Turkey Day Scramble: How to Clean Up Fast Before the Big Day

This is it: your last weekend to clean up before boatloads of relatives begin squeezing themselves into your kitchen, setting platters on every available inch of countertop and using enough toilet paper to cover a small army.

In essence, you’re going to need to clean house before the horde descends. After all, you have enough to worry about without Aunt Edna’s cracks about your housekeeping techniques. Here’s what you need to do to get your home in hosting shape—pronto.

Thanksgiving place setting

Speed Clean the Spare Bedroom

Is your spare bedroom more of a spare junk room? Then it’s going to need a cleanup, stat. Unfortunately, there’s no better way to do this than to put on your sweats and get down to it. But a little music will help you get into the groove—and of course, the looming pressure of Thanksgiving, which is drawing nearer every minute! To get yourself going, start with the stuff you know you’re going to toss and get rid of it. Be ruthless. It’s the only way you’ll make it through Thanksgiving with a few minutes to yourself.

Toss Anything You Don’t Need in the Fridge

It’s time for your refrigerator to go on a serious diet—otherwise, you’ll never be able to find a spot for all those leftovers! This is any everything-must-go situation, so seriously, unless it’s going in your belly next week, it needs to get gone pronto. Afterwards, give the shelves a quick wipe with a rag dunked in a mixture of vinegar and water. Make sure to swipe the bottoms of any condiment bottles and jars before replacing them as well.

Scrub the Guest Bathroom

We get that you’re on a tight schedule here—but if there’s anywhere you can afford to take your time, it’s in the restrooms. Besides the normal sweeping and scrubbing, try wiping counters and tiles with a microfiber cloth to pick up extra germs and dirt. For an extra-clean toilet, use damp pumice stone or scouring stick to remove scale and soap scum from the sides. And use cleaners to your advantage: spray them and let them sit for a few minutes before you start sponging off surfaces. It will save time scrubbing.

Wrangle the Coat Closet

Unless you’re a “lay coats on the bed” kind of household, you’re going to need some room in your shared closet space. This probably means tossing some junk you’ve been keeping in there for too long. But if you’re anything like we are, the process of deciding what stays and what goes can take a while—too long when you’re pressed for time. Instead, get rid of whatever you can now: outerwear the kids have outgrown, that broken vacuum cleaner. Cart everything else up to the attic or garage so you can deal with it later.

Quick Clean the Living Room

In short order, a lot of people are going to be hanging out in your living room, which means it’s got to be spic and span. Take all the clutter and throw it into a laundry basket for sorting at a later point (probably the next time you need to do the laundry). Use a microfiber cloth and dry broom to dust and sweep the floors with minimal effort, and then vacuum the couch and fluff the pillows. Make sure you have enough coasters to keep your furniture protected, too! Now, if only you could find a way to speed-roast a turkey!

Get Winter-Ready in 7 Easy Steps

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Whoever wrote those lyrics obviously wasn’t a homeowner! Winter snows may be picturesque, but they can do a number on your roof, sprinklers, and heating bills—at least if you’re not prepared, that is! Luckily, you aren’t powerless in the face of nature. These seven steps will get you ready for the snowy days ahead—no matter how frightful the weather gets!

snowy house

Inspect Your Roof

Roof leaks are unfortunate in any kind of weather, but in winter ice and snow, homes are at a particularly high risk for water damage. That’s why it will pay now to inspect your roof for missing, cracked or warped shingles and rusted flashing. Or just hire one of the pros to have a look. Roofers can safely check over your roof—and know how to spot the telltale signs of a problem before it begins.

Prep Your Sprinkler System

Water sitting in your sprinklers is a recipe for disaster—dealing with a burst pipe is no one’s idea of a good time. To prepare your irrigation system for the weather ahead, disconnect your hoses from faucets to let the water there drain out. Then drain and wind the hoses for winter storage. Next, hit up the sprinklers. Shut off the water at the main valve and turn off the automatic controller. Remove the drain valves to get rid of an excess water. Then disconnect the sprinkler heads and shake out any remaining water. Put them back on and let the weather do its worst!

