Declutter Your Home for the New Year And Beyond

Declutter Your Entire Home month by monthEveryone wants to start the new year in a clean and organized space, but decluttering your home can feel like a daunting task. You may start out inspired to tackle the mess in your home, only to have that inspiration wane over time. Instead of trying to declutter your entire house from the start, stretch the process out over the year. Not only will this keep you motivated to continue doing the work, you’ll also enjoy the satisfaction of having a consistently decluttered space. In this blog, we provide you with a suggested focus for each month of the year, so you can check that off your list!

January: Kitchen/Pantry

The kitchen is the heart of the home and tends to have the most stuff. The cabinets are filled with food and pots and pans, the drawers are stuffed with cooking tools and utensils (not to mention the odds and ends in the junk drawer) and the counters are covered with appliances and maybe even mail. Before you throw your hands up and give up, here’s how to break down the process:

  • Sell, donate, or toss specialty appliances, cookware, and dishes you no longer use or need
  • Toss or recycle food storage containers with missing lids and giveaway cups you don’t need
  • Empty the pantry and donate any unopened nonperishable food items and toss anything that’s expired or you don’t use

February: Home Office

With tax season in gearing up, this month is the perfect time to declutter and organize, not only your home office, but also any paperwork (both physical and digital).

  • Sort through any piles of paper and decide what to file, shred, or recycle
  • Clean up any unused files on your computers and back up any data
  • Switch to paperless billing whenever possible

March: Closet

The closet might be one of the most daunting areas of the home to organize. But worry, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! With the changing seasons, now is the perfect time to streamline the closet. Try on all clothes and keep what still fits and makes you feel good. Sort through clothes and keep what

  • Sell or donate clothes, shoes, and accessories that are in good condition, tossing anything that’s beyond repair
  • Launder and store any winter items for next season
  • Repeat this during the fall season

April: Bathroom and linen closets

A clean, well-organized bathroom is a mood booster and makes hosting guests (even last-minute ones) less stressful. Place most used items at eye level so they’re easier to find, placing items you don’t use as often on higher shelves in the medicine cabinet.

Also take time to review your linens, donating items in good condition or tossing anything that’s worn (or repurpose them into rags) and update with new items as needed.

  • Move moisture or heat sensitive medications to a different location (make sure it’s safely out of reach of children)
  • Toss expired and unused makeup and skin-care products
  • Safely dispose of expired medication

May: Laundry Room

The laundry room sees a lot of action during the year, making it one of the hardest-working rooms in the home! Keep clutter at bay by creating a place for everything. Store cleaning products out of reach of kids and pets. And take time to clean your washer and dryer.

  • Designate a small basket or jar to hold found items from pockets and a basket to hold missing socks or gloves until they can be paired up again
  • Sort laundry before it going to the laundry room to avoid the dreaded piles

June: Garage

Before summer activities and travels begin, take some time to organize the garage. Remove any sporting equipment the kids may have outgrown or no longer use, inspect lawn care and gardening tools, and check outdoor furniture and toss worn-out pieces. When you’re ready to organize your space, think in categories, like sports equipment, gardening tools, holiday décor, etc., and group like items together.

July: Living areas

The living room is a well-used space, from cozy movie nights to game watching parties, it’s often where the fun and action is when hosting family and friends. Make this space more enjoyable by imagining what activities you want to take place in these rooms and furnish the room in a way that supports this desire. Store magazines, movies, and electronics out of sight behind a cabinet or in a console table.

  • Return items that belong in other rooms to their proper space each night
  • Sell or donate old DVDs, CDs, books or other entertainment accessories you don’t use
  • Identify catch-all areas and use baskets to hold these smaller items while reducing visual clutter

August: Bedrooms

Bedrooms are meant to be serene and rejuvenating spaces. It’s tough to relax when you’re staring at a pile of clothing on the floor! This goes for kids’ rooms as well! You’ll feel instantly more relaxed once you declutter and organize your room. Start by removing anything that doesn’t belong in the bedroom, like dishes and paper and even consider removing extra furniture pieces.

  • Make your bed everyday
  • Make it a habit to put away clothes and items instead of letting them pile up on surfaces around the room
  • Clear away unneeded items daily from nightstands

September: Entry spaces

School is back in session and the entryway of your home will be busy! Thanks to their prominent Entryways tend to be tricky to organize but not impossible.  Put away out of season items (like winter coats during the summer), allocate space for small items like keys, mail, and other small personal items.

