If your autumn to-do list hasn’t gotten much attention between football games and hayrides, here’s a thought that may get you to check off a few more tasks: preparing for winter now will save you a lot of trouble when the ice and snow have melted next spring.

Let’s count down the top five things you’ll want to do right now, instead of having regrets in the spring.

  1. Landscaping preparation: Get your landscaping ready for the cold and snow — otherwise, when everything else is blooming, your lawn may reach wasteland status. Trim any tree branches that hang too close to your house or electrical wires, plant spring bulbs and be sure to lift any bulbs that cannot survive the winter freeze. And if you have any sensitive potted plants outside, it’s best to move them indoors or to a more sheltered area.
  2. Gutter clean-up: This isn’t anyone’s favorite chore by a long shot, but cleaning the gutters this autumn will keep you from dealing with overflowing water once spring temperatures begin to melt the snow that falls on your roof. Clear out all of your gutters and use a hose to spray debris out of the downspouts. You might also want to install leaf guards and downspout extensions that will help direct water away from your home.
  3. Foundation check: Remember that plenty of small animals will be looking for a warm place to stay for the winter. You don’t want to start off your spring season by finding a new generation of rodents being born in your basement. Checking your home’s foundation this fall will prevent such unwelcome guests from visiting. Secure crawlspace entrances, rake all debris and edible vegetation away from your foundation and seal up any cracks — keep in mind that mice have been known to slip through spaces as slim as a dime.
  4. Lawn equipment maintenance: Even though you won’t need your lawnmower or hedge trimmers for a while, once the grass and shrubs spring back to life, you’ll be glad you paid attention to the equipment’s condition in the fall. Instead of replacing neglected lawn equipment in the spring, take a few steps to maintain them now. Clean, dry and safely store all of your summer gardening equipment, and remember to drain the gas from your lawnmower and keep it out of the snow by covering it or storing it in your shed or garage.
  5.  Heating inspection: Don’t let high heating bills force you to rethink your summer vacation plans next year. Checking for drafts and inspecting your furnace now will keep your home safe and comfortable through the colder months while keeping your heating costs under control. Find and seal any exterior cracks: Use weather-stripping around doors and caulking around your windows, switch out summer screens and install any storm windows. And be sure to call on Blind & Sons for an expert furnace inspection, so you can be confident that your heating needs will be met in every season.

When you compare it to the headaches you could experience next year, this season’s to-do list doesn’t really look that bad. Go ahead and enjoy the fall leaves — and as long as you make time for a few home chores, you’ll be ready to enjoy the spring flowers, too.