Whether you rent or own your home, it’s still critical to make sure it’s equipped to stand the next couple of months with the weather cooling down. Not only prep for the elements, but it’s also beneficial to start rolling out the warmer gear inside.

Our team has put together some of our favorite tips from popular home decorating and improvements sites to help get your family and home ready for fall. So, don’t forget to add these to-dos now:


From HOUZZ: Get organized for back to school (and work). Consider what would make this fall run more smoothly for your family: a few extra hooks in the entryway to handle coats and bags, perhaps? Or if papers are a constant problem, take the time now to set up a simple filing system and an inbox for each family member. For more.

From Good Housekeeping: Perform a pantry audit. First, remove all the cans and boxes from the shelves, and vacuum away any lingering dust or crumbs (a lot can build up in just a few months!). Then, inspect each item before putting it back in its place, tossing anything that is expired or past its prime. Consult our shelf-life chart as a helpful guide. For more.

From Chatelaine: Bring your outdoor pillows, in. We love that so many pillows on the market this season can be used indoors and outdoors. Add to your existing pillow collection by transitioning yours inside after the summer’s over. Tip: If you’re storing your pillows instead, put them in a box or garbage bags before placing them in your garage and shed. It will keep them fresh for next season. For more.


From Kiplinger: Hit the roof. Or at least scan it closely with binoculars. Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow. For home owners, if need be, hire a handyman to repair a few shingles ($95 to $125, according to www.costhelper.com) or a roofer for a larger section ($100 to $350 for a 10-by-10-square-foot area). Check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too. If you’re renting, let your landlord know if you see anything out of the ordinary. For more.

From Better Homes and Gardens: Chill out. If you live in an area with freezing weather, take steps to ensure that outside faucets (also called sill cocks) and in-ground irrigation systems don't freeze and burst. Here's how: Close any shut-off valves serving outside faucets, then open the outside faucet to drain the line. (There may be a small cap on the faucet you can loosen to facilitate this draining.) If you don't have shut-off valves, and your faucets are not "freeze-proof " types, you may benefit from Styrofoam faucet covers sold at home centers. For more.

From This Old House: Don't put that mower away yet. Grass continues to grown up to the first hard frost, and so will need regular cuts to keep it at an ideal 2½- to 3-inch height. If you let it get too long, it will mat and be vulnerable to fungi like snow mold. Cutting grass too short is just as bad, because it curtails the root system—root depth is proportional to cutting height—and impedes the lawn's ability to withstand winter cold and dryness. Regular mowing also gets rid of those pesky leaves, chopping them up and leaving behind a soil-enhancing mulch. For more.

From AHRN.com (a comprehensive list): Smoke detectors/Carbon Monoxide detector- Test all, put in fresh batteries, add any where a need has arisen since last time. Check expiration dates on your fire extinguishers, and if refilling is needed, call your fire department, who often does this on site gratis. Don’t have them? GET THEM! You should at least have  two around the house – one easily reachable in the kitchen. And take 3 minutes to familiarize everyone with how to actually use them! For more.

If you do rent, be sure you connect with your landlord if you come across any issues as you go through these tips because some improvements do involve maintenance jobs.