  • Make it a habit to sort through any baskets or trays in the entryway to remove junk or replace items in their proper place

October: Entertaining supplies

Get ahead of the curve and take stock on your entertaining supplies. With holiday entertaining looming ahead, you’ll be glad you’re ready to welcome guests.

  • Inventory your dinnerware and serving pieces and consider whether you have enough pieces or will need to purchase more
  • Toss worn out or stained tablecloths and other linens

November: Kitchen/Pantry

The holidays are back around so it’s time to prepare your kitchen and pantry ready for this year’s feasts. Restock on pantry staples; take stock of dining ware, purging chipped pieces and replace as needed, and cooking utensils and tools.

December: Clear Clutter

You’re probably expecting to get new items this holiday season so now is a great time to begin reviewing your belongings and getting rid of items that are no longer of use to you (as always, sell or donate items that are in good condition!). This can also apply to holiday decorations. That way you can avoid the struggle of trying to store everything at the end of the holidays this year!

Stretching your decluttering tasks throughout the year turns a potentially overwhelming project into manageable bites. Not only that, you’ll create a sustainable habit of keeping your home in its best shape.

At Hayden Homes, we have beautiful new homes throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Contact us today and we’ll be here to help you find your dream home this year.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your New Home – Tips to keep your home in good condition

Goals, Plan, Action for a New Year's Resolution for your new homeWith the New Year just days away, we’re all thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. But what about New Year’s resolutions for your new home? While most of our resolutions include conditioning for our bodies, in the spirit of new beginnings and positive changes, we’ve put together our list of the top 5 things that you can do this year to keep your new home in tip, top condition.

1. Declutter By Focusing On A Particular Problem

Decluttering your home and personal space is a common New Year’s resolution. While the thought of tackling your entire house can seem daunting, don’t let this resolution slip away. Think about streamlining this daunting task by narrowing this resolution down to a “particular problem” in your home whether it’s your master closet, pantry, or garage. Create a better system in the space by organizing with bins or boxes and focus on the functionality of these storage containers rather than how they look. Establish a plan for what will stay and be sure to measure the storage options for the best system to ensure you keep organized.

2. Donate Unused Items

Once you have gone through and organized your home, you likely have a pile of things that you either forgot you even had or don’t want anymore. One great way to feel good about this process is to donate these items. Locate your local Goodwill or other non-profit, in need of donations, and give them a way. (Don’t forget to grab your donation receipt for your taxes this year!)

3. Tackle Small Projects

You may not have thought about adding home improvement projects to your New Year’s resolution list, but with the right planning, you could get all those small projects, that keep piling up, crossed off your to-do list. Whether it’s simple tasks like cleaning the gutters, caulking around your bathroom shower, or hanging family photos, as you prepare for the New Year, write down your entire list of house projects for the year so you have it ready when you take the time to complete the projects. You’ll feel better once they’re checked off.

4. Work Out a Regular System for Keeping Your House Clean

Coming home to a clean house is one of the best feelings. Come up with a system that works for your family. For example, make a list of the things that need to get done daily and weekly and assign them to a specific family member. Daily tasks such as dishes need to be done nightly, dirty clothes go in the hamper, and jackets/clean clothes are hung up or put away.  To ensure that your weekly tasks like vacuuming, mopping, or cleaning the bathroom are done as efficiently as possible, here are a few tips from Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning and owner of the Clean Team housekeeping service in San Francisco:

  • Keep all your cleaning supplies handy and organized in a portable container that moves with you from room to room.
  • Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)
  • Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It’s faster, Campbell says. Wipe down fingerprints on all the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
  • For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: one of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, Campbell says, leaving more time on the weekends for fun activities.

5. Bring Home Fresh Flowers

It may seem like a small thing, but the smell of fresh flowers and their bright cheerful colors can improve the ambiance of any room. Finding the right colors, heights and arrangements can really complement the existing decor in your rooms. And the right house plants can not only improve air quality but may provide some at-home aromatherapy to help you relax.

One of the best ways to make sure that you’ll come back to your New Year’s resolutions for your new home is to plan them out in advance. Decide the order in which you’ll clean your rooms and spread your decluttering projects over a couple of months. Then write down all your small projects for the year so when the time comes, you’re ready to tackle each one head on. When you’re ready, sit down and make your plan for keeping your house clean and divide out the chores between each family member. Finally, the next time you’re at the store, pick up some fresh flowers, we promise they will bring a smile to your face after a long day at work.

