Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" Projects for February

Sure, February's a short month, but it's jam-packed with chores and planning. It's time to turn attention indoors, spiffing up bathroom grout and kitchen cabinets; organizing closets, rooms, and those dreaded tax documents; and helping the heating system by replacing filters and stopping up drafts.

  1. February Projects

    February Projects

    Even though February is the month with the fewest number of days, it does include one very romantic one: Valentine's Day! So show your house some love this month. Change your furnace filters, restore your tired kitchen cabinets, and add some architectural detail—and passion—to a bland room in need of character.

  2. Change Those Filters!

    Change Those Filters!

    Now that the heating season is in full swing—even in parts of the country not accustomed to (or prepared for) near-freezing temperatures—be sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. Why? Most of the air in your house circulates through your HVAC system, so furnace filters are your first line of defense against dust and airborne allergens.

    Related: How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter

  3. Clean or Replace Grout

    Clean or Replace Grout

    Regardless of how well you try to keep it clean, grout is one of those things destined to stain, crack, chip, and attract mildew. Inspect grout and caulk around tubs. If there are areas where grout is missing, remove it and replace it. If the grout is fine but covered with soap scum, simply sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, wipe down the grout and tile, and rinse with water. / Philip Friedman

  4. Stow Your Boots

    Stow Your Boots

    Along with the cold weather come wet clothes and soggy winter gear. If you are not lucky enough to have a mudroom, look for practical solutions for storing boots, clothes, scarves, and coats. You'll be surprised how easy it is to corral everything with some DIY boot storage and a coat rack.  

    Related: 17 Design Inspirations for Mudrooms and Entranceways

  5. Seal Up Drafts

    Seal Up Drafts

    Just as we lose body heat through our heads, our houses lose warmth through pesky drafts that sneak in through doors and windows. While it lacks the romance of a toasty fire in the hearth, stopping up those drafts can go a long way in preserving the heat generated by your radiator or heater.

    Related: Winterize Your Home on a Budget

  6. Do Some Early Garden Planning

    Do Some Early Garden Planning

    While it is too early to think about planting a garden, it's not too early to start planning for one. This is the perfect month to order seed catalogs and visit online sites to start choosing the flowers and vegetables that will fill your summer beds and gardens. Starting seeds indoors in February will give them just enough time to sprout and mature for transplanting come the thaw.

    Related:  Bob Vila Radio—Starting Seeds

  7. Give Kitchen Cabinets Some TLC

    Give Kitchen Cabinets Some TLC

    Your kitchen gets a lot of use, so it doesn’t take long before you start seeing signs of wear and tear on wood cabinets. Before you decide to invest in replacements, consider a more budget-friendly solution: DIY restoration. If the wood stain on your cabinets is worn, try cleaning with a mix of TSP and water, sand lightly, and apply a tinted polyurethane varnish. 

    Related: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

  8. Put Some Organization Into Play

    Put Some Organization Into Play

    Since you are stuck indoors, take the time to organize a closet or two—or be really ambitious and tackle a room that's in desperate need of some order. If you're trying to organize a child's room, check out these DIY storage ideas to help control the clutter.  

    Related: Get Organized—25 Clever Ideas for Repurposed Storage

  9. Get Ready for Tax Time

    Get Ready for Tax Time

    While you're in an organizing frame of mind, be sure to start collecting bank and investment statements, charitable contribution receipts, and everything else you or your accountant will need to prepare your taxes. This is particularly important if you sold or purchased a home last year, or if you made a retrofit that entitles you to an energy credit.  

    Related:  Tax Tips for Home Sellers

  10. Get Trim

    Get Trim

    Just as the right tie can really make a suit, or a well-chosen accessory can add some pop to an outfit, molding can turn a plain square room into a true showpiece. And remember: When you're considering how best to add trim to a room, don’t just think ceilings and floors. Looking for inspiration? Check out: Get Trim! 9 Ways to Dress Up a Room with Molding

  11. Show Some Passion

    Show Some Passion

    One way to add some punch to any room is with a bold color. Although choosing the best color for a room can be daunting, you can take the risk out of making a full color commitment by opting to paint an accent wall. If the color is red—all the better!   

    Related: 10 Unexpected Spots for an Accent Color

    Ralph Lauren Paint

  12. For More...

    For More...

    For more February projects, consider:

    Drab to Fab: 10 Fantastic Furniture Makeovers

    30 Things Every Homeowner Should Know

    Around the Block: 12 Upcycled Kitchen Islands

    j. Aaron Green for Furniture Makeovers/Chronicle Books

  13. Don't Miss!


    If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!