For those people who don't know a box cutter from a box saw, shopping for men and women who like to get their hands dirty around the house can be a difficult task. Home improvement projects are complex undertakings that often involve the use of complex tools, and novices may be lost in the proverbial woods as they look for gifts for their loved ones who can't wait to swing hammers around the house.

Though there's always an element of risk when shopping for gifts for loved ones, the following hints might help shoppers with no knowledge of home improvement projects find gifts that will please their favorite handyman.

· Take inventory of his or her existing tools. When shopping for the DIY enthusiast in your family, try to take inventory of his or her tool chest before beginning your search. Make note of any tools that look new, checking those off your shopping list, and any that look like they need replacing. Use your phone to photograph any unfamiliar tools that you might want to replace so you know what to look for when visiting the hardware store.

· Think of what your relative likes to do most. The family handyman may have a particular area of home improvement expertise or something he or she is especially passionate about. Does your loved one prefer to work in the garden? Is he into woodworking and making decorative items for the house? Think of what he or she likes to do most and then look for something that will make that hobby more enjoyable. While multipurpose tools might make for welcome gifts, something more specific to his or her particular passion may make an even better gift.

· Think outside the (tool)box. While new tools might make a handyman's day, they are not the only items that make great DIY gifts. Consider enrolling your loved one in an advanced class so he or she can learn more about a favorite hobby. Or gift a magazine subscription so he or she can stay abreast of the latest DIY trends and topics. Such gifts are great options for shoppers hesitant to purchase potentially costly tools that may or may not be hits with their relatives.

· Speak with a professional. If you can't access your loved one's workshop or simply don't know what he or she might want, ask a local contractor for gift recommendations. For example, a carpenter might know just what will elicit a smile from woodworking enthusiasts, while landscapers might be able to suggest items for gardening or lawn care enthusiasts. Advancements are always being made in the home improvement industry, and those people who make their living in that industry might be great resources as you try to find the go-to gift for your loved one.

Finding a gift for the family handyman might be difficult for shoppers with no DIY experience of their own. But a little forethought and perhaps some professional assistance can be just what shoppers need to find gifts their loved ones will cherish for years to come.

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