As the year winds down, chances are you’re thinking about the upcoming holidays, the cooler weather on the horizon and making some plans to button down your house for the winter months.

This is a great time of year to tackle a few remaining home improvement projects. Not only is the weather a bit more amenable to working indoors, but you might also have some built-in deadlines for your projects, with guests coming to visit for the holidays.

There are a number of home improvement ideas that you can still implement this year that don’t take a lot of time or money and can help you feel great about your home during the winter months.

1. Choose manageable tasks. Keep in mind that most people underestimate the amount of time home improvement ideas will take, says Olga Krelin of Reach Design. “If people don’t want to get stuck with a huge mess for the holidays, I would keep it to manageable tasks that are not going to creep into other areas.” For example: Freshen up your entryway by painting your front door or installing a new one, paint your foyer, update your kitchen backsplash or recaulk your shower.

2. Take a bite out of your costs with credit card rewards. Use your credit card points or cash back rewards to help you finance smaller home improvement ideas and projects. Even items like paint or window treatments add up, and using your accrued rewards will help you achieve a more comfortable home for less money.

3. Do some painting. The remaining fall days are a great time to repaint the rooms in your house that need it. “Autumn is the last chance to get your repainting done for the year,” says Iris Wingfield, interior design consultant at Flat Pack Mates.“You can opt for low-VOC paint and have peace of mind that throughout the winter, when windows will rarely be open, you and your family will not be breathing fumes.”

4. Turn the closet into a mudroom. If some of the entry areas of your home tend to attract clutter, consider converting your hallway closet into a mudroom, suggests Lauren Haynes, home maintenance expert at Star Domestic Cleaners. “Remove the door, place a bench inside, add a small trash can and enough sections with bins and hooks for every family member and voila! You will handle all the disorganization and winter chaos.”

5. Clean the gutters. “Clogged gutters and downspouts can eventually cause a water backup and a leaking roof. As a result, water and moisture will get inside and ruin the house,” says Haynes. Regularly cleaning the gutters in the fall will help prevent major issues in the long run.

6. Repair your driveway. Examine your concrete or asphalt driveway for any cracks or holes. Fill the low areas, patch potholes and seal cracks in the fall now — before freezing temperatures create bigger issues, Haynes says.

7. Insulate your pipes. Make sure any exposed metal or copper pipes are properly insulated by wrapping them with foam insulation or insulated tape, and do the same for any pipes located in basements or attics, says Haynes.

8. Organize, organize, organize. “One great fall project is organizing the home for when you are stuck inside during winter,” says organizer Ben Soreff of House to Home Organizing. “People feel anxiety when they are not in control. Through proper organizing, you can take back control of your space.”

9. Winterize your lawn and gardens. Keep in mind these to-do items before the first big freeze, from Bryan Clayton, cofounder of GreenPal: 1) Aerate and overseed your lawn. 2) Winterize your irrigation system. 3) Remove dead annuals from your garden beds.

10. Add some light. “One of my go-to items to prepare for winter is installing tubular skylights in places that need extra daylight,” says Amy Samuel of Amy Samuel Designs. “This extra natural light helps combat the winter blues. They work well in large and small spaces and can be installed in two hours or less for around $600.”

11. Seal up your home. As the weather starts to cool, walk around the exterior of your home and fill any holes or cracks you find. “All you need is a can of expandable foam and a utility knife,” says Jeff Miller, cofounder of AE Home Group. “Especially around your exterior spigots. When the foam hardens, you can cut off any excess with a utility knife. This will insulate your pipes and keep them from bursting, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.”

12. Need a contractor? Try this insider tip from Miller: “Get up early one morning and go to your local home improvement or contractor supply store. As you see contractors come into the store, ask for their business card,” he says. “The best contractors are often the ones who grab their supplies first thing in the morning so they have the entire day to get the job done right.”

Before the holidays sweep in and take over both you and your schedule, identify one or more of these home improvement ideas that you can put into place to help you and your family enjoy your time at home as the winter chill comes to stay.

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