We wish you well in the New Year and hope that these 5 tips will help keep you on track for keeping your new home in the best condition possible.

If a new home is on your wishlist this year, Hayden Homes can help! We have new homes for sale throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon. Contact us today, we look forward to helping you find your dream home!

Tips and Ideas to Keep Kids Busy Over the Holiday Break

Mom and her son baking in their new home - Tips and Ideas to Keep Kids Busy Over the Holiday BreakThe holidays are a joyous time of the year and can be a great time to bond with your kids and let your inner child out. Here are 11 activities to keep your kids busy during the holidays that you can use whenever, wherever you need them. When the weather outside is frightful, these tips are so delightful, let your imagination run wild and keep your kids occupied with these fun tips and ideas!

1 – Play With Blocks or Legos

That’s right! Take your supply of blocks or Legos and let the kids dump them on the floor and play away. This will keep them entertained for at least an hour or longer.

2 – Check on the Reindeer

Did you know Santa has a live feed? Let your kids check on Santa’s Reindeer and have them report to you on what’s happening. Who doesn’t love to watch cuddly animals in their natural habitat?

3 – Play Store or Office

This can be great fun for your kids. To get started, set up a little table with a cash register, toy money (maybe from the Monopoly game that’s collecting dust in the closet), little pieces of paper (receipts), and a scanner one idea is to use the little attachment of your vacuum as the scanner). The other kids fill their toy shopping cart with toys and take it to the cashier. Let your kids use the bags that you have from your shopping trips as their grocery bags – they will have a blast!

4 – Make a Home Movie

Let your kids become movie stars for an afternoon. Pick a plot for your movie and let their creative juices run wild. If they don’t want to be the main characters, let them make their movie using Lego figures or their favorite dolls.

7 – Put Up a Fort

Who remembers hours spent in their favorite homemade fort? Grab some blankets, pillows, and sheets from the closet, push some chairs together, and voila your kids have a fort. Inside they can be whomever they wish.Let your kids use it as a special holiday fort for games, reading and other quiet activities.

8 – Bake Cookies or Other Holiday Treats

Kids love to help! Baking with you is one way you can have fun together and get a little help in the kitchen. Let them help make their favorite cookies or make Nutter Butter Snowmen cookies. Not only are they super cute, but they’re super easy as well.

9 – Play With Boxes

This is the time of the year when the Amazon deliveries arrive at a regular cadence. Rather than recycle the boxes, let your kids turn them into a playhouse, boat, car, cave or any other idea that they can think of!

10 – Hot Cocoa Read-Aloud

This is a great time to start a new tradition, maybe one that involves the entire family and reading. Do this by creating a nightly reading ritual, where you sip hot cocoa, or tea, and listen to a book read aloud. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever has great reviews, is relatively short and provides a meaningful message.

11 – Volunteer

The holidays are a great time of the year to give of your time. Encourage your kids to serve someone in your community, some ideas include:
  • Shovel the snow of the elderly neighbor
  • Go as a family to a local food bank
  • Select a family to shop for and provide holiday cheer
We guarantee this will not only fill your time but will nurture a feeling of gratitude for what you have.
We hope these 11 tips and ideas for keeping your kids busying over the holiday break are useful and fun for the entire family. Send us a note to info@hayden-homes.com with your favorite activities for your kids and we’ll be sure to share them.
If a new home is on your wish list this year, Hayden Homes can help! We have new homes for sale throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home!

Congratulations Grant Ludwick, Realtor! Hayden Homes MVR

The Robinson-Ludwick Group Hayden Homes MVRWe are excited to announce that Grant Ludwick, Realtor, one of our respected Real Estate Partners with The Robinson-Ludwick Group in Bend, Oregon, has been elevated to Hayden Homes Most Valuable Realtor (MVR) status!

A little about The Robinson-Ludwick Group: 

The Robinson-Ludwick Group with Coldwell Banker Bain is a team of energetic and knowledgeable professionals who pride themselves on their honest approach while working with buyers and sellers of homes in Central Oregon. Outside of real estate, the team members are committed to being involved in the community as well as raising their families in the big playground that is Central Oregon.

Thank you and congratulations to Grant and Team, we look forward to continuing our wonderful partnership in the future! To learn more about our MVR program, CLICK HERE.

