A handful of home improvement ideas that you can give as gifts that will keep on giving

baby at child safe baby gate
Childproofing the house is a perfect Mother’s Day gift! Olga Bogatyrenko / Shutterstock.com

Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays—these are some of the key occasions when we make an extra effort to do something special for the people we love.

I usually buy my wife, Bobbi, chocolates for Mother’s Day. Not just any chocolates, mind you, but a creamless assortment of See’s dark chocolate nuts and chews. Handpicked? Absolutely! Uninspired? I’m afraid so. And I haven’t done much better on anniversaries. Traditionally, I’ve given her a dozen roses and added one red rose each year after the first twelve. I guess this was a good idea at first. But now, with more than three dozen stems in the bouquet, it’s time for something new—and something that will last longer than a week.

So, I’ve been thinking: As a loving gesture for a special occasion, why not give her a gift that’s from my heart and hands? I’ve decided to finally take care of some of the broken, irritating nuisances she has wanted me to fix around the house. I figure I can box one small component for each project and wrap it along with a certificate promising to do the job. And then I’ll DO IT!

You might want to try the same thing. If you’ve heard a repeated complaint about a room being too cold, a closet being too messy, or a faucet being too drippy, seize the opportunity to offer a gift of your time and energy. Here are a few ideas, along with links to more information to help you get them done:

Install closet organizers

Wire organization system
Wire organization system maximizes closet organization. ClosetMaid

If closet clutter is the issue, why not install wire closet organizers to take better advantage of existing closet space? For more about this, see How to Choose a Closet System.

Nest smart thermostat
“Smart” thermostat learns your habits to program itself. Nest


Take control of room temperature
If one or more of your rooms is never quite the right temperature, maybe the problem is with the heating system’s thermostat. For information on replacing a thermostat, see the Thermostats Buying Guide.

Childproof your home
If you have small children in the house, what better gift for the entire family than to make it safer for everyone? See General Childproofing Techniques.

repair faucet drip
© Chi Chiu Chan | Dreamstime.com

Fix a faucet leak
This project has more than one payoff. Leaky faucets are not only irritating but they can also waste several gallons of water each day. See How to Fix a Dripping Faucet.

Fix a broken window
Do you have a windowpane that is cracked or broken? For information on replacing it, see the section on How to Repair Window Glass.

Silence a banging storm or screen door
To keep a screen or storm door from slamming shut, install a closer. For more information, see How to Install a Door Closer.

Give a gift of tools
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating—a great gift for a first-time homeowner or somebody who’s just starting out on their own is an assortment of basic tools. See Your Essential Home Toolkit.

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” served as MSN’s home expert for several years, and is featured as Yelp's home improvement expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort