As much as we love summer, the first refreshing breezes of fall are always a welcome change. Along with that shift comes a few responsibilities, especially for homeowners. You want to make sure everything is in line so you can enjoy the cooler weather and be prepared for when winter comes. Here are a few things to do in order to get your home and yard in shape for fall.

Clean Up the Yard

As much fun as it is to watch autumn leaves change from green to brilliant shades of red and gold, they pile up quickly once they start falling, so be sure to clear them out as soon as you can and as often as needed. The good news is that gone are the days of leaf removal being back-breaking work. Now, all you need is a backpack vacuum, which will help youclear out leavesand other debris from your yard in one pass. (It can also be used on the deck and in the garage to pick up stray leaves, dirt and twigs.) It’s important to keep your lawn clear as much as possible– piles of leaves can be a haven to all kinds of pests— so make this task one of the first items on your to-do list, and keep up with maintenance jobs.

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning the gutters is no one’s favorite chore– in fact, it can be pretty gross– but you want to do it before the first freeze. If there is debris clogging them up and it hardens with ice and snow, the weight can cause serious damage. Hire someone to clean your gutters, or you can do it yourself. To help prevent them from getting overly clogged moving forward, trim any branches that hang over your roof.

Move Flower Pots Inside

If you have flower pots outside, make space in your sunroom or another area in your house with plenty of light for them to keep warm as the temperature drops. Some people plan on replacing the flowers the next spring. If you’re one of these people, this is the perfect time to empty, clean, and storethe pots for reuse next year.

Apply Fall Fertilizer to the Lawn

Autumn is the perfect time for fertilizing the lawn. First, you will need to aerate the soil to ensure fertilizer is well received. Aerating punches holes in the soil and removes plugs of dirt so your lawn can breathe. Then, apply dry fertilizerto help protect your grass. The roots of your grass continue to grow throughout the cooler weather, so fertilizing provides essential nutrients that ensure a healthy, lush lawn come spring.

Store Outdoor Furniture

Chances are that you spent a pretty penny picking out the perfect lawn furniture for your outdoor entertaining area. The harsh winter weather can strip its paint, rust its metal, and generally shorten the life of chairs, benches, tables, and chaises. Since you likely won’t be using them in the winter months anyways, store your lawn furniturein a shed or basement, and cover them to protect them from humidity.

Buy and Store Extra Gas

If winter months can be particularly harsh where you live, you may find yourself immobile during and after a heavy snowfall. Keeping an extra can of gasin the garage can help in a pinch. Even if you don’t need it, a neighbor or friend may need to borrow it for their car, snowmobile, or any other gas-fueled devices.

Have an HVAC Expert Inspect Your Furnace

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so having an expert check your furnace for leaks, carbon monoxide, and heating efficiency can help prevent a big headache come freezing temperatures. Now is also the perfect time to change your furnace filter and stock up on a couple extras to get you through until spring.

Stock Up on Firewood

If your family’s home has a fireplace or an outdoor area featuring a chiminea or fire pit, now is the best time to stock up on firewood. Come winter, your local stores will suffer from shortages, so piling up now will ensure you’re not left in a lurch. When storing firewood, it’s important to find a place that is cool and dry with minimal sunlight. Your shed, garage, or basement should serve you well.

Since autumn weather is still warm enough to enjoy, it’s the perfect time to conquer maintenance projects around the home. Some tasks, such as cleaning the gutters and having your furnace inspected, can prevent wintertime disasters. Other tasks, like storing your outdoor furniture and fertilizing your lawn, ensure you’ll have a beautiful home and garden come spring. Evaluate your home’s needs and create a chore schedule that wraps up before Thanksgiving so you can enjoy the holiday season with peace of mind.

Paul is the owner of Dad Knows DIY, which shows off helpful DIY projects.