(Kveller via JTA) – Last year I performed a magic trick: I made most of my “stuff” disappear.

I never considered myself a hoarder, at least not the kind worthy of a feature on late night cable TV, but I held on to things, lots and lots of things, because I was sentimental. I thought getting rid of them meant giving up a memory. I was also convinced I would need all these things later on. And lots of my stuff was around simply because I had spent so much money on it that I thought I hadn’t realized each item’s value yet. Surely I would need this stuff, use this stuff, wear this stuff and amortize the cost of this stuff … one day.

BBB is warning consumers to beware of scammers going door-to-door and offering seasonal services, such as leaf raking, chimney sweeping or window installations. These con artists may just take your money without ever delivering the service.

How the scam works

You answer the door, and it’s a handyman. He says that he’s been hired by the neighbors to clean the chimney, install storm windows, rake the leaves or perform another seasonal service. He claims that he can give you a discount price because he is already working in the neighborhood.

Family Features – Whether you’ve just bought a new home or you’re looking to refresh your familiar abode, chances are good you have a laundry list of home-improvement projects to accomplish.

From aesthetic upgrades (like replacing the laminate floors in the kitchen with patterned tile) to practical necessities (like removing the tree roots from the sewage pipes), there is no shortage of fall projects for homeowners to tackle. With so much to do, home-improvement projects can feel overwhelming. Rely on research tools such as and these five tips from home blogger and author Justina Blakeney to help you get started.

Family Features – Some people loathe the task of raking leaves and removing snow in the fall and winter months, with perfectly good reason. A bad back or lack of time can be a hindrance when it comes to keeping up with your yard chores. Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives to help keep your pastures green and concrete jungle clear.

Ergonomic options

Recognizing the strain that the repetitive motion of raking or shoveling can put on the body, manufacturers have designed a wide range of ergonomic shovels and rakes that are less taxing on muscles and joints. Test-drive your options for a comfortable fit; look for a secure grip and a height that is comfortable (although bear in mind that the longer the handle, the more energy you’ll need to put into hefting a load of snow).

Rhode Islanders who join the Arbor Day Foundation in September will receive 10 free trees as part of the Foundation’s Trees for America program.

Through Trees for America, everyone is encouraged to plant trees, which benefitsthe environment and improves quality of life. With nearly 1 million members and supporters, the Arbor Day Foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees.