Home improvement projects to complete in November.


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Home improvement projects to complete in November.

By emily.bailey

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

November home improvement checklist | Schlage

Use this list of DIY and maintenance tasks for November so you don’t overlook anything your home may need before the holidays and winter.



More time indoors, plus an increase in guests coming and going, plus the rise of the germy season all mean we need to pay more attention to our home’s upkeep. Use this list of DIY and maintenance tasks for November so you don’t overlook anything. You’ll find helpful tips for inside when the weather’s bad, for outdoors when you feel cabin fever setting in and more. Download the November home improvement checklist, too.
Suburban home with fall leaves covering front yard.

Indoor home checklist

This month’s indoor to-do list focuses on bathrooms and kitchens, but we couldn’t leave you without at least one tip to make your home more beautiful.

White farmhouse kitchen.

checkbox Inspect and repair plumbing

Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest day of the year for plumbers. You can reduce the chances you’ll need one by making sure your plumbing is in top shape now. Look for leaks, repair a dripping faucet or a constantly running toilet, fix a drain or garbage disposal that’s running slowly.


checkbox Repair bathtub caulking

Cracked and peeling caulking can cause slow, hidden water damage. You might never notice all the moisture that seeped into your home’s frame until it’s too late. Replace grout and caulking to avoid this problem.


checkbox Holiday prep the kitchen

Organize your pantry again, tossing anything that’s expired or will go uneaten (we all have the best of intentions with that trending healthy snack food). Also clean your oven and range hood to keep it working efficiently before holiday meals. Finally, inspect small appliances like coffee makers, toasters, instant pots, air fryers and blenders. Clean them thoroughly and look for damage. If you see any frayed wires, missing or loose parts, or damage to heating elements, it’s time to replace them for safety’s sake.


checkbox Clean the dishwasher

You’re running soapy water through it all the time, but you still need to clean it regularly. Some experts recommend doing it monthly. This will help eliminate odors, keep it running efficiently and reduce water spots on your dishes. Try this guide from Home Depot to learn how to clean a dishwasher.


checkbox Plant bulbs

Yes, this is an indoor to-do. At this time of year, you can force bulbs in pots so they’re ready when spring rolls around. Some varieties like narcissus and amaryllis will bloom in the winter so you’ll have them in time to add to your holiday décor.


checkbox Conduct a smart home audit

As we connect more devices to our wireless network and each other, we need to make sure they remain secure. Practice good data privacy by making sure your WiFi is password protected, create unique and hard-to-guess passwords for each of your devices and accounts, and use two-factor authentication when possible. Don’t stop there, though. Check out our blog on how to secure your smart home.

Outdoor home checklist

Safety first. This goes for all year, but especially on the cusp of winter.

Black front porch rocker with buffalo plaid textiles.

checkbox Secure railings, stairs and walkways

When snow and ice move in, you need paths, stairs and porches won’t cause you to trip and slip. You also need secure handrails. Make sure everything is nailed or screwed in tight, replace warped boards and level pavers. Even if you live in an area without extreme weather conditions, it’s still a good time to inspect these areas. It doesn’t have to be icy for Grandma, someone with mobility issues or you with your hands full of groceries to stumble.


checkbox Re-gravel walkways

You probably lost some gravel during the spring and summer from runoff. Add a couple more inches of gravel to boost your curb appeal and help keep guests from tracking mud into your house. Try not to wait until the last minute to place your order with the landscaping company or home improvement store.


checkbox Check outdoor lighting

Daylight savings time ends in November, so it’s about to get darker earlier. Make sure you still have working lights on your porch, outside the garage and along walkways. Don’t forget about your backyard, too. String lights can be enjoyed through a window, even when it’s too cold to be outside, not to mention deter intruders with that extra illumination.


checkbox Inspect the sump pump

Sump pumps are meant to keep your home from flooding, so you want to make sure it’s working efficiently before the rains pick up. Make an appointment to have it maintenanced now.


checkbox Rake the last of the leaves

You’ll want to collect those leaves before the first snow, but don’t think you have to throw them out. Leaves can be beneficial to your garden as mulch, in your compost bin or as an insulator for potted plants in the winter.


checkbox Get landscaping in order

Lay mulch to help control moisture in the soil. Clean and store plant containers you won’t be using for a few months. If you have indoor/outdoor potted plants, bring those inside before the first frost. And if you haven’t already, turn off your sprinkler system or adjust it for different weather patterns so you aren’t wasting water or causing your pipes to burst.