Clean and Repair Your Gutters

Late fall is the perfect time to get your gutters cleaned and working in tip-top order, for several reasons: they’re likely brimming with leaves and debris this time of year and you’re going to need your drainage system clear and working when winter precipitation heads your way. Inspect your system to ensure that all gutters and downspouts are connected, without any apparent damage. Then hop on a ladder and use one of these quick techniques to get rid of collected leaves and sludge fast.

Tune Up Your Heating System

Few things are worse than waking up on a cold day to find out your heater’s stopped working. Prevent this kind of chilly surprise by giving your heating system a tune up now, before the worst of the cold weather hits. First off, change your furnace filters—it can make a big difference on your unit performance. Next, hire an HVAC professional to check your system levels, electrical connections and generally ensure that no looming issues are right around the corner. Worry-free heating? How cozy does that sound!

Seal Around Windows and Doors

Even a very small crack in window and door seals can have a big impact on your home’s energy bills—and your overall comfort, too! If you find any gaps large enough to fit your fingernail in, you might just need to re-caulk and reseal. Luckily, this is easy to do. Scrape out the existing caulk and reseal it with a bead of smoothed-down silicone sealant. For extra comfort, apply foam tape around the moving parts of all windows and doors, and add a sweep to your door for maximum comfort. Voilà! Instant improvement!

Trim Trees and Bushes

Tree branches loaded with snow and ice are at risk of falling—and when your home is in their path, it can spell trouble for your roof. Take care to trim tree branches and bushes now, after the growing season has ended. Hire an arborist or tree trimming service to do the high-up work, or to handle anything around power lines. You just might skirt disaster!

Stock Up on Winter Supplies

Don’t siege the store with the rest of the pre-storm shoppers for winter supplies like shovels, salt, or wood for the stove. Get these items ahead of time and save yourself the headache when storm predictions hit your area. With your supply cabinet stocked up, you’ll be able to handle anything the winter dishes out. Let it snow, indeed!

Last Minute Halloween Decor We Love

Confession time: We here at HomeBit love Halloween—there’s something about the spookiness and pageantry that really gets our motors revving. But we are terrible at it! Somehow, October just gets away from us and all the sudden it’s two nights before Halloween and we’re struggling to throw together last minute Halloween costumes (nothing like tearing your closet apart for that wig you got at a bachelorette party last year).

And then there’s the matter of your house. Before you know it, it will be Halloween night and all the little ghosties and goblins will be prowling your driveway, looking for candy and trampling your roses. Do you really want to be the boring, unfestive house on the block?

Of course, you can’t exactly turn back time and make it two weeks ago. That conundrum is exactly what spurred us to scour the internet for the best—and fastest—decorations available. These super-speedy crafts will help you get some pumpkins on the porch without sacrificing a whole weekend to the cause. Read on for the full spook, I mean, scoop!

spooky lady in front of fireplace

Mummified Front Door

No one will wonder which house is the party house once you get this mummy decor up on your door. Toilet paper wrapping plus construction paper equals instant fun—if you dare to enter, that is! Get the 411 from East Coast Creative.

DIY Pumpkin Balloons

Nothing spells P-A-R-T-Y like B-A-L-L-O-O-N-S. Store-bought is fine, of course, but it doesn’t exactly have the flair a custom-made DIY. Orange balloons and some elementary-level art skills are all you need to make this Martha Stewart-approved craft come to life!

Drilled Pumpkin Decor

Have some new power tools you’re itching to try? Give them a whirl on these decorative pumpkins instead! Easy to make and super modern, these give plain old jack-o-lanterns a serious run for their money. Mix and match drill bits for unique patterning.

Construction Paper Bats

Black construction paper is a ghoul’s best friend this time of year—especially if you happen to be very bad at planning ahead. Just cut these out using the downloadable template and be about your merry way—or should we say scary way!

Ghastly Window Silhouettes

Speaking of construction paper, get a load of these spooky window decorations! Carefully cut silhouettes are sure to inspire nightmares, making your house one of the spookiest on your block. Find tons of inspiration for your window decorations here.

Crafty Dryer Vent Pumpkins

Good for tablescapes and doorways, these spray painted dryer vent pumpkins get our vote for being resourceful and home repair-centric. No one will even know you got your supplies from the hardware store. You can find the full DIY at Grillo Designs, in case you’re wondering what resourceful little witches dreamed up this project.