How to Sell Your Home During the Holidays

Living room decorated perfectly for the holidays - How to Sell Your Home During the HolidaysThe holidays can be a hectic time of the year. You might be buying and wrapping gifts, have multiple holiday events to attend or hosting friends and family from out of town. Selling your home may be the last thing you want to add to your growing to-do list but, if you are planning to sell your home this holiday season, we have some tips to help your sale go as smoothly as possible.

1 – Keep Holiday Decorations to a Minimum

While holiday decorations can make your home look fun and festive, sellers should be cautious not to overdo it. Keep in mind that not everyone has the same love of a decked-out home. Décor can turn some buyers off and it can make your home feel crowded and distract buyers from the important features of your home. If you decide to decorate use more red than green, as red is an emotionally appealing color.

This also applies to the exterior of your home – avoid the over-the-top lighting display this year.

2 – Price it to sell

Leverage sites like Trulia and Zillow to research pricing on other homes for sale, in the area, and work with your real estate agent to determine the best price for your home.

3 – Keep it tidy, keep it safe

This can be hard to do this time of the year between cooking, wrapping presents, and trying to keep your home free of mud and other debris that make their way inside during the cold winter months but, be sure to vacuum well and often.  Ensure the outside of your home is clean and presentable as well. Bare trees and shrubs make your home more exposed. Step outside and look at your home from the curb to see your home’s curb appeal and notice if you need to touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Also, keep buyers’ safety in mind by making sure stairs and walkways are free of snow, ice and leaves.

4 – Be Available

The holiday season makes it more difficult than usual for real estate agents to schedule showings since all parties involved usually have holiday activities and other events going on. However, since buyers during this time of the year are typically motivated to buy, clear your schedule as much as possible to accommodate potential buyers.

5 – Create a video tour

You’re going to get less foot traffic through your doors during the holidays due to inclement whether and busy schedules. Shoot a video tour of your home and post it online so you can still attract house hunters who are reluctant to brave the elements or simply can’t make it out to tour your home, during a possible winter storm.

 6 – Provide house hunters an escape from the cold

Turn up the heat a bit and make your home feel cozy. When you have visitors make your home feel inviting by playing classical music, baking some fresh cookies and brewing some hot cider. Potential buyers will not only appreciate the gesture, but they may spend more time admiring your home’s best features.

7 – Know that the new year is right around the corner

Take time to remind yourself that even if your home doesn’t sell right away, the new year is right around the corner and the right buyer is out there. We hope that with these tips for selling your home during the holidays, ensure a quick and profitable sale. In turn making the holidays even merrier for you and yours.

If a new home is on your wish list this year, Hayden Homes can help! We have new homes for sale throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home!

Congratulations Aurelia Contreras, Realtor! Hayden Homes MVR

Aurelia Contreras, Realtor Elevated to Hayden Homes MVRWe are excited to announce that Aurelia Contreras, Realtor, one of our respected Real Estate Partners with Tri-Cities Realty Group, LLC in Pasco, Washington, has been elevated to Hayden Homes Most Valuable Realtor (MVR) status!

A little about Aurelia: 

Growing up in the Tri-Cities, WA, Aurelia Contreras has witnessed the vast economic expansion and evolution of this vibrantly growing area. Being a realtor since 2007, she has abundant professional experience and treats all of her clients with the utmost respect. Keeping up with the latest marketing trends is her specialty and she works diligently to be sure all her transactions run as smoothly as possible from beginning to close. As her former clients will tell you, Aurelia is passionate about what she does and works above and beyond what is necessary to gain their trust and confidence and they are more than willing to provide her with referrals based on her exceptional performance. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, cooking and pleasant refreshing walks on the great trails of Badger Mountain.

Thank you and congratulations to Aurelia, we look forward to continuing our wonderful partnership in the future! To learn more about our MVR program, CLICK HERE.

Holiday Lighting and Decoration Tips & Tricks

Home with holiday lights out frontIt’s that time of year! What better way to kick off the holiday season than with some festive lights and crafty decorations? If you’re like a lot of people, you may just decide to “wing it” and maybe that works… however, why stress yourself out by feeling unprepared? There are a few simple things you can do to help prepare yourself and your home for the upcoming holiday décor. We want to help ease your stress, so we’ve put together a few holiday tips and tricks to help ensure your vision for an exceptionally decorated home is as stress free as possible.

