Save on Pinterest

50 Small Fall Home Projects to Do Over the Weekend

Knock out these must-do fall projects in just a couple of days and it'll be smooth sailing in your home all winter long.

1 / 51
Make This Coat and Mitten RackFamily 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. And you can build this project in a few hours, with an additional hour to apply a finish. To learn how to build this project and construction drawings click here.

2 / 51
Build a Shoe Storage Booster StoolFamily 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. How to make storage shelves: 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. 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!

3 / 51

Watch this video for more handy hints to prep your home for fall

4 / 51
Closet Nook ShelvesFamily Handyman

Closet Nook Shelves

Don't let the recessed space at the ends of a closet go to waste. One of our favorite ways to maximize the space you already have is to install wire shelving to hold blankets, towels or bedding.

Wire shelves are available 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.

Plus: Learn how to triple your closet space.

5 / 51
Create This Swedish Boot ScraperFamily Handyman

Create This Swedish Boot Scraper

Here's a traditional Swedish farm accessory for soles soiled by soggy springtime soil. The dimensions are not critical, but be sure the edges of the slats are fairly sharp? They're what makes the boot scraper work. Cut slats 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 cut. 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.

6 / 51
How to Sharpen Lawnmower BladesFamily Handyman

How to Sharpen Lawnmower Blades

The hardest part about sharpening a lawnmower blade is detaching the blade safely from your lawnmower. Once the blade is safely removed and held in a vise, a good file is all you need to add an edge to the blade. Just remember to make sure that you are sharpening 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: Tune Up a Lawn Mower

7 / 51
fix storm door closerFamily 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.
8 / 51
fix door that doesn't latchFamily 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.
9 / 51
Fix Loose HingesFamily Handyman

Fix Loose Hinges

One day the door closes smoothly; the next day it's sticking. 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 hinges carry most of the weight of the door and are almost always the first to pull out, especially after they've been repeatedly tightened over the years. Here's the best way to fix those loose hinges and beef them up.

10 / 51
unstick a sliding doorFamily Handyman

Unstick a Sliding Door

Sliding doors get sticky and hard to open when the wheels are out of adjustment or the track gets dirty. Here's how to repair your sliding door and replace a flimsy screen.
11 / 51
Repair Any Torn Screens or NetsFamily Handyman

Repair Any Torn Screens or Nets

Windows screens, mosquito nets, and similar barriers protect against inquisitive summer and fall pests, but only if they provide complete protection. And as long as the frame is in good shape repairs are easy and can be done in a few minutes. Here's how to make your screen door or window look good as new.

12 / 51
simple furnace fixes thermostat Family Handyman

Fix Your Own Furnace

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

13 / 51
replace damaged vinyl sidingFamily Handyman

Replace Damaged Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding repair is tough, but not indestructible. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball has cracked 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.

14 / 51
adjustable thresholdsFamily Handyman

Raise an Adjustable Entry Door Threshold

Those big screwheads 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.

15 / 51
shim gapping doorsFamily Handyman

Shim Gapping 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.

16 / 51
Change and clean dryer filterFamily Handyman

Wash the Dryer Filter

A common cause of poor drying is a clogged lint filter. The filter may look clean, but it may actually be covered by a nearly invisible film caused by dryer sheets. This film reduces airflow and 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, it’s past 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.

17 / 51
lubricate sticking doorsFamily 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 $3 at home centers.

18 / 51
organize garageFamily Handyman

Organize Your Garage For Less Than $200

There are lots of ways to create more storage space in your garage, but you won’t find another system that’s 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 studs. And because you can place hard- ware wherever you want (not only at 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.

19 / 51
programmable thermostatFamily 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. We show you how to install a programmable thermostat quickly and easily.