And with that, we’ll let you get to your decorating. After all, the witching hour is nigh upon us!

6 Trees and Shrubs You Can Plant Now for a Beautiful Spring

Fall is the perfect time for so many things: hayrides, pumpkin pie and…planting shrubs? Yeah, we’re still working on that last one. But it is true that autumn’s crisp temperatures and frequent moisture make it the best incubation period for young tree roots. Growing trees and shrubs can get used to their new location and establish themselves, without the stress from heat. And the cooler weather encourages trees to focus on their roots, instead of leafing out above.

Of course, if you’re a horticulture newbie, planting your first tree or shrub can be intimidating. This guide from The University of Nebraska Extension should get you through the basics of digging and planting.

In general, it includes digging a hole twice as wide but slightly shallower than the root ball. Then fill the hole with soil and add mulch around the base to keep the surrounding soil nice and moist. Next, stake the tree to protect it while it gets a good root structure going. Nothing to it!

That just leaves what to plant. To help you make this crucial decision, we’ve picked out the hardiest, showiest and best plants money can buy—the kind of beauties that will vault your lawn to floral perfection once spring rolls around. Here are our top choices.

beautiful tree flowering

If You’re Looking for Convenience: Redbud

This low-maintenance showstopper is kind of like the Miss Congeniality of trees. It’s beautiful, but also easy-going. Redbuds do well in all but the most southern and northern US residences, letting loose a shower of snowy, pink blossoms in spring. As a smallish tree, they grow no larger than 20 to 30 feet, making them a good choice to plant near the home or in another close-knit spot. They liked to be mulched occasionally, and pruned once a year to trim away dead growth. Other than that, you can pretty much leave them on their own—and enjoy beautiful, delicate blossoms all spring for minimal effort!

For Something a Little Bit Different: American Fringe Tree

Looking for something a little less conventional? The fringe tree is a beautiful North American native with feathery white blooms and bright yellow fall foliage. Essentially, this one is a stunner all year long. Fringe tree likes slightly acidic soil and a moist, sunny location to flourish. Under ideal conditions, it can grow to 20 feet tall. It’s also a somewhat wider tree, so make sure to plant it somewhere with room to spread out. The female trees produce black berries that birds love, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking to get a visit from some local wildlife.

For Drought-prone Areas: Flowering Quince

Choosing trees and shrubs for dry, arid climates is tricky, sure, but certainly not impossible. Flowering quince has creamy pink blossoms and yellow crabapple-like fruit that belies its inherent drought-tolerance. This tough little shrub prefers moderate to light water, making it ideal for homes with watering restrictions or in dry, arid climates where water conservation is a concern. It can handle a variety of soil conditions as well and will tolerate moderate shade, so it’s both showy and tough—one of our favorite combinations!

For Tiny Yards and Apartments: Citrus Trees

A tree in a pot? You bet! Oranges, lemons and limes come in dwarf varieties that make lovely patio or balcony inhabitants—as long as you remember to bring them inside when the weather gets cold! To plant one, use a special citrus potting soil and place in a large, well-draining pot somewhere where it will get plenty of sunlight. Citrus needs at least eight hours of sunlight per day to flourish, so make sure to choose an especially sun-drenched spot in your yard. Water infrequently, keeping the soil moist but not drenched. Fertilize regularly with a commercial citrus mix.

For Shady Yards: Allegheny Serviceberries

Think of serviceberries as lilacs’ cooler, hipper cousin. Congenial and easy-to-grow with dense, snowy flowers, serviceberries also feature attractive fall foliage and decorative bark that makes them easy on the eyes all year long. True to their name, serviceberries produce small, edible fruits—a huge draw for local birds. And, of course, they can tolerate moderate shade, so they do well as a companion to densely-treed yards.

For a True Showstopper: Southern Magnolia

Long the star of southern lore, there’s ample reason for the magnolia’s long-standing reputation. Large showy flowers crown the magnolia in bloom, atop shiny deep-green foliage that offers a bit of shade on a hot day. The key to growing magnolia is to choose a cultivar that fits your yard’s conditions. There are cold-hardy varieties and compact varieties—essentially there’s one for any growing condition you need to meet. Plant young trees in moist, slightly-acidic, well-drained soil and supplement with at least one inch of water per week until the tree has had time to establish itself.