For the future

Part of keeping your life from feeling hectic is taking the time to plan ahead. Here are two tasks that will help you keep calm and enjoy the season.

Orange pumpkins next to pink mums.

checkbox Prepare for the holidays

So many different holidays, so many traditions, so much stress … unless you plan. Start mapping out what activities you’re going to take part in, whether as the host or as a guest. Then figure out all the logistics that go with it. Do you need to plan meals? Purchase gifts for kids or the hostess? Clean your home? Create a guest room? Stock up on snacks and books to hibernate alone? Invest in a white board and create a command center so everyone knows what’s on the agenda, who’s in charge of hostess gifts and track other logistics that can steal the joy of the season.


checkbox Collect winter safety gear

Before winter storms move in, locate or purchase shovels, ice scrapers, snowblowers and power generators. Restock your emergency kit with winter items such as insulated blankets and spare gloves and hats. Don’t forget to include some, if not all, of these items in your car as well as your home.

For the greater good

Don’t leave others out in the cold. Your efforts will be appreciated by others around you. And we’re pretty sure you’ll feel better about it, too.

Birdhouse in the fall.

checkbox Conduct an energy audit

Yes, this can save you money, but it can also help the environment. An energy audit can identify areas of your home that need to work more efficiently – heating and cooling, water use, electricity – and give ideas for smart solutions to reduce waste and strain on the grid. Conduct a DIY energy audit or call in a professional.


checkbox Feed the birds

This is somewhat regional, but if you have migrating birds, put out some seed to help them fuel up before their long flight. Make a DIY birdfeeder and research what kinds of food your feathered friends like best.

In case you missed it

When you have to prioritize jobs between holiday plans, some DIY projects fall by the wayside. That’s OK, but we recommend not delaying on these much longer.

Woman wiping countertops

checkbox Disinfect high-touch surfaces

Thoroughly clean everything you touch frequently. This includes door hardware on all your doors – you probably have more than you realize – as well as cabinet pulls in your kitchen and bathroom, oven and microwave handles, and coffee maker buttons and switches. Also disinfect lighting switch plates, remote controls and personal electronics. Follow the manufacturers’ recommendation for disinfecting as some cleaning chemicals can harm finishes and functionality. This guide to cleaning your door hardware can help keep it looking and working great.


checkbox Take holiday photos

If you planned to hire a professional photographer for your photos to put in your holiday cards, you might be out of luck. Unless they’ve had a last-minute cancellation, you’ll need to DIY this one. You don’t need a fancy camera, though. Stick your smart phone on a tripod or prop it on a few books, set the timer and have fun with the family. Try these holiday photo tips from interior designer and family man Nate Burkus, complements of The Spruce, to make your pictures beautiful and painless.

Time to buy

With Black Friday and pre-holiday sales aplenty, it can be tough to spot an actual deal and what you should wait to buy. Here’s what Consumer Reports says are great buys in November.


Air fryers, blenders, coffee makers, cooktops, dishwashers, food processors, microwaves, multi-cookers, ranges, refrigerators, toasters, wall ovens, steam irons, vacuums, washing machines and dryers, cordless drills, snowblowers



Blu-ray players, computers, fitness trackers, home security cameras, headphones, printers, smart speakers, smart watches, sound bars, tablets, televisions, thermostats, wireless speakers


Home goods:

Air mattresses, cookware, mattresses, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, flooring

Are you still hanging on to fall or are you looking forward to winter? Either way, Schlage can help you make the most of the season. Find DIY ideas and hacks, décor trends and tips, and so, so much more on the Schlage blog.