Why shop? Why not just take your able self over to mom’s house and do, instead? Whether your mom lives alone or with a partner, there is always a list. The list I’m referring to details things around the house that bother mom — things that have been languishing on the to-do list for months, years even, that she knows are slipping further and further away from action.
Maybe it’s frames that have been leaning up against a wall, maybe it’s photo albums that need sorting, maybe it’s a broken doorknob or a particularly unsightly junk corner that makes her frown every time she sees it. We all have things around the house that get under our skin, but the time to fix them continues to elude us. Imagine someone just showing up and doing them for you? What a dream to wipe that list clean! A clean slate!
Here are 10 DIY ideas to make mom smile…
1. Solution for Paperwork. We all have piles. Whether in the kitchen, hallway, a drawer or that junk room we call a home office, nothing would feel sweeter than to have someone come over and sort, label and organize our paperwork piles for us. Sure, you can do a little shopping and buy some lovely trays and flowery home office accessories, but the gift is in the sorting!
2. Yard Work. Pure that tree, rake and mow the lawn, unearth the flower beds from winter’s debris and weeds, and maybe even get rid of that old, balding bush that’s taking up prime real estate in her garden. This is a great one to enlist your family in, so make a sunny weekend of it!
3. Porch/Balcony Makeover. Get rid of everything that doesn’t belong in these outdoor spaces, and make them inviting again. Wash the patio furniture and see if the cushions need replacing. Replace the doormat, and maybe even touch up some paint. The biggest bang for your efforts will be a planter box or some nice, potted flora and fauna. A blooming bush of hydrangeas is always a hit.
4. Hang Those Frames. My father never had a son, so he was forced to pass basic DIY knowledge unto me. If I can hang a picture frame (popper plug for wall type, drill, level, screw, wire); anyone can.
5. Kitchen Re-Fresh. Sounds very involved, and it kind of is, but not really in terms of skill level — just labour. One year my husband and I overhauled my grandmother’s rental apartment kitchen because we got sick of waiting for the superintendent. We sealed and painted her old MDF kitchen cupboards, changed the hardware, painted the depressing tile backsplash (it’s easy, make sure you ask for a paint that sticks to tile) and replaced the swelling MDF countertops with a brand new piece from Home Depot (the most basic product was good enough as it was a renal apartment, and the main goal was cleanliness.) It cost under $200 and took a weekend, and my grandmother still — 5 years later — cannot get over it. You’d be surprised how much you can do with a little paint and effort.
6. Paint the Walls. Ok, maybe not the entire house, depending on how big your mom’s home is, but everyone has that hallway or room that’s so scuffed, it’s embarrassing.
7. Organize the Family Photos. Another good deed that I, as a much younger adult, did for my parents. It was quite the effort, I won’t lie, but the result is a gift that keeps on giving. My mother, who really loves her family photos, enjoys nothing more than referring to a tidy stack of labeled albums (by date and event) and reminiscing at her leisure.
8. Put Up Curtains. This may seem odd, but many people, myself included, have rooms in their home that are curtainless. It’s one of those things that unless it gets done as soon as you move in, it will continue to get pushed down the list, until it ceases to matter at all. Well, you know that bare window is still bare. Fix it!
9. Guest Bedroom Makeover. As long as there’s a bed in there, you’ve got something to work with! Unearth it from winter clothes, clean out the spare closet of clothes that haven’t seen the light of day since 1985, indulge your mom in a stylish new set of sheets, throw up a few frames and add a potted orchid. She’ll love it. (I’d love it, never mind.)
This is in fact my guest bedroom, that I had made over on the cheapest of cheap. Read all about it!
10. Wash and Clean out the Car. A no-brainer!
ANY of these would be a nice gift for mom, and it would only cost you a weekend (or less). And hey, you can still go for brunch or have her over this Sunday — think on what she may need done, get a nice card and make her an IOU. Buy some flowers in case the card seems sheepish on its own. After your genteel Sunday, make sure to follow up with mom immediately, to schedule your good deed. She’ll not only be touched that you’re delivering yourself into her service, but her heart will melt over how closely you’ve been paying attention to her daily life.
Major brownie points on this one, trust us.