Whatever you plant, make sure to give it plenty of water the first months after planting. Young roots need lots of moisture since they may not be able to reach down to more remote water reserves. Water yours frequently and you can look forward to showy beautiful springs for years to come. Now you just have to make it through winter!

Your Ultimate Fall Maintenance Guide

Anne of Green Gables once said, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” But I’m guessing she never had to clean out any gutters. While October’s mild temperatures and gentle sunshine does make a person glad to be alive, those winter storms are just around the corner, bringing plenty of ice, snow and wind.

That makes right now an ideal time to prep your home for the harsher temperatures ahead. After all, the weather is still pretty agreeable, and the days are long enough to take advantage of evening sunlight. Checking off these tasks now will set you up for a long, worry-free winter—and give you more time to enjoy the autumn as well. Here’s everything you need to know.

kid playing with leaves

Clean Your Gutters

You probably don’t need to be reminded about this task; it’s usually pretty evident by the pile of leaves on the ground. But just in case you need convincing, you should definitely give your gutters some attention this time of year. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool on your roof or cascade over the siding, which means your next stop is Leak Central. Luckily, cleaning the gutters doesn’t have to be a massive headache. In fact, you can even install gutter guards after you finish to make the job a whole lot easier next time.

Give Your Windows and Doors Some TLC

About a third of a home’s heat loss occurs through leaky windows and doors, which means getting yours in peak winter condition is key to maintaining a comfortable home and reasonable energy bills. If your windows are older or inefficient, install storm windows over them to keep out the drafts. Next, move inside, adding foam weather stripping to the edges of doors and windows. Scrape out cracked window caulking with a razor blade and apply fresh silicone sealant to prevent drafts and heat loss. Install a door sweep at the edge of all exterior doors, and get ready for your coziest winter yet!

Get Your Heating Systems Cold-Weather-Ready

If La Niña has anything to say about it, most of us have a pretty wet, nasty winter in store this year. And that means our heating systems are going to be working pretty hard. Give yours a head start by putting in some maintenance now. The first thing you should always do is change the filters on your furnace. Dirty filters can make your unit work less effectively, which means less heat for your home. Another smart move is to have a HVAC technician out to perform a maintenance visit. Have them check the electrical connections and air pressure, recharging your unit if necessary. If you plan to use your chimney to heat your home as well, have it inspected and cleaned. Creosote buildup in chimneys is a fire hazard that’s preventable with professional cleaning. An inspector will help locate cracks in the chimney and flashing, as well. After all, nothing is nicer than a crackling fire to stave off the winter chill!

Trim Trees and Rake Leaves

Fall leaves need raking—that’s a no-brainer. Leaves left on the ground over winter can seriously stunt grass growth in the spring. Plus, raked leaves make great fodder for compost or mulch later. But you’ll also need to take your focus a little higher up, too. Dead tree branches and limbs can snap under the weight of ice and snow, causing all kinds of havoc. Usually it’s best to have a professional arborist or tree trimming service out to take care of this work, since trimming can be dangerous for untrained homeowners. The pros also know how to spot problem areas, like a hollow trunk, that might cause problems down the line.

Check Your Roof and Siding

Fall is pretty much the ideal time to have your roof inspected. Roofing inspectors look for loose shingles and damaged flashing that can lead to leaks in wet weather. They’ll also be able to scope out hail damage and other issues that might have popped up from summer thunderstorms. A professional roofing inspection is recommended every three to five years, so if it’s been a while, you’ll want to take care of that now. Another issue to check for? Look for cracks where the masonry meets the siding, or signs of peeling paint or cracked vinyl siding along your home’s exterior walls. Both of these issues should be dealt with before cold wet weather begins.

