50 Small Fall Home Projects to Do Over the Weekend

Updated: Apr. 10, 2024

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

1 / 51
sharpen lawnmower blades
Family Handyman

Sharpen Lawnmower Blades

The hardest part about sharpening a lawnmower blade lies in detaching the blade safely from your lawnmower. Once safely removed, clamp it into a  vise. Then, a good file is all you need to refresh the blade’s edge. Just make sure to sharpen the right side of the blade! When detached, it can sometimes be difficult to tell which way the sharpest edge is facing. Get complete instructions for sharpening lawn mower blades in our tutorial. Plus: Here’s how to tune-up a lawn mower
2 / 51

Watch This Video for More Handy Hints To Prep Your Home for Fall:

3 / 51
HWFALL1998_1003LEAD_106 Finished coat and mitten rack
Family Handyman

Make This Coat and Mitten Rack

The design of this shaker style coat and mitten rack is easy to build with butt joints connected by screws that get hidden by wooden screw-hole buttons and wood plugs. The coat and mitten rack mounts easily to the wall with screws driven through the hidden hanging strip on the back. The five large Shaker pegs are great for holding hats, umbrellas and coats, and the hinged-hatch door at the top keeps the clutter of gloves and scarves from view. You can build this project in a few hours, with an additional hour needed to apply a finish.
4 / 51
dfh17-sep020_337121540 fall ready clean the gutter from muck and leaves
John E. Heintz Jr./Shutterstock

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.
5 / 51
JUN_2007_013_T_01-1 shoe storage booster stool
Family Handyman

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. Don’t have floor space to spare? Build these super simple wall-mounted shoe organizers instead!
6 / 51
closet nook wire shelves
Family Handyman

Closet Nook Shelves

Don’t let the recessed space at the ends of a closet go to waste. We love maximizing storage space by fitting these nooks with wire shelving to hold blankets, towels or bedding.

Wire shelves come in a variety of widths. Measure the width and depth of the space. Then, choose the correct shelving and ask the salesperson to cut the shelves to length for you. Subtract 3/8 in. from the actual width to determine the shelf length. Buy a pair of end-mounting brackets and a pair of plastic clips for each shelf. A pack of plastic caps covers the cut ends and keep them from snagging fabrics.

Plus: Learn how to triple your closet space.

7 / 51
Swedish boot scraper
Family Handyman

Create This Swedish Boot Scraper

This traditional Swedish farm accessory cleans soles soiled by soggy springtime soil. Don’t worry about precise dimensions, but choose edges at the top of the slats that are fairly sharp. They make the boot scraper work. Cut each slat to length, then cut triangular openings on the side of a pair of 2x2s. A radial arm saw works well for this, but a table saw or band saw will also make the cuts. Trim the 2x2s to length, predrill, and use galvanized screws to attach the slats from underneath. If you prefer a boot cleaner that has brushes, check out this clever project.
8 / 51
fix storm door closer
Family Handyman

Fix a Storm Door Closer

Strong winds or heavy use can crack the door jamb that holds the storm door closer in place. A jamb reinforcer can repair the cracked jamb, or stop the problem from happening in the first place. Learn how to fix your storm door closer here.
9 / 51
fix door that doesn't latch
Family Handyman

Fix a Door that Doesn’t Latch

When a house settles, doors sometimes stop latching properly because one side of the frame has sagged. You can fix the problem easily with a rotary tool and a metal-cutting bit. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to get the job done right.
10 / 51
fix loose door hinge
Family Handyman

Fix Loose Hinges

One day the door closes smoothly; the next day it sticks. And the sticking grows worse as the weeks pass. It’s a common old-house problem, but it can happen anywhere kids hang from doorknobs. The screws holding the top hinge carry most of the weight of the door and are almost always the first to pull out, especially after repeated tightening over the years. Here’s the best way to fix those loose hinges and beef them up.
11 / 51
unstick a sliding door
Family Handyman

Unstick a Sliding Door

Sliding doors get sticky and hard to open when the wheels slide out of adjustment or the track gets dirty. Here’s how to repair your sliding door and replace a flimsy screen.
12 / 51
repair window screen spline
Family Handyman

Repair Any Torn Screens or Nets

Window screens, mosquito nets, and similar barriers protect against inquisitive summer and fall pests, but only if they provide complete protection. As long as the frame is in good shape, these easy repairs can be done in a few minutes. Here’s how to make your screen door or window look good as new.
13 / 51
simple furnace fixes thermostat
Family Handyman

Fix Your Own Furnace

If your furnace quits or breaks down try these simple furnace solutions before you call for service help. You can solve the problem and avoid a $200 service call.

14 / 51
replace damaged vinyl siding
Family Handyman

Replace Damaged Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding protects a home with a tough, water-resistant shell, but accidental damage can happen. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball cracks a piece of your siding, you can make it as good as new in about 15 minutes with a $5 zip tool (available at any home center) and a replacement piece. It’s as simple as unzipping the damaged piece and snapping in a new one. Here’s how to replace your damaged siding.

