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Four (Now That the Kids Are) Back to School Fall Project Ideas :: Organize, Paint & Prep for Winter


Shhhh. Hear that? It’s quiet right? That’s the sound of the kids back at school. Playtime is over and it’s nose to grindstone for everyone. Happily, the heat is slowly releasing its grip and there’s a sense of energy, meaning – it’s a great time to embark on new projects around the house! We have some helpful ideas here at Canton Ace Hardware.

Editor’s Note: We covered the grand opening of Canton Ace Hardware, here.

Four (Phew!) Now That They’re Back to School Fall Project Ideas


This one is a no-brainer. A new wash of color can completely change the way you look at your home and feel inside it. We don’t recommend interior painting in the cold months when windows are closed, so tackle room makeovers before the weather turns.  Oranges and teals are very popular right now, and we also happen to have a new paint line called Clark+Kensington (paint and primer in one product!) with a gorgeous palette to choose from. If you already have a color you love, we can custom match it for you.

Remember, your paint job is only as good as the prep work that goes into it. Clean the walls and spackle holes and imperfections. Also, use high-quality painter’s tape to cover the areas your won’t be painting (we love Frog Tape). When you finally get to painting (the fun part), you’re mantra is “M” and “W,” meaning will roll the paint on the wall in these letter shapes.

Paint Department Supplies: Paint, spackle, spackle knife, brushes, tape, buckets, pans. 

Editor’s Note: And for many more painting tips, see our category – Painting.


Prep your Soil

Fall is the time to get your garden ready for next spring. The soil is still warm and easy to work with, making tilling a much less laborious task. Also, when you add in soil amendments now, you’re giving it time to break down with the existing soil and become active.

First you want to dig up those weeds. No mercy! Then, till the soil before spreading about 2-4 inches of compost or manure. This is also a good time to add in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphate and you’ll want to till the soil again to get those nutrients deep down into the earth. The last step is mulching the area to protect it for the winter.

Lawn & Garden Department Supplies: Garden tiller or fork, nitrogen, phosphate, compost/manure, mulch.

Editor’s Note: For tips on prepping your lawn for Winter, see our article – Winter Lawn Care.


Clean and Caulk Windows

We’re talking washing the inside and outside of your windows to wipe away the grime and gunk that can build up over humid summer months. While you clean, look for cracks or any places that may need caulking. Sealing your windows (and doors) keeps your home warmer and your utility bill lower in the winter. When applying caulking, hold gun at a 45-degree angle, squeeze the trigger and push-don’t pull-the gun along the gap. (Pushing the gun drives caulking down into the gap and gives you better adhesion.)

To tool the joint, first wet your finger with soapy water (if the caulking is formulated for soap-and-water cleanup) or a dab of automotive hand cleaner (if the caulking is formulated for solvent cleanup). Run your finger along the joint, smoothing it and pressing the caulking into the joint. Wipe away excess with a rag.

Weather Stripping Department Supplies: Caulk (try products made by DAP, who happens to be our neighbor in Canton), caulk knife, rags.

Editor’s Note: For tips on weatherizing with caulk, see our article – Getting Weatherized with Caulk.


Get Organized

Don’t save this project for once a year in the spring. Make “out with the old” a semi-annual mantra. There will be less to tackle and the task will go that much quicker. Donate unwanted items to charity or host a garage sale, and store out-of-season clothes in massive plastic storage tubs (we have a host of different sizes). Another thought: Outfit your closets with a new storage system. You can wing it by adding a shelf here, a shelf there, or go whole hog with a Schulte freedomRail storage system that you can change as your storage needs shift. (Schulte is coming to our store in late September).

Storage/Fastener Department Supplies: Storage tubs, shelves, shelf brackets, fasteners, wall anchors, power drill rental.

Editor’s Note: For more from on Closest design & organization, here.


For DIYers out there, we can help out with advice as well as a host of services including:

Stop by Canton Ace Hardware’s opening party on September 13, 6-8pm
1022 Binney St., 410-327-0404,

Note from the hosts:  I was pretty stoked when Charm City Hardware, aka “a Few Cool Hardware Stores,” contacted me about their opening in Canton.  Diehard readers might know my long personal relationship with Canton (nutshell: father raised, time growing up, lived, current rental property, home of Building Moxie 106 Yard Sponsor DAP … etc).  Count me in and I’ll be there this Thursday, so please do stop in. I appreciate the smart Fall Projects offering and do hope to continue relationship with this gang. This article is a great follow up to our earlier article – Four DIY Projects for College Students on Summer Break.

My near-term goal: To learn a little bit more about what Ace Hardware has to offer. (Again, check.) For now and to learn more, follow Canton Ace Hardware on Twitter and Facebook

Thanks for reading and happy Fall. ~jb

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