Add home repairs, cleanup to fall to-do list

Q: I can feel fall in the air, which means wardrobe changes and switching closets. Now I need a shortlist for fall improvements for my home. What can you suggest?

A: There is no shortage of advice on what to do and how to accomplish the list of things around the house and yard this time of year.

The transition period between summer and fall is the perfect time to begin planning priority chores around the house before buttoning down for winter. According to, projects to keep you on track this month include:

  • Ensure your furnace is working properly and get it inspected and/or serviced by a professional.
  • Clean heat ducts and registers and replace air filters.
  • Inspect the roof to spot problems and fasten loose shingles.
  • Clear debris from gutters to prevent interior leaks and damage to the home’s exterior.
  • Walk around the perimeter of your home and give any unsightly spots a touch-up of exterior paint.
  • Line up chimney cleaning services now, before they’re all booked.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, order firewood and stack it away from the house to prevent pest infestation.
  • Clean patio furniture before you store it for the winter.

Energy saving-items include:

  • Repair window caulk if you see brittle, cracked or separated caulk.
  • Insulate the hot water heater with a fiberglass insulation blanket.
  • Prevent energy leaks from electrical outlets by installing foam gaskets behind them.
  • If you are afraid you’ll fail to get a handle on your tasks, just schedule one per week.

Q: I want to do a little redecorating in my house, but I don’t know how to pick a style. Besides hiring an interior decorator, what can I do?

A: There are many ways you can “try on” different looks for your home. Whether redecorating or moving into a new space, you should look at various décor styles and consider the following:

Think about your clothing style. Many of us end up incorporating our personal wardrobe style into our homes, so this is a good place to start. Is your wardrobe simple and streamlined? Do you love accessories or jewelry?

Peruse the stores. Take an afternoon and walk through home furnishing stores, paying mind to sample displays. Take notes on styles and pieces you admire, as well as what you don’t like.

Snag a design catalog. Flip through an interior design magazine, circling favorite ideas and setups.
There’s an app for that. Several home design apps allow you to upload a photo of your space and fill it with make-believe furniture. This is a great way to try on styles. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself.

Don’t be afraid to have a consultation with an interior designer to pull together the plan. They may save you money when purchasing items and will work within your budget. Get referrals from friends who have had good results.

French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates. Email