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Fall projects for your home, yard, body & mind

Fall is a season of celebration and goodness, full of apple picking, baking and enjoying the crisp autumn air.  Sometimes I forget that I should also be “storing up for winter” during all of the fun.

But the days are coming when it gets dark early and we spend most of our time cooped up indoors.  There are things we can do to prepare our homes, yards, bodies and minds for the winter season. Make your list now so that you can do a little bit at a time and still enjoy the changing leaves and seasonal fun.

At Home

  • Make sure you’re breathing fresh air this winter by changing your filters and/or having your ducts cleaned.
  • Save money and stay warm by checking the seals around doors and windows. If you lose a lot of heat through the windows in your home, consider heavy drapes or tint, which serve as insulation and holds the heat in as well.
  • Drain your hot water heater to remove sediment and improve performance. If your hot water heater is in your basement or garage, consider wrapping it in insulation to make it more efficient.
  • Clean ceiling fans and then reverse their direction so they turn clockwise and push warm air down.
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and replace their batteries.
  • Fix cracks in your sidewalk and driveway and secure any loose handrails to make those surfaces safer in the snow and ice.

In Your Yard

  • If you don’t already have one, fall is the perfect time to start a compost pile so that it will be ready for spring gardening. Use leaves and garden debris to get it started.
  • Prune dead branches on trees and bushes, but save the rest of your pruning for spring!
  • Add mulch or other top-dressing to protect perennials from winter frost.

For Your Body

  • Create a plan to make sure you get the exercise you need to stay active and healthy during the winter. Enlist a walking partner, make a plan to hit the gym several times a week, or fire up Wii Fit and get moving at home.
  • Look for natural remedies such as coconut oil and natural lotion bars to protect your skin during the cold winter months.
  • Remember that you still need to drink plenty of water during the colder months, even if you prefer curling your hands around a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Update your menu plan to incorporate seasonal fruits and veggies and hearty soups into your diet.
  • Take a cue from the shorter days and commit to sleeping more during the winter months, at least seven to eight hours a night.

For Your Mind & Spirit

coffee and a good bookPhoto by icultist

  • Even though we’re heading into the busy Christmas months, there’s nothing better than wrapping up in a blanket with a good book in the dark evenings of wintertime. Make a list of books you’d like to read over the coming months and set a reasonable goal for how much you’ll read each week.
  • Winter can also be a time of staying home more without busy sports schedules and hours of daylight to keep us running around. Is there something you’d like to learn more about or a skill you’d like to practice? Start stocking up on supplies and researching the topic now so you can learn something new this winter!
  • Look for volunteer opportunities that the whole family can participate in. For stay-at-home moms and homeschooling families, getting out of the house when you might be tempted to bunker down (I know I am!) is good for you, and everyone can benefit from helping those in our communities who need it. Serve at a soup kitchen, take meals to shut-ins, or shovel your elderly neighbors’ sidewalks and driveways when it snows.

Enjoy harvest time this fall, but start thinking about how you can prepare for winter in the midst of your celebrations!

How will your family prepare for the upcoming winter?

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Samantha @ Mama Notes

    These are all great tips and reminders, thank you! Happy Fall! 🙂

  2. Trevor

    That is an excellent list of things to do to prepare for winter. I am reminded that I still need to trim a few branches and seal up some drafty areas.

    Hey, another item if you live where it freezes and you have automatic sprinklers, you will want to get the water blown out of the system so the underground piping doesn’t freeze.

    For dry skin coconut oil is excellent, we use and enjoy it. It makes for a good message oil as well. I like the pure coconut oil, I think they refer to it as virgin oil just like virgin olive oil. If you melt the oil it will be pure white and smell like coconut.

    A compost pile is a great idea as I plan on having a garden next year.

    Thanks for sharing the list.

  3. Micha

    Thank you for the ideas. I’ll plant some daffodiles in our garden and prepare it for winter, prepare some freezer food and visit the book fair in Frankfurt this weekend for very much inspiration for reading.

  4. Katy from Albuquerque

    Super ideas! Also – (and I write this to remind myself) that it’s the time to plant any bulbs you may want to enjoy next spring! Last year I forgot and the bulbs just sat there all spring and summer in my garage! So I need to write it down as a fall weekend project for me and my littles! 🙂

  5. Ashley

    Great tips I’m going to try composting this year (hopefully) so this reminded me to make note to do so!


  6. Barb

    Wonderful tips! In fact you have reminded me of some things that I have wanted to do and that I need to do. I just made a list and that water heater blanket is on it! I am rather new at this homeowner business and I was not aware that I had to cover my perennials lol. Thanks for letting me know that.
    One thing that I plan on doing very soon is taking Fall family photos while the colors are great and the leaves are on the trees.

