1. Prep the Walkway
• Replace blown-out bulbs in exterior lights.
• Scatter sand or kitty litter on slippery steps.
• Knock away icicles hanging above the front door—no skewering your guests!RELATED: How to Get Rid of Ice Dams…Which are Actually as Annoying as They Sound
2. Ready the Entry
• Add a dimmer switch to the hallway fixture (soft light = instant mood-setter).
• Roll out a runner to absorb slush and snow.
• Fix squeaky hardwood floors by sweeping graphite powder into the cracks.RELATED: Silence Squeaky Floors With Baby Powder and More DIY Hacks
3. Tackle the Living Area
• Ratchet down the thermostat by 3 degrees F—guests hate sweating over their holiday cocktails.
• Keep area rugs in place with double-sided tape to prevent tripping and slipping.
• Treat fabric-covered furniture with a protective spray, such as Scotchgard, so that spills don’t become a permanent record.RELATED: Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
4. Get the Dining Room Done
• Plug up window drafts with weatherstripping or caulk.
• Add seat cushions, especially for folding chairs, to ward off marathon-meal butt numbness.
• Fill scratches in the dining room table with colored paste wax.RELATED: Use Window Treatments to Block Drafts
5. Perk Up the Powder Room
• Scrape away deposits from the series of flush holes under the toilet bowl rim so that guests don’t have to double flush.
• Replace the washer or O-ring on an annoyingly drippy tap.
• Rinse out grit from the faucet’s filter screen to keep the water flowing.RELATED: Step-by-Step Guide to Repairing a Dripping Faucet