Bob Vila's 10 "Must-Do" Projects for September

September marks the official beginning of autumn, which means there are leaves to be raked and cold weather preparations to be made. But this month is more than just hard work. It's also a great time to snap up some deals and minimize clutter. Here are my 10 must-do projects for September.

  1. Shop Smart

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    September is widely considered the best month to buy home appliances. So if you've been putting off purchasing that new oven, now might be the right time. Manufacturers debut their newest models at this time of year, so you can pick up last year's version at a discount.

  2. Plant Bulbs

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    Home gardeners in Zones 1 to 7 can begin planting their spring bulbs in September. Before you plant, check the weather. Bulbs need several weeks to root before the ground freezes. On the flip side, if your region is too warm, you'll end up with sprouted bulbs. Not good.

  3. Change Your Windows

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    Whether you like it or not, cold weather is on its way. Old and inefficient windows leak a lot of heat, so be sure to switch out your window screens for storm windows—if you have them—before the frigid temps kick in. This swap will save you money on energy costs, protect your window from the elements, and eliminate drafts throughout fall and winter.

  4. Leaf Removal

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    Instead of just raking them up, mulch your leaves with a lawn mower to provide much-needed nutrients to your lawn. Despite popular opinion, even oak leaves are safe to mulch in moderation. If you have more leaves than lawn, try composting the leftovers.

  5. Service Your Heater

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    Prep your furnace now so you'll be ready for a sudden cold snap. Check the pilot light, vacuum excess dust, and change the filter. If you come across a problem that's too big for you to fix, call a pro so you're not out in the cold next month.

  6. Clean the Tools

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    It will soon be time to store lawn mowers and weed trimmers for the season. Before you do, be sure to clear them of clippings and debris. And don't forget to drain the gas tank—it'll make it easier to start your mower in the spring.

  7. Save Your Seeds

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    As your garden dies back, deadhead your flowers and harvest the seeds. Doing so could save you money in seeds and starter plants next spring, plus it ensures you'll have on hand the varieties you love. 

    Related: Starting Vegetables from Seeds Indoors

  8. Hold a Yard Sale

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    An end-of-summer yard sale will let you clear out your clutter and earn a couple of extra dollars in the process. Make it a success by keeping prices low and placing the best and biggest items out front to lure in passersby.

  9. Check the Roof

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    Winter weather can wreak havoc on the roof. Before the first snowfall, check your roof for loose shingles and leaks. While you're up there, clean fall leaves from the gutters to prevent basement flooding and ice dams.

  10. Organize the Garage

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    If your garage has fallen into disarray over the summer, now is the time to put it back in order. Turn to wall or ceiling storage solutions to tame the mess, especially if floor space is a hot commodity. 

    Related: Get Your Garage Back in 7 Sanity-Restoring Steps

  11. For More...

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