Most important, Stay Safe!

Holiday lights involve a high amount of electricity, try to avoid connecting too many strands together which can overload the circuit. Also, be sure to check your GFCIs which is the ground-fault circuit interrupters, this causes an automatic turnoff if there is any overheating in the electrical circuit. Turning your outside lights off when you’re asleep or away from home can ease your worries.

Are your lights safe for outdoor use?

With the potential for harsh winter conditions, throughout the Pacific Northwest, it’s important to ensure your holiday lighting will hold up to the elements. Check the package for UL outdoor ratings, these can be used both indoors and outdoors. Don’t assume your lights are safe from the damp-cold weather just because the wires are coated, make sure to check that they are weatherproof.

How to plan your design

Keep it simple! (Well unless you’d like your home to be seen from miles away.) Decorating can be overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. To start, we recommend choosing a focal point. This will help you focus primarily on one area, taking the stress away from feeling like you need to bedazzle your entire house.

Examine your home and measure

Check out your gutters, shingles, and the overhang from your roofline to determine how to best hang your lights. A few popular spots for holidays lights are along your rooflines, around pillars and windows, door frames and even near driveways. Let’s not forget to measure how many lights we will need. Measure the area you’re wanting to hang lights and find the nearest power strip; this will help ensure you have enough lights for the area you’re wanting to cover.

The holidays can be a stressful and overwhelming, however, they do not need to be, by following these simple tips you will feel more prepared for when you’re ready to start decorating your new home. Just remember, stay safe and have fun with it!

Enjoy the holidays in your new Hayden home!

We hope you enjoy your holidays in your new home by Hayden Home. One of the best things is being able to spend time with the people who matter most. If you’re thinking of buying a new home (or even your first home), we have homes for sale in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home in the Northwest!

 

How to be a Good Thanksgiving Guest

Group at holiday table - How to be a Good Thanksgiving GuestMost Thanksgiving guides offer tips for hosting Thanksgiving, but what should guests expect when they’re not the ones cooking? Even though your role on Thanksgiving is smaller, here are some things you can do to be a great Thanksgiving guest.

RSVP!

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner, be courteous by letting your host know if you’ll be attending right away so they can plan appropriately. Don’t show up with an unexpected guest! Always ask before bringing additional people.

Mention dietary requirements

Vegetarian, keto, gluten-free, vegan, or allergic to something? Let your host know if you have any dietary requirements, and offer to bring a dish that meets your needs that can be shared.

Always ask before you bring a dish

Your host will spend a lot of time thinking about the menu so if you want to contributing a side dish, ask!  If you do bring a dish, be considerate: bring a prepared dish (don’t try to put it together in their kitchen the day of) in its own serving dish and utensils, and if your dish needs to be chilled or warmed up on the stove or in the oven, let your host know ahead of time.

If your host declines, consider bringing a bottle of wine or sparkling juice, making it clear it doesn’t need to be served with the meal, or even flowers for your host as a thank you.

Be timely

It takes a lot of time and coordination to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table, so don’t stress your hosts out by showing up too early or too late. If you do end up running late, or not able to attend, be respectful and let your host know as soon as possible.

Don’t crowd the kitchen

The kitchen is the busiest room on Thanksgiving. The temptation to hang out in the kitchen to maybe get some taste tests before the meal but give the cook some breathing room and space by staying out of their way.

Offer to help clean up

Once the meal is finished, offer to help clean up but don’t insist. Some hosts may have a system in place or would prefer to have their guests relax following the meal. Whether or not the host accepts, simply asking to help is always appreciated.

Don’t linger too long

You don’t want to risk overstaying your welcome.

Give thanks

Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for what we have. Embrace the Thanksgiving spirit and share your gratitude to your hosts for inviting by sending a thank you note.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, we’re sure you can find a lot to be thankful for this year. Do you want to host Thanksgiving next year? Or perhaps you need a larger home so you can invite more guests over. Whatever your reason, we have brand new homes throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Reach out to us today to learn more about our new homes for sale, and we hope you have a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving holiday!

Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for Thanksgiving

Photo of a living room - Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for ThanksgivingThanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It’s about gathering with your loved ones and celebrating thankfulness. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your new home. Especially when you begin thinking about all the things you need to do before your first guest arrives!

