Just because every single
solitary blessed snippet of home information today seems to have been shaken off
the pen of Martha Stewart or her new best friend, Oprah, doesn’t mean you have
to fall into line.
The perfect gift for their first home
the meantime, let’s take a practical look at : Housewarming presents. We’re not talking Martha’s Vineyard Foggy
Morning Potpourri, or everyday china featuring hand-drawn muffins that matches
the aura around the dog’s eyes.
We’re talking about things
people really could use, if someone would just give it to them.
It’s becoming more common at
Frentz and Sons Hardware for some brave soul to stray off the Martha course and
actually make a housewarming basket packed with hardware items people can use.
“We’re getting situations
where neighbors throw a welcome party for new home owners and we find them in
here, starting with a laundry basket, a steel bushel basket, or even a garbage
can, and filling it with household items,” Mike Frentz says. “It really is
becoming a common event.”
Mike figures many of the
baskets are for first-time homeowners who are coming from an apartment and just
haven’t acquired the items necessary to run a household. When customers ask
what they should include in such a basket, Mike says:
A plunger, but not just any plunger – you’ll want to give the best, so give
Power Plunger. “It has a flange built in so you can build up lots of
pressure, and you can fold it back up to use in kitchen sinks.” Snicker if you
will, but when you need one, there is no substitute.
• A push broom. “They’re
definitely not going to have one of these if they’re coming from an apartment,”
• A step ladder. His
favorite, pictured here, is the platform ladder made by Warner®. Mike likes it because it folds very thin and stores
easily, has a tray for setting tools on and is extremely staple.
• Welcome mats for
housewarming presents, what a concept. If you want to be a good friend, get the
type of mat pictured here ( tire tread mat). It gets the mud and snow off shoes because the dirt
falls through the mat, rather than just sitting on top for the next person to
• A shower curtain liner.
“The first thing anyone wants to do when they’re done moving in is take a
shower, and this is one of the things they always forget and run to the store
for,” Mike says.
A roll of duct tape. You need not give drab gray. Frentz has duct tape in lots
of colors –– bright reds, green, yellow, and white.
• A mop. Don’t forget a bucket.
• A box of Tri Sodium
Phosphate, the gift that keeps on giving. “This stuff will clean anything,”
Mike says. “It’s the best cleaner there is, particularly for sooty, greasy
dirt you’ll find around a fireplace.” The standerd mix ratio is a quarter cup
of TSP per gallon of water. If you’re doing a basement floor and need to
sanitize it, add a cup of bleach to that mix and make sure you have adequate
• If you’re friends moved
from another city or township into Royal Oak, start them off with lawn bags,
lawn tags, and twine to wrap branches to they’ll be in accordance with the
city regulations and their stuff will be picked up by the refuse department.
• And last, particularly for
this time of year, a rake. “Get a plastic one –– those are best for raking
leaves at this time of year,” Mike adds.