15 / 51
adjustable thresholds
Family Handyman

Raise an Adjustable Entry Door Threshold

Those big screw heads in the threshold of a newer entry door aren’t just decorative; they raise or lower a narrow strip set in the threshold. So if you’ve noticed a draft under the door, try this: On a sunny day, turn off the lights and close nearby curtains. Lie down and look for daylight under the door. A sliver of light sneaking in at both corners of the door is normal. But if you see light between the threshold and the door, grab your screwdriver. Here’s how to raise the threshold.

16 / 51
shim gapping doors
Family Handyman

Shim Gaping Doors

If you have big gaps along the latch side of your doors, they were probably prehung in their frames at the factory and installed as a unit. The installer should have adjusted the frame with shims to leave about a 1/8-in. gap along the latch side — about the thickness of two quarters (coins). Sometimes the gap is far too wide. Here’s how to shim gapping doors.

17 / 51
Change and clean dryer filter
Family Handyman

Wash the Dryer Filter

A poorly functioning clothes dryer often stems from a clogged lint filter. The filter may look clean, but a nearly invisible film caused by dryer sheets may actually block airflow. This film forces the thermostat to shut off the heat before your clothes are dry. Test your filter by pouring water into it. If the filter holds water, you should take time to clean it. Pull out the filter and scrub it in hot water with a little laundry detergent and a stiff kitchen brush.

Also, check the outside dryer vent for any lint that may have built up there.

18 / 51
lubricate sticking doors
Family Handyman

Lubricate Sticking Locks

If your lock turns hard or your key doesn’t slide in smoothly, the lock might be worn out. Then again, it may just need lubrication. Squirt a puff of powdered graphite into the keyhole. Unlike liquid lubricants, graphite won’t create sticky grime inside the lock. A tube costs about $5 at home centers.

19 / 51
organize garage
Family Handyman

Organize Your Garage For Less Than $200

You can find lots of ways to create more storage space in your garage, but no other system is as simple, inexpensive or versatile as this one. It begins with a layer of plywood fastened over drywall or bare studs. Then you just screw on a variety of hooks, hangers, shelves and baskets to suit your needs. And because you can place hardware wherever you want (not only at the studs), you can arrange items close together to make the most of your wall space. As your needs change, you’ll appreciate the versatility of this storage wall too; just unscrew shelves or hooks to rearrange the whole system.

20 / 51
programmable thermostat
Family Handyman

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.

21 / 51
spider web critter proof
Family Handyman

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.

22 / 51
window trim
Family Handyman

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.

23 / 51
insulate rim joists
Family Handyman

Insulate Rim Joists

In just a couple of hours, you can seal and insulate your rim joists, which cause major loss of heat in many homes. Insulating the rim joists is one of the best things you can do to make your home more energy efficient. This project lowers your heating costs and saves you money. And it’s easy, too, so anyone can do it. Learn how to insulate your rim joists here.

24 / 51
seal attic air leaks
Family Handyman

Seal Attic Air Leaks

Small air leaks into uninsulated attic space create another major source of heat loss in many homes. With some inexpensive materials and a day’s labor, you can save lots of money on heating every year by sealing these holes.

25 / 51
Raking leaves
Family Handyman

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 a few ways to make this job a little easier for a fall-ready lawn.
26 / 51
Aigars Reinholds/Shutterstock

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.

27 / 51

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, check out these 10 easy-to-build planters you can make over the winter and start planning your spring container garden!
28 / 51
DIY garage tool storage
Family Handyman

Clean and Store Garden Tools

Act now to protect your garden tools from rust, wear and tear. Give your tools a good cleaning, sharpen blades as necessary and dry thoroughly before you store them. After all of this prep, they will be fall-ready.
29 / 51
Family Handyman

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, check out our guide here.
30 / 51
FH08MAR-BL950747E38 DIY pond landscaping
Family Handyman

Drain Ponds

Falling leaves and debris can do more than clog pumps and filters. They can encourage algae growth in your otherwise pristine pond. Get your pond fall ready by draining and cleaning your ponds and waterfalls to prevent damage. Plus, here’s how to build a backyard pond and fountain in one weekend
31 / 51
dfh17-sep020_244204252 bird at bird feeder
Paul Reeves Photography/Shutterstock

Clean and Fill Bird Feeders

Winter can be hard going for birds in terms of finding food to eat. Be sure to refill your bird feeders now and make them fall ready. This keeps our feathered friends happy and fed for the winter. If you don’t have a bird feeder or house, creating one makes a great indoor project over winter.

32 / 51
dfh17-sep020_461316157 basket fill of bulbs garlic tulips
Jurga Jot/Shutterstock

Plant Bulbs

A colorful garden in the spring requires fall-ready planting. Plant early flowering plants in September when they can still take advantage of fall rains. Follow depth directions to avoid frost damage over the winter.

33 / 51
dfh17-sep020_11 crack cracked concrete steps stairs

Repair Cracks

Fluctuating temperature levels and moisture can wreak havoc on your driveway, sidewalks and steps. Take time to fall-ready your steps by repairing cracks and holes now before a minor problem becomes a major issue.

