Fall is a great time to work on house projects. The weather is more comfortable than in the peak of the summer and the imminent arrival of winter can help keep your motivation high.
Whether you are planning to hibernate from home improvement this winter or you just want to cross a few things off your project list, here are some ideas for easy and timely fall projects:
- Paint inside: It is hard to ventilate rooms in the winter to remove paint fumes without losing precious heat. I’m working on small painting projects in the dining room and entry closet now before heating season begins.
- Touch-up exterior paint: The time has passed to start a big outside painting project, but if you have places where the paint is peeling– particularly horizontal surfaces like window sills where water or snow will linger– now is the time for touch-ups to prevent damage.
- Update your planters: We just replaced the summer flowers in our window box with some hardy mums in rich autumn colors. When these flowers die, it will be time for the spruce tips and pine boughs to last us through winter.
- Plant bulbs: This is the ideal time to put bulbs in the ground for next spring. It doesn’t take long and pays big dividends when the flowers bloom. If you have young kids like we do, get them involved in the digging.
- Seed your lawn: Cooler temperatures and more moisture make this an ideal time to start grass seeds. If you live as far north as we do, don’t wait much longer on this one!
- Add landscaping plants: Shrubs and plants are usually discounted now, so it is cheaper to buy them and there is still time for them to get established before winter. We added some astilbe and coral bells to our backyard landscaping just a couple weeks ago. Keep new plants well-watered and give them some extra mulch to protect them over the winter. As a safety net, buy late season plants from a store with a one-year guarantee against die-off and save your receipts.
- Hire a chimney sweep: You will want that fireplace lit sooner than you think. If you have burned a cord of wood or it has been two years since your last chimney cleaning, you’re due.
- Add insulation: Most homes, especially old ones, are underinsulated. Do your wallet and the planet a favor and invest in insulation for your attic (first priority) and exterior walls (second priority). Caulk gaps around your windows, too.
- Clean your gutters: The winter consequences of blocked gutters are icicles and ice dams. Both are dangerous to your house and your health. Do yourself a favor and clear those gutters, but practice ladder safety and protect yourself from bird droppings.
- Wash the windows: You’ll be looking out of them all winter.
- Do that little thing you’ve been putting off: We didn’t have a photo of our nine-month old son up on our wall until I finally made time to update the family photos this past week. Now when we have family and friends over for the holidays, our family photos will include all of our family. (This was also the first time I hung pictures using the picture rail and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.) You know what your little thing is– now go do it.
Obviously this list is limited and regionally-specific. If you have other fall project ideas or tips I’d love to see them in the comments.