Take Care of Your Porch and Lawn

Now it’s time to turn an eye on your porch and lawn. First, bring in any potted plants that won’t survive colder temperatures and then store delicate lawn furniture, like anything wicker, in a covered area, like the garage. You should also remove any cushions and fragile decorations that might not make it through the winter intact. Now is also a good time to check the stairs and railings of your porch as well, to ensure that they will be safe to use in slippery winter conditions. Next, move over to the side of your house and turn off the valves to the exterior hoses. These can freeze in the winter and cause pipes to burst. Allow any leftover water to drain out of the hoses, as well. Roll them up and place them somewhere safe where they won’t be bothered by winter winds.

Last of all, grab a blanket and a cup of your favorite hot beverage and scope out this list for your latest Netflix binge. Now you have everything you need to last you through until the end of winter!

Pain-free Gutter Cleaning with These Fall Maintenance Shortcuts

There are probably a million other things you’d rather be doing than cleaning the gutters. Picking lint off a sweater, downloading a movie over slow internet, watching paint dry—all of these are more palatable alternatives to the back-breaking tedium that is gutter cleaning.

Getting the gunk out of the gutters means climbing up on a ladder and digging your hands into a pile of leaves, dirt and who-knows-what-else. Then you have to climb down, move the ladder a foot or so down the line and start the whole thing over again. Not exactly the makings of a great Sunday afternoon.

But cleaning your gutters is one task you don’t want to overlook, either. Clogged gutters can cause water to spill down over the side of your home, eventually damaging your siding. Or they can result in backups and pooling water that creates roof leaks, slowly breaking down your roof shingles—meaning expensive, highly-preventable repairs.

Okay, so cleaning the gutters is important. You get it. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a big pain in the you-know-what. Clever gutter-hating homeowners like you have discovered several techniques to make the whole process a lot less painful. Want to find out more? Well, come on then! The sooner you read this, the sooner you can have those gutters done and over with for the next few months!

fall leaves

Tip #1: Use a Hose

Sometimes the best approach is the tried-and-true method. If the debris in your gutters isn’t too bad, a hose may be all you need to flush them clean. Just hold the hose on one end and watch as the junk washes away down the chute. If your gutters are pretty full, though, you’ll need a trowel and a trash bag to scoop out the bigger bits of debris by hand and into the bag—a.k.a. the traditional method.

Tip #2: Use a Leaf Blower

Got a leaf blower at home? There’s no reason you can’t use it on the gutters as well as you can in the yard! Many leaf blower manufacturers sell attachment kits made specifically for gutter cleaning. In these kits, there will be several long and angled tubes that you can use to comfortably reach every nook and cranny of your gutters. It’s a million times faster than the hand-scooped method. In fact, it’s even kind of fun!

Tip #3: Use a Shop Vac

Shop vacs are handy little inventions to clean up a number of household messes—everything from a pile of sand to fireplace ashes. Little did you realize, however, that that same ingenuity can be used when you’re cleaning your gutters as well. A shop vac cleaning kit is a specialized attachment that lets you easily reach up and over the gutters and into the gunk. For best results, you’ll need a wet dry vacuum equipped with a blower port and a 2.5-inch diameter hose. From there, it’s simply a matter of turning it on and watching it go!

Tip #4: Use a Robotic Gutter Cleaner

Technology has the potential to solve all kinds of little household headaches—and now, it’s finally fixed the issue of cleaning your gutters, too. A robotic cleaner, like this iRobot Looj, is like a Roomba for your gutters. It comes with a remote control that you can use from the ground to maneuver the cleaner around corners. With multiple adjustable cleaning settings, it can handle just about any grit you can throw at it. (You can watch a demo of the cleaner at work here). Now, this is what we had in mind when we dreamed of the future!

Tip #5: Hire a Professional

Sometimes your best bet is to throw in the towel and call in the pros. Professional gutter cleaners will run you somewhere between $50 to $250, but it may be worth it if you’re afraid of heights—or just not keen on handling gunk and debris yourself. A three-story home, unruly bushes, or gutter covers may drive up the costs slightly, so make sure you get a detailed quote before you decide on a company. After that, all you have to do is kick back and watch the professionals work their magic—in other words, get busy enjoying your weekend!

7 DIY Halloween Home Projects to Do This Weekend

What’s your Halloween style? Spooky and creepy? Cute and festive? Do you gravitate toward elaborate gothy Victorian decor? Or are you more into country harvest couture? Well, no matter how you prefer to deck your home, with the Halloween festivities at hand, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to showcase your taste through a few DIY decorations.

