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12 Small Fall Projects to do Over the Weekend

Knock out these must-do fall home projects in just a couple of days and enjoy care-free living all winter long.

Clean Gutters

Clogged and overflowing gutters can create a drainage problem over the long winter months. It will also encourage rot to form at the roof line. For this messy job, wear gloves and practice ladder safety while working. Plus, here are the best gutter guards for your home.

Build a Shoe Storage Booster Stool

Build this handy stool in one hour and park it in your closet. You can also use it as a step to reach the high shelf.

All you need is a 4 x 4-ft. sheet of 3/4-in. plywood, wood glue and a handful of 8d finish nails. Cut the plywood pieces according to the illustration. Spread wood glue on the joints, then nail them together with 8d finish nails. First, nail through the sides into the back, and then nail through the top into the sides and back. Finally, mark the location of the two shelves and nail through the sides into the shelves.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

When it comes to energy savings, few upgrades pay off as quickly as a programmable thermostat. If you turn down the heat 5 degrees at night and 10 degrees during the day when no one is home, you’ll cut your energy bill by 5 to 20 percent. If you raise the temperature the same amount during the cooling season, your savings will be similar. You can do this with a manual thermostat, but a programmable model never forgets to turn down the heat at night and it can raise the temperature before you get out of bed in the morning.

Critter-Proof Your Home

If unwanted critters are waging war on your house, it’s time to fight back. We’ve gathered some effective pest-fighting strategies. Learn how to close the entryways that let critters in, and also how to evict them if they manage to get past your defenses.

Stop Drafts Around Windows and Doors

If your windows or doors cause chilly drafts all winter long, the problem could be worn-out seals, weather stripping or thresholds. Then again, sloppy installation might also be to blame. When cold weather arrives, hold the back of your hand near the edges of windows or doors to track down the location of leaks. If you feel cold air flowing out from behind the trim, you can bet that the spaces around the window and door jambs weren’t properly sealed.

Plugging these leaks is a time-consuming job: You have to pull off the interior trim, seal around the jambs and then reinstall the trim. But if you have fairly airtight doors and windows, it offers a large payoff. Stopping drafts not only makes your home more comfortable but also cuts energy bills.

Rake Those Leaves!

If you live in a snow-prone climate, getting your leaves up before the flakes fly is a good idea. You may think you know everything about this time-honored lawn care tradition but here are five ways to make this job a little easier for a fall-ready lawn.

Aerate the Lawn

To ensure lush grass and a healthy lawn in the spring, aerate in the fall. Aeration breaks up compacted soil to allow water and fertilizer to penetrate deep down into a healthy root system. A must-do, fall-ready project. For more, check out our fall lawn care guide.

Prep Your Garden

Prep your fall-ready garden now for less work in the spring. Remove any past-their-prime annuals and rake out any rotting leaves. To protect your garden pots from breakage due to freezing water, empty, clean and bring indoors for the winter. After that’s done, you can make over the winter and start planning your spring container garden!

Inspect Your Fence

Fall provides an ideal time to inspect fences and take care of any rot or structural issues before they become problematic. Ground frost can cause weakened fence posts to heave and shift over the winter. This results in damage all along the fence line. For the skinny on how to take care of any fence maintenance and make it fall ready.

Store Outdoor Furniture

An often overlooked task, but essential to keeping your outdoor living space in tip-top shape, cleaning and storing your garden furniture out of the elements saves unnecessary wear on them. Fall is also a perfect time to clean up any rust, repaint or repair your garden furniture so it looks great when you uncover it in the spring.

Prepare Your Fireplace

For wood fireplaces, clean them out thoroughly, check the chimney, and make sure that you have an ample supply of wood. Gas and electric fireplaces can also benefit from an annual inspection before winter begins. Plus, this is the time to clean a chimney flue as well.

Get Your Gutters Ready

Make sure your home can deal with the rain and snow that comes as the seasons change. Walk around your home and check for loose gutters, broken pieces and detached downspouts and make any necessary repairs. Clear gutters of leaves and other debris and check that the downspouts direct water away from your foundation.

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