20 / 51
spider web critter proofFamily Handyman

Critter-Proof Your Home

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

21 / 51
window trimFamily Handyman

Stop Drafts Around Windows and Doors

If your windows or doors are a source of chilly drafts all winter long, the problem could be worn-out seals, weather stripping or thresholds. Then again, sloppy installation might be to blame. When cold weather arrives, hold the back of your hand near the edges of windows or doors to track down the source of leaks. If you feel cold air flowing out from behind the trim, chances are 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 your doors and windows are otherwise fairly airtight, the payoff can be big too. Stopping drafts not only makes your home more comfortable but also cuts energy bills.

22 / 51
insulate rim joistsFamily Handyman

Insulate Rim Joists

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

23 / 51
seal attic air leaksFamily Handyman

Seal Attic Air Leaks

Small air leaks into uninsulated attic space are a 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. We'll show you where to find the bypasses in your attic and simple techniques for plugging and sealing them.

24 / 51
Rake Those 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 click here for five ways to make this job a little easier so you are fall ready.

25 / 51
Aigars Reinholds/Shutterstock

Aerate the Lawn

To ensure lush grass and a healthy lawn in the spring, fall is the best time to aerate. 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.

26 / 51
Prep Your Gardenvia Ball Seed

Prep Your Garden

Prep your fall ready garden now for less work in the spring. Remove any annuals that are past their prime 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 and start planning your spring building projects!

27 / 51
Clean and Store Garden ToolsFamily Handyman

Clean and Store Garden Tools

Act now to protect your garden tools from rust, wear and tear. Be sure to give your tools a good cleaning, sharpen blades as necessary and be sure they're dry before you store them. After all of this prep they will be fall ready.

28 / 51
Inspect Your FenceFamily Handyman

Inspect Your Fence

Fall is 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 winter. This will result in damage all along the fence line. For the skinny on how to take care of any fence maintenance and make it fall ready, you may need to do, check out our guide here.

29 / 51
Clean GuttersJohn E. Heintz Jr./Shutterstock

Clean Gutters

It may be messy, but 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. Be sure to wear gloves and practice ladder safety when completing this fall ready job. Plus: The Best Gutter Guards for Your Home

30 / 51
Drain PondsFamily 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: How to Build a Backyard Pond and Fountain in One Weekend

31 / 51
dfh17-sep020_244204252 bird at bird feederPaul 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 will keep our feathered friends happy and fed for the winter. If you don't have a bird feeder or house, creating one is a great indoor project over winter.

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

Plant Bulbs

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

Plus: The Frugal Gardener: 10 Ways to Save Money in the Home Garden

33 / 51
Repair Cracks

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 furnitureIrina Mos/Shutterstock

Store Outdoor Furniture

Often overlooked but essential to keeping your outdoor living space in tip-top shape is cleaning and storing your garden furniture out of the elements. 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
Winterize Your GrillFamily 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 will keep this essential piece of summer equipment ready for better weather.

36 / 51
store hose hose reel storage outdoorsUlf 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
Winterizing a Sprinkler System

Winterizing a Sprinkler System

You can pay the irrigation company $125 every year to blow out your sprinkler system, or you can use your air compressor and do it yourself. You just have to be careful not to leave any water in the line or it might freeze over the winter and burst a pipe. Also be aware that even the largest home compressor isn't powerful enough to blow out the entire system at once, so you'll probably have to blow it out zone by zone.

If you're into number crunching and you have the original irrigation layout showing the gallons per minute (gpm) of each sprinkler head, just divide the total gpm of each zone by 7.5. That'll give you the cubic feet per minute (cfm) your compressor needs to blow out the zone. Otherwise, just rent a 10-cfm compressor and hose from your local tool rental center.

Set the compressor air pressure regulator to a maximum of 80 psi for rigid PVC pipe systems, or 50 psi for flexible black polyethylene pipe. Then turn off the water supply and set the system timer to open just one zone. Next, open the manual drain valve at the end of that zone (if equipped).