We’ve scoured the Internet for the easiest, most stylish projects—the kinds of things you can whip up in a weekend or less. After all, on this, the most hallowed evening of ghoulery, there’s no such thing as going overboard. So pull out your crafting equipment and get ready for a maker bonanza that will soothe your Halloween-starved spirit!

creepy pumpkins and candles

This Glitzy, Glam Leaf Garland

Autumn leaves are basically nature’s way of freshening up the decor. And while that totally works for the outdoors, for your home, you may need something just a little bit sparklier! That’s why we recommend this shimmery, shiny homemade leaf garland. It’s everything you love about the fall with just a little hint of urban glamour.

These Ornate Candlesticks

If your personal style is best personified by Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice, you’ll love this next project. These gothy, baroque candlesticks have all the haunted qualities of an Edgar Allen Poe story—in the best way. They offer the perfect mood lighting for a little impromptu seance or a ghostly dinner party with a couple of your best ghoul pals.

A Set of Picture-Perfect Pumpkins

Carving a pumpkin is a time-honored October tradition. Unfortunately, it’s also messy, slimy and time-consuming. If you’re looking for an easier, chic-er alternative to the conventional jack-o-lantern, consider these high-class painted pumpkins instead. There’s literally no end to the amount of patterns you can try!

An Eerie, Floating Witches Hat Luminary

Luminaries are usually reserved for other holidays, but these light-up witches hats are eerie and awesome. All you need is some fishing line, a few costume hats, and some LED glow sticks, and you’re set. It’s enough to bring out the inner witch in all of us!

Or This Creepy, Crawly Eyeball Wreath

A wreath on the door is a wonderful way to add a touch of the season to your front entryway. But this ghoulish eyeball specimen will definitely clarify your stance on Halloween decor: that is, go spooky or go home!

Set the Scene with These DIY Decals

Maybe it’s just a trick of the light—or maybe it’s the garageful of hair-raising decals you just just slapped together! Armed with a sheet of adhesive vinyl and your imagination, you can make all your most dreadful nightmares come alive, in the form of these chillingly classy silhouettes!

Go Vintage Goth with This Printable Fabric Art

If you salivated over the pictures in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children or couldn’t get enough of the outfits in Spooky Hollow, then this next tutorial is for you. With these creepy, antique printables, hung in crafty embroidery hoops, you can get some truly frightening wall decor for a very tight budget. Miss Peregrine would be proud of your ingenuity!

If you liked those, follow us for more Halloween tips throughout the month! Until then, keep it spooky!

A Bountiful Harvest of Fall Decor Ideas

Hello fall, and hello fresh new decor! The signs of autumn are all around us—leaves beginning to turn, pumpkin everything at the store—which means it’s high time you gave your home some autumn spice of its own. Accents like chic throws, quick candle crafts, and porchside creations offer a quick way to get a hit of autumn gold in your home, without completely rearranging your living room. Because the best decor changes aren’t permanent, here are several ways to capture the flavor of the season at home—at least until it’s time for holiday decor!

couple enjoying a cozy fall day

Toss a Cozy, Fallish Throw over Your Living Room Couch (and Put one in Out on the Porch, Too!)

Crisp autumn nights recall evenings snuggling under the coziest blankets, so a patterned throw captures the spirit of fall both in looks and in function, too. Plaid is the gold standard here; this pattern has country comfort written all over it. But for a more stylish option, try a rustic weave in fall colors, or an luxurious knit chenille for the ultimate autumn retreat. And make sure to put on out of the porch or back patio for some fall stargazing!

Create Some Fall Ambiance with These Homey DIY Scents

Candles definitely set the mood for fall, good for everything from some cold-weather cuddles to dinners with the family. In particular, we love these DIY scents from Chasing Foxes. Can’t wait to try the coffee-beans-and-french-vanilla-candle hack at home this fall!

Or Craft a Mason Jar Luminary for the Front Porch

Speaking of DIY candles, this homemade luminary has got that candlelight glow on lockdown. And it’s easy to make with this simple tutorial from Create, Craft, Love. One of these would look great in gold or burnt orange too, and would be the perfect way to light up the porch come jack-o-lantern season!

