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Before you start a big project, tackle the small ones. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make a room more comfortable. Here are five quickies that you can cross off your list in a hurry:

  1. Indoor paint. Brush a little bit of touch-up paint over stains and scuffs to cover them up and make a room look cared for until you have time to commit to a full paint job.  
  2. Outdoor paint. Brighten up your home’s exterior by freshening the paint on window and door frames, where dirt is likely to show up first.
  3. Caulking and weatherstripping. If you see condensation on your windows, that means too much of your air conditioning is escaping to the outside and too much hot air is making its way indoors. Seal your windows by caulking around them. This will help keep your cool air indoors while you start saving for better-insulated windows.
  4. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. The hard-wired kind are great, but the plug-in models are inexpensive and effortless to install. Pick up one for every floor of your home and plug them in.
  5. Water use. Pick up a copy of the city’s lawn watering guide to learn how long you have to run your sprinklers to dump enough water—and not a drop more—onto your lawn to keep it healthy. Other great sources: and You’ll have it handy next time you need to water your lawn.

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