    • Mandi @ Life Your Way

      That’s a great one, Barb — I’ve had this picture in my head for a couple of years now of capturing my girls walking on the dirt road by our home as the leaves change colors, and I hope to capture it this year. If the sun ever comes out again!

      • Barb

        Aww what a beautiful idea! I love photos. I am sending sunshine vibes your way 🙂 We live in Michigan and it’s beautifully sunny today and more is on the way in the next few days! There is hope for everyone if Michigan has sunshine 😀 Hope you’re able to take those photos you have envisioned and they come out even better than you had anticipated.

  7. Lori

    What a great post! I had no idea you should (or could) change the direction of ceiling fans! Just changed all of mine!

  8. Alison @ Femita

    I’m not a winter person at all, but this list makes me even look forward to the cold season. It all sounds so cosy and I must admit winter is an excellent time to take some more time out for yourself. Less obligations, less social gatherings etc. My goals for this winter are to read at least 5 classic novels and learn 1000 new French words. Good luck to all of you!

    • Mandi @ Life Your Way

      It does sound cozy, doesn’t it? I love your goals!

  9. Kara @Simple Kids

    This is a good list of reminders and tips, Mandi! I always seem to forget things like new air filters and changing the direction of the ceiling fan, but those are both things I should add to our list as we get the house ready for the cooler months ahead.

    I really like your mind & spirit suggestions, too. I have a list of books I’d like to get read this year, some leftover from my Summer list.

    I needed that reminder about not just drinking coffee, too but adding in some water 🙂

    I love the cooler months, perfect for hunkering down with some knitting!

  10. priest's wife

    I am loving your blog- I always find so much useful, inspiring info

  11. L.

    Wait, “Christmas months”? Christmas has gone from a day to more than one month now?

    • Mandi @ Life Your Way

      Well, I suppose it differs from family to family, but yes, we like to celebrate the Christmas season for more than a month!

      • L.


        • Mandi @ Life Your Way

          I’m not sure I understand — baking, giving, making gifts, reading about Jesus’ birth — why is it yikes to do that for more than one day?

          • L.

            More of a good thing isn’t always better. If we eat ice cream for dessert every night it doesn’t have the same excitement.

          • Mandi @ Life Your Way

            We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I don’t see celebrating the Christmas season for 4-6 weeks (anyone who makes handmade gifts knows that it takes at least that long if you don’t want to be stressed out) as the same thing as eating icecream every night for dinner, but the great thing is we each get to make choices for our own families!

          • Nicole W.

            You have some EXCELLENT ideas here, My life is out of balance and this is just what I needed.

            But Christmas months? I’m with L. on keeping Christmas in perspective. You didn’t say for more than one day, you said months.

          • Mandi @ Life Your Way

            I think perspective is great, and if you’ve found traditions that work for your family and keep you from getting stressed or caught up in it all, I really do applaud you for that. For our family, spreading out the to-do list as well as the fun stuff from the holiday helps us maintain that perspective. And yes, that means I’ve started making Christmas lists, working on my Christmas cards, updating my address book, etc., and my girls and I will start working on our homemade gifts soon. So, yep, months!

  12. Alissa

    Thanks for this great list! As much as I love fall, I’m still mourning our OH SO SHORT summer, so this is a great boost to get going on fall projects. I’m printing and taping this list to the fridge.

  13. Ramblings of a Woman

    This is a great list Mandi! I like the way you have a wide variety of areas to work on, not just house or yard, but yourself!

  14. Andrea (@ Puppy Dog Tales)

    I love these ideas. Especially wrapping up in a warm cozy blanket and reading. I used to read entire weekends away before I had kids. HA!

  15. Jenna

    I make most of my holiday gifts, so I need to start working on them now. I’m thinking about doing tshirt ties for the men in my life and making mulled wine spice bags for hostess gifts and for my female friends 🙂

  16. Jo

    This is fabulous – thank you! I like that it incorporates seasonality within the tradition of Advent as well as the 12 days of Christmas – a distinction often forgotten these days. Having the list like this means anyone can adapt it to their family’s needs.

  17. Daisy

    I enjoy autumn Sundays out in the woods, reading a good book on the couch and cooking hearty soups and stews, preparing for the Christmas season. Happy fall!

  18. Emily @ Random Recycling

    Great suggestions!
    I would also add getting outside for long walks while the weather (and daylight) is still cooperating. I will miss evening walks when it gets dark as I won’t get to check in with my neighbors as much as I would like.

    I also agree that the Christmas (or holiday) season is worth recognizing for more than a day. It’s such a wonderful time of year, the more we plan ahead for it the less stressful it can be.

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