Learn How to Preserve Leaves and Open Up a Plethora of New Craft Projects

At its core, autumn is all about the leaf action (they do call it “fall,” after all). But leaves are so fragile! One minute they’re a lovely bouquet of fall color, the next, they’re dusty husks crumbling on your kitchen table. These leaf-preserving techniques will allow you to appreciate the honored guests of the season all year long. And then you can make something like this stylish leaf hanging! Score!

Decorate Your Porch in Haute Fall Style and Make Your Neighbors Jealous

Fall is prime porch season—the agreeable weather makes it a great time sit outside and drink in the scenery. But a truly beautiful porchscape requires a little more creativity than just scattering a few gourds and pumpkins here and there. In particular, we love fall porches decked with antique accents, like rocking chairs and rustic carts and wagon wheels or burlap touches like a DIY wreath on the door. Throw a couple of mums in a galvanized tub, and you’ll have a jaw-dropping design that will make you wish it was fall all year long!

Create a Classy, Chic Fall Centerpiece

Most of us love a good fall craft, but would be happier if said project didn’t wind up looking as though a glitter bomb had accidentally gone off on it. This chic fall centerpiece idea gets major bonus points for its Williams and Sonoma-influenced style. And it’s all made with things you can easily pick up at the crafting store. Now there’s something to toast to—preferable with a mug of something steaming and spiked with nutmeg!

7 Things You Might Not Know About Fall Lawn Care

Fall is definitely well under way, but that’s no excuse to abandon your lawn. Your turf needs your attention at all times of the year, but especially now, when late season seeding, watering, and fertilization can mean the difference between a vigorous, healthy lawn and one that’s sick and spindly come spring.

In particular, now is the time to get your grass prepped for the long winter ahead by feeding it plenty of nutrients—and ensuring that it can absorb them all. Of course, knowing how to do just that—and when to do it—can make or break your turf game. Here are a few pointers you may not have heard yet, and some things you can do to get your grass all set for the colder weather ahead.

grassy lawn

Continue Watering Well into Fall

Most people think they can turn off the sprinklers the minute the weather gets just the slightest bit cooler—after all, nature will take it from here, right? Not so. Lawns should be watered up to the first frost in order to keep them well-hydrated during the fall. That way, they’ll be healthy enough to survive any hot and dry spells that occur throughout this period. In fact, if you live in the north, your grass is busy establishing roots right now, which means it’s important it stays watered so as not to impinge on this growth. So keep those sprinklers going!

Your Fall Lawn Care Regimen Depends on the Type of Grass You Have

You probably see articles recommending you do this or that to your lawn, but actually it’s hard to give an exact prescription for the perfect lawn care regimen. That’s because the steps depend on the type of grass you have in your lawn. Cool season grasses like fescue, ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass need plenty of fertilizer in the fall to sustain their root systems over the winter. Warm season grasses, however, like Bermuda, zoysia and St. Augustine go dormant much earlier in the season, and so may not need as much primping and tending to.

Falling Leaves Can Harm Your Turf

Ever left something out on your lawn for a couple of days, only to discover a patch of sickly, pale grass underneath it afterwards? A similar thing occurs when the trees drop their leaves. While a leaf or two here and there won’t really hurt anything, a heavy coat of fallen foliage can imperil your turf, robbing it of vital sun and moisture. To prevent that from happening, it’s best to rake leaves regularly and thoroughly.

Now’s the Perfect Time to Aerate Your Soil

Turf-covered soil can become compacted over time, especially if you have a lot of clay or silt in your soil composition. When compaction happens, it’s more difficult for the roots to take in nutrients, which means a less lush, healthy lawn in the spring. You may not need to aerate your soil every year, but you should at least address it ocassionally with a core aerator to keep growth steady and dependable.

Always Overseed Your Lawn

Seeding your lawn is one of those few times where “too much of a good thing” doesn’t apply. Overseeding for a thicker, fuller lawn is a pretty good battle plan against weeds, since your best defense against dandelions and other invaders is a healthy, vibrant lawn. So go ahead, spread that seed with a liberal hand. It will also help to fill in any bald patches that resulted from summer dry spells. Win-win!

