Hosting friends and family for the holidays comes with plenty of joy, but it brings a hefty load of work along as well. From making sure your guest rooms are ready for visitors to getting your holiday decorating done, your to-do list may be looking a bit frightening at this point.

But never fear — by focusing on the right things in the right order, even your most daunting tasks can be perfectly manageable. For the best steps you can take to get your home ready for winter and holiday visitors alike, keep reading!

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

Few things make a home look like new than a fresh coat of paint. With company coming soon, now is the best time to get any painting done that you’ve been putting off. After just two or three hours, latex paint becomes dry to touch and you can apply a second coat after four or five hours if you like.

Fall offers just enough warm weather to get any needed exterior painting done, too. Besides making your house look gorgeous, even a quick touch-up can help prolong the life of your trim and siding. Given the real possibility of heavy snow later in the year, it’s typically a good idea to get it done sooner rather than later.

Replace or Repair Siding

As trees and bushes shed their leaves during the fall, shoddy areas in your home’s exterior may start to become visible. If your house’s siding or exterior trim needs repair or replacement, now is the right time to hire a siding professional to get that work done. Harsh winter weather can cause even more damage, possibly causing it to get out of hand. Get it taken care of now before that happens.

Freshen Up the Floors

Autumn is the perfect time to clean your carpets: the humid summer days have long passed, but the below-freezing months of winter haven’t yet arrived. That makes this time of year just right for opening the windows for added ventilation while carpets dry.

After having a professional clean and shampoo your carpets, show some love to your hard floors. If there are places that need patching up or polishing, now’s a good time to get that done, before visiting feet walk all over them.

Plan for Christmas Lights and Decorations

Across America, Christmas lights start to appear on homes almost immediately following Thanksgiving. If you have plans to deck the halls in your home, get ready now by making a plan for the lighting and decorations you intend to use. Start looking for local deals on lights and outdoor holiday paraphernalia early. And if you’re going to be hiring professionals to do your outdoor decorating for you, go ahead and call a few of these places and ask for quotes.

Whatever your decoration plans look like, make sure to have plenty of time set aside to get it done if you’re doing it yourself. Assuming you’re among the 91% of Americans who like art, you don’t want to be scrambling to get them set up just before Christmas with little time to enjoy them afterward.

Finish the Basement

Did you know that, of all homes with basements, more than 98% of them will experience some kind of water damage? This is a good reason to have yours inspected by a foundation contractor now, if you haven’t done it in a while.

While you’re at it, think about having your basement finished or remodeled. Although this is not exactly a simple step, with cold winter weather comes fewer options for hanging around outside or on the back porch. This means you’ll be cooped up in the house more. If the upstairs rooms are uncomfortably crowded with the whole family indoors, finishing the basement could give you valuable added real estate.

All comfort considerations aside, finishing the basement is one of the best investments you can make in your home with an ROI of 77.6%. This is an especially important perk if you plan to sell your home in the near future.

Get Fall Lawn Care Done

To make sure your yard is healthy and beautiful come spring, there are several important yard work steps to complete during the fall. Raking leaves, aerating the soil, fertilizing, and winterizing grass will prevent your lawn and garden beds from suffocating.

It will also keep them properly nourished and protected through the winter. Taking these caring steps now can save you on the $47.8 billion American gardeners report spending on lawn and garden retail expenses. If you’re more interested in spending your time with family, friends, and football this fall, professional lawn care services can make short work of these projects.

Check On Major Appliances

Studies have shown that outfitting an older home with energy-efficient features is between four and eight times more efficient than making minor improvements to a new home would be. With this in mind, take your home’s appliances and electrical systems into consideration before the winter hits.

From Thanksgiving dinners to Christmas cookies, the entire holiday season tends to be a busy time for kitchens. Clothes washing machines and dryers also tend to work overtime, with wet and muddy clothing coming in from outside. If any of your appliances aren’t working as they should, don’t put off getting them repaired.

The winter is also a big time for extra spending on electricity. You can make your home as energy-efficient as possible by investing in high-efficiency, quality appliances. You could even make simple changes like replacing conventional light bulbs with LEDs.

Seal Up Gaps and Add Insulation

Few things make a home more uncomfortable during the winter than a nagging, piercing draft coming in. To make sure you and your guests do not have to deal with such a discomfort this holiday season, have a home energy audit conducted by a professional. They will review your home’s weather stripping, caulking, and insulation condition. Then they can advise you on how to improve your home’s seals and insulation to keep out the pesky winter cold.

From preparing decorations to fixing appliances, these are the top tasks you should be thinking about as you prepare for the holiday season.