A monthly guide to things to do inside and outside the house.
• Plant balled-and-burlapped Christmas trees as soon as possible.
• During thaws, water trees or shrubs in areas where snow doesn’t reach. Don’t worry if the ice freezes on branches. It won’t hurt them.
• If you haven’t protected hybrid tea and other roses prone to winter damage, do it now.
• Fill bird feeders regularly.
• It’s a good time to get gardening equipment serviced; servicers won’t be busy.
• Inspect holiday decorations to make sure they’re in good condition before packing them away. Give away any that you haven’t used recently.
• Start a tradition of changing the batteries in the smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors near the start of the year. It’s also a good time to replace washing-machine hoses. A ruptured hose can cause significant damage.
• In the event of heavy snow, check the attic for leaks and condensation. Make sure the vents aren’t obstructed.
• Check the gutters and roof edges for icicles, a warning sign of ice dams that can cause moisture to penetrate the roof underneath shingles. Adequate attic insulation and ventilation help prevent the dams from forming.
• January is an ideal time to catch up on recordkeeping. Good options:
Round up instruction manuals for major appliances, tools, cameras and other items and create a file for them.
Create a video or photo home inventory for insurance purposes and ensure that you have adequate coverage for any recent major purchases or home improvements.
Check your credit report. Because you can get a free copy from each of the major credit agencies once per year, visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228, and choose just one. In four months, repeat the process with a different agency, and four months later, the third agency. Following this rotation will let you keep tabs throughout the year.