34 / 51
Snowy outdoor furniture
Irina Mos/Shutterstock

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.

35 / 51
FH08NOV_493_06_013 winterize your grill
Family Handyman

Winterize Your Grill

If you aren’t the type to barbecue all winter, use the fall to get your grill ready for storage. Proper cleaning of parts and routine maintenance to winterize your grill keeps this essential piece of summer equipment ready for better weather.
36 / 51
store hose hose reel storage outdoors
Ulf Wittrock/Shutterstock

Store Your Hoses

Locate all outside hoses and drain them for storage. Be sure to remove splitters or any other items from each outdoor faucet. If your hoses need to be replaced, this hose guide can help you find the best one for your needs.

37 / 51
winterize sprinkler system
Family Handyman

Winterizing a Sprinkler System

Sprinkler systems need the water blown out of them before winter freeze-up. If you have an air compressor you can DIY and save the hefty service fee. Save big bucks by blowing out the sprinkler system yourself.
38 / 51

Get Your Property Ready for Snow

Before the snow flies, take a few minutes to inspect your property. Remove rocks, dog tie-out cables, extension cords, holiday-light cords and garden hoses. Then stake out paths that run near gardens so you don’t accidentally suck up rocks and garden edging with your snowblower. Mark your walk and driveway perimeters by pounding in driveway markers. If the ground is already frozen, just drill a hole using a masonry bit and your battery-powered drill.
39 / 51

Set Up a Reading Nook

Nothing quite compares to curling up with a good book on a cool afternoon. Find a sunny spot at home to set up a reading nook.

40 / 51
clean fireplace

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, here’s when to clean a chimney flue.
41 / 51
Winterize lawn mower
Family Handyman

Clean Up Your Lawnmower and Other Yard Tools

A summer of hard use have probably left your lawnmower and other yard tools with a coating of dirt and grime. Don’t let that filth sit around all winter. Instead, clean and tune-up these tools to make them ready for the next heavy work season.
42 / 51
Family Handyman

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. Plus: Pumpkin spice deodorant? Yep, they’ve taken it too far!
43 / 51

Store Summer Toys

Put away big items such as bicycles, balls and hoops as a first step in your fall garage preparation.
44 / 51
Family Handyman

Check Exterior Caulking and Weatherstripping

Make a habit of checking the caulking around your house and the condition of your weatherstripping each fall. Inspect around windows, doors and anywhere else two materials meet to find and repair shrinking or cracking beads. Check weatherstripping around doors and replace when broken or missing – it’s super easy to do.

45 / 51
Chopping wood

Stockpile Firewood

Whether you have a source of wood on your property or need to purchase a cord or two, cool fall mornings offer a great time cut and chop wood to burn in your fireplace all winter long. And if you use a chainsaw,  brush up on your safety knowledge before you hit the forest.

46 / 51
Exterior faucet

Install Frost-Proof Outdoor Faucets

New outdoor faucets offer frost-proof protection and also prevent unsanitary water from contaminating your water system. Installing a new outdoor faucet takes just a few hours and will give you peace of mind all winter long. Remember, frost-proof faucets can still burst if you leave anything connected to them. Remove hoses and splitters before a freeze.

47 / 51
Family Handyman

Drain Mechanical Sprinklers or Risk Damage

I bought one of those sprinklers that looks like a little tractor. It follows the path of the hose on the ground. It was expensive, but it worked perfectly for my irregular-shaped yard; that is, until it spent the winter in my unheated garage. The residual water froze and destroyed the gears inside. The following spring, all it did was dribble water and make a clicking sound. I should have drained it before storing it. Just to be safe, I keep the new one on a shelf in the basement. If you’d like to find out how to save time and money on lawn watering, check out these 11 clever tips. — Editor Ken Collier
48 / 51
Clean and dirty furnace filters, changing furnace filter
Family Handyman

Change Your Furnace Filter

An easiest way to keep your furnace in good shape involves Changing your furnace filter. If you haven’t changed it in a while, make sure you install a fresh one before you turn your furnace on for the first time.

49 / 51
Family Handyman

Check Your Chimney or Risk a Fire

Creosote buildup causes chimney fires. You should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. If you burn wet wood (which you shouldn’t), have the chmney inspected or cleaned every 50 fires. Don’t remember the last time you had it cleaned by a pro? A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8-in. layer (or more) of buildup, call a chimney sweep. For additional expert chimney maintenance advice, check out what two certified professional chimney sweeps have to say.
50 / 51

Deep Clean Rugs and Carpeting

Take advantage of a beautiful fall afternoon to give your rugs a deep clean. Take area rugs outside and give them a good shake (or a good whack), then give them a thorough vacuuming with your shop vac. Don’t forget interior carpets, you can rent a carpet cleaner and give your carpet a deep clean before hosting holiday gatherings.

51 / 51
Snowblower the things you do
Marcel Jancovic/Shutterstock

Get Your Snowblower Ready for Service

Don’t wait until the first big snowfall to start up your snowblower. Take some time during the fall to get your snowblower running and tuned up so it can start spitting snow as soon as flakes hits the ground.