Close off both valves on the backflow preventer. Then remove the plug on the blow-out port and screw in a quick-connect hose adapter. Snap on the air hose and connect the other end to the compressor (see photo). Then blow out the line. The heads should pop up and spit out water. Disconnect the hose as soon as they run dry.

Don't overdo the blow-out—without water cooling the plastic gears, they can melt in less than a minute. So move on to the next zone and allow the heads to cool. Then go back and blow out each zone a second time.

38 / 51
Get Your Property Ready for SnowFamily Handyman

Get Your Property Ready for Snow

Before the snow flies, take a few minutes to inspect your property. Remove rocks, dog tie-out cable, 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. Mark your walk and driveway perimeters by pounding in driveway markers. If the ground is frozen, just drill a hole using a masonry bit and your battery-powered drill.

39 / 51
Reading NooksHomEsthetics

Set Up Reading Nook

There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book on a cool afternoon. Find a sunny spot at home to set up a reading nook.

40 / 51
Prepare Your 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: When to Clean a Chimney Flue

41 / 51
Clean Up Your Lawnmower and Other Yard Tools

Clean Up Your Lawnmower and Other Yard Tools

Your lawnmower and other yard tools are probably dirty after a spring and summer of use. Don't let that dirt and grime sit around all winter. Instead, clean and tune up these tools so they will be ready for the next heavy work season. Plus: Tune Up a Lawn Mower

42 / 51
Get Your Gutters ReadyFamily Handyman

Get Your Gutters Ready

Make sure your home is ready to 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 the necessary repairs. Ensure your gutters are clear of leaves and other debris and that your downspouts are directing water away from your foundation. Plus: Pumpkin spice deodorant? Yep, they've taken it too far! Check out these other outrageous pumpkin spice products available today.

43 / 51
Store Summer Toys

Store Summer Toys

Putting away big items such as bicycles, balls and hoops is a good way to start your fall garage preparation. Here are eight excellent bicycle storage ideas to help get you started.

44 / 51
Check Exterior Caulking and WeatherstrippingFamily Handyman

Check Exterior Caulking and Weatherstripping

Fall is the perfect time to make sure your house is properly caulked and your weatherstripping is in good shape. Inspect around windows, doors and anywhere else two materials meet to make sure the caulk is in good shape. Check weatherstripping around doors and replace if it's broken or missing – it's super easy to do.

45 / 51
Stockpile Firewood

Stockpile Firewood

Whether you have a source of wood on your property or need to purchase a cord or two, fall is a great time to spend cutting and chopping wood to burn in your fireplace all winter long. And if you're using a chain saw, make sure to brush up on your safety knowledge before you hit the forest.

46 / 51
Install Frost-Proof Outdoor Faucets

Install Frost-Proof Outdoor Faucets

New outdoor faucets are frost-proof 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. These other fall to-dos are a little less work and a lot more fun.

47 / 51
Drain Mechanical Sprinklers or Buy a New One in the SpringFamily Handyman

Drain Mechanical Sprinklers or Buy a New One in the Spring

I bought one of those sprinklers that looks like a little tractor. It's designed to follow 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'll 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
Change Your Furnace FilterFamily Handyman

Change Your Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your furnace in good shape. If you haven't changed it in a while, make sure you have a fresh one before your turn your furnace on for the first time.

49 / 51
Check Your Chimney or Risk a FireFamily 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 it 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

Deep Clean Rugs and Carpeting

Take advantage of one of those beautiful fall afternoons 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 vacuum with your shop vac. Don't forget our interior carpets—you can rent a carpet cleaner and give your carpet a deep clean before you start hosting holiday gatherings.

51 / 51
Get Your Snowblower Ready for ServiceMarcel Jancovic/Shutterstock

Get Your Snowblower Ready for Service

You'll want to be sure your snowblower starts before the first big snowfall. Take some time to get your snowblower running and in good order so it'll be spitting snow as soon as it hits the ground.