Gift ideas for your home's DIYer

By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Dec. 8, 2011
- Contributed Photo

In many homes, the man of the house is usually the do-it-yourself handyman that takes charge of all the building, re-building, modifications and repairs. In other homes, that DIYer may be a handy-woman. And in some cases, both are pretty handy at their own special things. Whatever the case in your home, if you are having a problem coming up with gift ideas this season, here are some suggestions that may ease your anxiety.

Getting good gift ideas may be as easy as looking around your home. First, see what your handyman has in the workshop. Take pictures of the tools and gadgets - especially the ones whose use you can’t exactly figure out. Take a sheet of thumbnail shots to your favorite home and hardware stores. A good salesperson in such a store will be able to identify some upgrades and replacements for heavily used tools, as well as identify some items that may fill in the gaps in the workshop tool collection. What’s not in the pictures is just as much help as what is shown.

What was the last DIY project your handyman executed? Do you remember hearing any grumbling about not being able to do this or that, for lack of the right equipment or know-how? Was a particular tool or gadget that he needed missing or broken? Perhaps some facet of the job was harder than it needed to be. Often this indicates the right tool or equipment was just not available. Take those ideas into the store with you, and see if one of the experts there can relate to the problems and find some gift solutions.

There might be a big project looming on your upcoming schedule. It might be something to be done while the “weather outside is frightful,” or it might be a little further off, say in the spring or next summer. If it’s not something that the DIYer has attempted, he might not be properly equipped for the challenge. Let’s say he has done carpentry and electrical work around the house, but he’s planning modifications to the bathroom that require non-trivial plumbing work. A gift of some good reference material on plumbing might help the DIYer get well prepared. Most home supply stores have a pretty good collection of how-to books, either topic-specific or as a collection in a full-spectrum DIY manual.

There are also a few manuals that provide in-depth information on topics such as plumbing and electrical codes that will help with planning the project. Although they are not light reading materials, they can help a person gain good insight into the regulations that govern specific aspects of the construction industry.

If there are no projects to stimulate the gift-giving juices, then dwell for a few minutes on what your do-it-yourself person really likes to work on. What is he or she really good at? Someone who has dabbled in woodworking, and has been proud of the accomplishments or outcomes, might be interested in taking formal woodworking classes. It may surprise you to know that there are several local outlets for teaching woodworking skills. And adding a new facet to the DIY skill set also opens a whole world of tools and workshop components, i.e., good ideas for gifts. Sign him up.

Other specialties that might interest your home improvement handyman include electronics, lighting, HVAC (heating and cooling) and interior decorating. You might have to look harder for classes for the DIYer, but it’s worth taking a shot. Learning how something works and developing the skills needed to become proficient is very rewarding for anyone with a particular interest.

Another of the gifts that I like is the one that keeps on giving. Browse the big bookstores for magazines that fit the do-it-yourself and hobbyist categories. Buy the current issue and then arrange an annual (or longer) subscription. Wrap the magazine and include a note about the subscription. Each month that magazine arrives is a reminder of that handy Christmas gift. Not only do these magazines have good information, they also provide some incentive to keep your handyman active around the house.

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