Don’t strive for perfection

The first tip: forget about reaching perfection: a perfectly cooked meal, clean kitchen, happy guests, etc. Sometimes life gets in the way and things go awry so before you begin planning, take a moment to focus on what a happy Thanksgiving would look like for you (it may include happy and full guests and a messy kitchen!) instead.

Deep clean the kitchen

Thanksgiving is the start of heavy kitchen use for many people. Now is a great time to give your kitchen a thorough cleaning. Clean out the fridge and pantry, wipe down countertops and sweep the floor, clean the microwave. Make sure your appliances are in working order. You can do a quick clean of your oven and stove but resist the urge to run the self-cleaning function. The self-clean cycle can be hard on your oven and this is not the time to start having issues with your oven! Save that for another time.

Get your guest room ready

If you’re hosting overnight guests, take time to get the guest rooms ready. Tidy up the guest room by vacuuming and dusting, change the linens, and set out fresh towels and additional blankets.

Prepare the bathroom for guests

Bathrooms are the second most used room during gatherings, so make sure they’re ready to handle a crowd. Give your bathrooms a thorough cleaning, focusing on the toilet, sink, and bathtub. Make sure there’s plenty of soap, the toilet paper and tissues are fully stocked, and put out plenty of fresh towels as well.

Clean the living areas

Make life easier by focusing on the areas your guests will be in: the living room, dining room, and bathroom. Your cleaning plan is simple: tidy up and clear clutter, dust, and vacuum. Your home will be clean in no time!

Set the table early

Ever rushed through setting the table before your first guest arrive? Instead, take advantage of the calm before the Thanksgiving storm to avoid feeling rushed. You can even plan out your serving dishes by placing food labels in the corresponding serving dish.

Set aside a place for coats and bags

Designate a place in your home to hold guests’ coats and purses. This can be a closet near the front door or in a bedroom

Enjoy the holidays in your new Hayden home!

We hope you enjoy your holidays in your new home by Hayden Homes. One of the best things is being able to spend time with the people who matter most. If you’re thinking of buying a new home (or even your first home), we have homes for sale in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home in the Northwest!

Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Keep your home safe for the holidaysThe holidays are a joyous season; with festive parties, gift-giving, and general merriment abounding, the end of the year can be a crazy few weeks! While home safety is a year-round priority for homeowners, keeping your home safe during the holiday season can amp anxieties. Thankfully, with a few simple tips, you can keep your home safe and sound whether you’re traveling for the holidays or staying close to home.

Secure your home

Unsurprisingly, the top tip is to make sure your home is properly secured. Walk through your home to check that every door and window is locked and, if you have one, set your home alarm system before leaving.

If you’re traveling, don’t leave clues that you’re not home. Have your mail and newspaper deliveries placed on hold while you’re away, keep a car parked in the driveway, and use motion sensors for exterior lights around your home.

Keep vacation plans offline

Avoid discussing your travel plans on social media. You don’t want to signal when your home will be unoccupied. Even if you have the highest privacy settings enabled on your social accounts, it’s unwise to share this type of information.

Be smart about gifts and boxes

When you think of the holidays, what do you picture? Perhaps a Christmas tree in front of the window, fully lit and dozens of carefully wrapped presents underneath? While that’s a common sight, it’s also a tempting view for burglars. Keep your home safe by making sure gifts aren’t visible from the outside.

Once gifts are opened, don’t leave the empty boxes outside. Break boxes down so they can fit inside the trash bin so you’re not advertising the new items are now inside your home.

Keep package deliveries safe

Avoid a Grinch-like scene by not having packages sit outside unattended. If possible, have packages delivered to your office or held for pickup. If you’re shopping from an online retailer with a local location, consider having your order shipped to the store for pickup. Most shipping providers may allow you to postpone delivery until you know someone will be home to receive them, or leave directions on where to drop off packages.

Keep your home well-lit

Keeping your home well-lit is an effective way of keeping your home safe. If you’re away, put your lights on a timer so they can turn on in the evening, making it look like someone is home. You can use smart home technology or simple programmable light plugs.

Ask a neighbor to keep watch

Good neighbors look out for each other. Ask trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. They can contact you if anything happens at your home or even collect your mail if you didn’t place a hold on deliveries.

The holiday season is a busy one but it only takes a few simple steps to keep your home and family safe this season! If a new home is on your wish list this year, Hayden Homes can help! We have new homes for sale throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home!