says. “Raise the mower blade height up by a 1/2 inch as you get into the fall season. If you mow more than a third of your leaf height, you take valuable protein from your grass.”

Remember to water plants during the winter. About an inch of water a week should keep them happy.

Click below to download our list in pdf format.

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