Wait for Colder Weather to Fertilize

In life, timing is everything. The same adage holds true for your lawn. If you fertilize cool season grasses too early, the turf will get confused and start sending up new growth: tender, young blades that will die off the next time there’s a frost—and use up your grass’s winter food supply in the process. Always wait until late fall to apply fertilizer, and use a slow-release granular product that will tide your grass over until spring.

Kill Weeds Naturally with Vinegar

Fall’s a great time to attack common weeds like dandelions and plantains. The reason? Just like your grass, weeds are about to go into conservation mode for the winter, meaning they’re more likely to be in a weakened state right now, and thus, easier to remove. Instead of spreading a bunch of pesticides, however, try hitting them with a mixture of 5 parts vinegar, 2 parts water and 1 part everyday dish soap. The solution, when applied with a spray bottle, stops dandelions in their tracks—without harming beneficial micro-organisms in your soil. A healthier, all-natural lawn? Where do I sign up?

5 Homemade Burlap Accents for a Rustic Chic Fall

Did you see that leaf fall? Can you feel the tang of apple cider and pumpkin-flavored everything in the air? Autumn has definitely arrived—in spirit, if not in any official capacity—which means for the next three months everyone will describe the air as “crisp” instead of “chilly” and you’ll get to trot out your softest, coziest sweaters.

Now, while we have nothing but good things to say about fall, its seasonal decor could use, well, a little help. The line between “rustic chic decor” and “cast-off scarecrow sweater from your fourth grade teacher” can be awfully thin sometimes. And burlap, everyone’s favorite fall fabric, is even easier to mess up—use just a little bit too much and suddenly everything in your home looks like the set of Green Acres.

To help, we put together this list of fashionable burlap decor that looks chic and celebratory—many are even DIY, to boot. That will give you plenty of spare cash left over for all those pumpkin spice lattes you have to drink!

burlap mat

Get Your Farmhouse Style On with Burlap Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are the perfect way to experiment with a new style, and you can switch them out seasonally to keep things feeling festive all year long. There’s no fabric that captures that fall feeling quite like burlap. Plus it’s sturdy enough to set outside for a dose of autumn on your porch and patio as well. Throw them in a seating area around an outdoor fire pit and instantly raise the coziness quotient.

Or Make This DIY Roman Shade

When at home, do as the Romans and hang a Roman shade! These simple, minimalist window coverings are back in vogue after a long stint out-of-style. And since burlap is so affordable, you can easily sew one yourself for a fashionable alternative to store-bought shades. The beauty of a tutorial like this one from Sew a Fine Seam is that the finished product really lets you admire the simple variations in the fabric. It’s a great way to get rustic without going full-hoedown.

Greet the Season with a Burlap Wreath

An autumn-inspired wreath on the door gets you instant fall flavor—and says “welcome home” all in quick, easy-to-make dose. Even novice crafters are able to crank out whimsical, fun fall decorations with the help of this two-minute burlap wreath tutorial. Dress it up with some ribbons and mums and you’ll be all over this homemade crafting thing. Plus it will instantly signal to anyone walking through the door that your heart lies with fall, and fall alone.

Feel Fallish While You Eat with a Homemade Burlap Place Mat

A stylish and autumnal place setting is just a DIY away with these helpful burlap printing instructions from Two It Yourself. Use them to create a set of uber-unique place mats that will rival anything you can buy at Pottery Barn. If you’re new to fabric stenciling, you can use this guide from The Spruce to hit the ground running. You’ll be able to make all kinds of burlap accents, and your dinner guests will never guess that it all cost under $10!

Dress Up Your Table With This Tasseled Burlap Runner

Thanksgiving is pretty much peak fall, and it’ll be here closer than you think, so it’s never too early to start doing some planning. This handmade table runner from Sutton Place is practically dripping with fall charm and requires absolutely no sewing to make, earning it big ups in our book! Just imagine the turkey and all the fixings sitting on top of that. It practically makes your mouth water just thinking about it!

These projects should give you something to do on those cozy nights by the fire—in fact, there’s enough here to keep you busy all the way until peppermint mocha time. Until then, happy home decorating!