Thursday, 16 December 2010

Gift Wrap Your Window Cleaning Services

Wrap up gift list with a home project: If you really want to surprise and delight a friend or family member with a special holiday gift this year, skip the shopping mall and gift wrapping. Instead, fix her toilet. Or stop a leaky faucet, paint the powder room, refinish a wood floor or clean the grout between the tiles on a bathroom floor or backsplash. Many people need a little help around the house more than a new turtleneck sweater or ankle bracelet. So give them a home-improvement project this holiday season, and you will do more than lend them a helping hand. You'll also:
  • Be kinder to the environment. A gift of household labor doesn't require wrapping paper. Nor will it break and wind up in a landfill.
  • Support the local economy. You can buy the tools and materials you need for your gifted home-improvement project at the local hardware or paint store. Or, if you're not a do-it-yourselfer, you can hire a local home-improvement contractor - often a small business or a one-man shop - to do the work.
  • Show you care. If you choose a project that you know your loved one has been putting off because of money or time, you'll show that you've been paying attention and want to fulfill a need.
  • Spend time with loved ones. If you do the work yourself, you'll get to see your friend or relative for a few extra hours - or days, depending on the project - while you're making the repairs. If you're hiring someone else to do the job, you'll still want to be involved in the planning so you can be sure you're giving exactly what the recipient needs and wants.
Here are a few ways to offer the truly meaningful, thoughtful and practical gift of home improvement to the loved ones on your holiday gift list. Pick up clues all year when friends and family members gripe about what's wrong with their houses. Do a dozen little things annoy them, like leaky faucets, torn window screens, squeaky door hinges, loose doorknobs, a wobbly toilet seat and scuffed baseboards? Offer to spend a day going from room to room with a screwdriver and a can of touch-up paint and fix whatever your friend points to. Or is there a single, chronic complaint, like the lack of an exhaust fan in a bathroom or stubborn stains on the carpet? In that case, make your gift specific and spend your time solving a single problem.
Maybe your loved one never complains. Next time you visit, size up the home's maintenance weaknesses yourself. Notice cracked floor tiles, ceiling lights that haven't worked in months, peeling paint on exterior window frames, efflorescence-stained stucco. Choose one that you can solve yourself or that you can afford to pay a pro to manage.
Home-improvement gifts don't have to solve problems. They can be full of frills. How about paying for an hour of time with an interior designer or architect so your friend can get some ideas for decorating or remodeling? Consider hiring a cleaning service that will come once a month all year long, a welcome gift for anyone who works full-time. Engage a landscaper who specializes in water features, such as waterfalls and fountains, to spruce up your loved one's backyard.
A nice gift for someone who's getting older is a more comfortable bathroom. You can give something small, like a grab bar installed in the shower or go all out and bring in a crew to convert the bathtub to a curbless shower and replace the toilet and vanity with taller models that are more comfortable to use.
Give a gift that your relative will remember every month of the year: a service that will help lower utility bills. A dryer that needs two cycles to dry clothes probably has a vent full of lint; hire a service to clean it out. And a simple, inexpensive gift would involve replacing every lightbulb in your friend's house with an energy-efficient CFL.
Hire help if you need it. Some jobs are too technical or time-consuming for a weekend do-it-yourselfer. Ask your favorite painter, housekeeper, architect, plumber or remodeler to make up a gift certificate for the services you want to give. Pay in advance; that will make the recipient more likely to take you up on your offer of a home-improvement gift.
Make good on your gift. It's easy to hand-make a certificate or offer the promise of your time and talent around the house of someone you care for. It's harder to find the time to do the planning, purchasing, painting and plumbing. Attach a "will finish by" date to your gift. When you're giving home improvement, it's not just the thought that counts. It's the finished product.

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