Everyone wants their home to be ready for the season ahead, but when it comes to choosing which projects to tackle, the decision can be a doozy. (So little time, so much to do! ) Liberty Mutual consultant and Curb Appeal: The Block star Chip Wade knows what to prioritize. The HGTV handyman gave us the inside scoop on how to get your abode looking its best for the colder months. Scroll down to check out his tips, and then grab your paint brush and get going — company’s coming!

Outdoor Projects

1. Clean the gutters. Flushing out the gutters isn’t going to improve your house’s appearance, but removing buildup and blockages can prevent future probs. Luckily, Wade says this can be a DIY job. “For smaller homes, I prefer to stand on the ground, or — if you’re experienced and comfortable — low on a ladder. I like [to use] a blower Shop Vac attachment as it doesn’t force water back under the drip edge, but the water pressure wand is a great last resort,” he says. When it comes to larger homes, the handyman says to go pro: “I recommend hiring a professional if your gutters are two stories high or more.”

2. Ready the yard. Sure, there’s nothing like a clean lawn, but removing yard waste and leaves is an investment in next season too. “Raking helps provide natural fertilization and helps new growth come next year,” Wade says. Before guests arrive, ensure the debris on the lawn has been bagged and tossed away. But don’t sweat it if you miss some: Leftover debris “helps provide natural fertilization before winter,” the HGTV star says.

3. Add color. The quickest way to brighten your home? Flowers. Wade proposes going with a seasonal favorite — mums — to really make a splash this season. Not only is this varietal inexpensive (most options are under $5), but they add the pop of color your home needs to look good in the barren weeks ahead. How ’bout that for a quick and affordable upgrade?

4. Refresh furniture. Now’s the time to revitalize that old rocking chair or porch swing. All it takes is a fresh coat of paint or stain to breathe new life into furniture that’s stationed front and center. “[It’s] a great way to trick your guests into thinking you remodeled the front of your house,” Wade says.

5. Enhance your walkway. Speaking of a welcoming first impression, a well-groomed walkway is another must. Since there are so many places to start, Wade recommends mapping out your entryway plan before diving in. “Rack out the pathway you want with dirt or stone dust, and then lay out bricks, flat stones, or slates like a puzzle,” he suggests. Once you’ve got it all assembled, keep safety top of mind — the last thing you want are spills or tumbles en route to the front door. Solar lights are a quick way to keep things well-lit. “They’re inexpensive and can easily line the driveway or your walkway to help prevent injury,” Wade says. We’ll take that as our cue to hit the home improvement store, STAT.

Indoor Projects

6. Check your furnace. Furnaces — so important, so easily overlooked. Wade advises having a pro check each furnace component separately. (It may just save you money on your energy bill in the long run!) Between technician visits, check your unit’s filters. “If you have a dirty filter, it means you’re breathing in dirty air,” Wade says. 

7. Test your smoke alarms. Your holiday parties should be lit; your home shouldn’t. Before cranking up the heat or lighting candles, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re working properly. Or save yourself a step by using alarms that operate on auto-check: “With smart smoke or fire alarms, the device will test the batteries for you,” Wade says.

Looking for even more home projects? Follow us on Pinterest for ideas!

(Photos via HGTV)