Author Archives: Kristina Grosspietsch

About Kristina Grosspietsch

Kristina is a writer living in NYC. Check her out on Google+!

How To: Get Your Security Deposit Back

When it's time to get your security deposit back, even the most conscientious renters can run into snags. Fortunately, as a tenant, there are steps you can take now to make the process go smoother once you're ready to move on.

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back


Oh, wait… you WANTED your security deposit back?!

Well, buckle your seat belt, responsible former tenant: You are entitled to that money, not the man who avoided your calls about a clogged toilet for a year. Unless you invited stampeding deer to your last soirée, the majority of landlords and management companies don’t make a fuss about returning your deposit. Most state laws require tenants to return apartments to their previous condition, along with normal wear and tear—a delightfully vague term that more often than not works to tenants’ advantage.

Small issues—chipped paint, matted carpet, or the occasional nail hole—all fall under normal wear and tear. Meanwhile, such things as stains and burns, broken windows, and pet odors are definitely considered your responsibility. And if these are not addressed before you move out, you can expect repair costs to be deducted from your deposit.

With that in mind, here are a few actions you can take over the course of your tenancy to help ensure a smoother return of your security deposit as you make your way out the door:

1. Photograph Preexisting Flaws
Before you even move in, snap pictures of anything that looks awry. These photographs are likely to be your only proof that certain flaws were preexisting.

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back - Floorplan


2. Be a Responsible Steward
Little problems are bound to arise when you’re occupying a rental. Don’t sweep these under the rug, literally or figuratively. Little problems get bigger. If you don’t deal with a problem now, by the time you’re ready to move, it may have become big enough to dominate any discussion about the security deposit.

3. Clarify What “Clean” Means
Cleaning fees are commonly subtracted from security deposits, but if you’re willing to put in some effort, there’s no reason you can’t get back the full amount. A month or two before the lease expires, talk with your landlord about the condition in which he expects you to leave the place. He might simply hand you a prepared checklist, and yes, that’s somewhat of a drag. But at least you’ll know where to focus your energy so that you won’t under- or—the horror!—overclean.

4. Actually Clean 
Ugh. You knew this one was coming. All the dirt you brought into the apartment? Well, it’s your dirt, technically, and you’re responsible for getting it out of there. Mop the floors, wipe the cabinets, clean the oven, scrub the bathroom, and so on. Shoot for a hotel level of clean. Even if you fall short—and let’s be honest, that’s a distinct possibility—the apartment will be clean enough to satisfy the powers that be.

5. Make Sure the Check Can Find You
Be sure to give your new address to your former landlord. We can’t stress this enough. It’s important because in many states, if a landlord cannot contact you, he’s legally allowed to keep the deposit.

6. Check In 
In some states, landlords must return security deposits within three weeks of your move-out date. But—how do we put this?— even the most responsible management company isn’t going to rush on your behalf, especially if you never asked for the money in the first place. So make the call, and be polite.

8. Wait
Yawn. What’s on Netflix? It’s reasonable to expect a check within two months. For now, it’s a waiting game.

In most cases, a little preparation and a lot of Windex are all you need. If you are still waiting after two months—yikes—we recommend sending a formal demand letter (talk to your lawyer about that one). But we really hope it doesn’t come to that. In the meantime, good luck!


Happy holidays from Bob and the office elves—Gretchen, Larry, John, Kristina, Marisa, Caitlin and Sheila—at!

Season's Greetings from


After serving up nearly 25 days of great tips, creative ideas, and how-to projects to make your holidays merry and bright, our Countdown to Christmas is almost complete.

Time to wrap the presents, finish the tree-trimming, and get ready for guests, neighbors, and family members to arrive. Remember to light the candles, bake the cookies, and chill the wine. The time has finally come to relish in the special joys this season has to offer.

Since you have become an important part of our family, we want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bob Vila Signature


P.S. If you’re looking for a little more holiday eye-candy, consider:

Frosty Feats: 12 Incredible Snow Sculptures
Christmas Houses Gone Wild! 11 Outrageously Decorated Front Yards
Wrap it Up! 10 DIY Ways to Bedeck Your Holiday Gifts
25 Insanely Easy-to-Make Holiday Ornaments

Bob Vila’s Dream Dishwasher Give-Away Official Rules

Bob Vila’s “Dream Dishwasher Give-Away from Bosch” (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by, LLC, Post Office Box 835, West Barnstable, MA 02668 (“Sponsor”).

The Sweepstakes consists of one (1) random drawing (the “Drawing”). The Sweepstakes begins at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (“EST”) on November 1, 2013 and ends at 11:59 a.m. EST on December 2, 2013 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). One Drawing will be held during the Sweepstakes Period. The entry period for the Drawing shall begin at 12:00 p.m. EST on November 1, 2013 and ends at 11:59 a.m. EST on December 2, 2013 (the “Entry Period”). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ODDS OF WINNING WILL DEPEND ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES RECEIVED. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. AFFIDAVIT OF ELIGIBILITY AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM MAY BE REQUIRED.

Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. Employees of Sponsor and its respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies and any other entity involved in the development or administration of this Sweepstakes, and their immediate family members or household members are not eligible to participate in or win the Sweepstakes. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any person who fails to meet the eligibility requirements or any person it determines, in its sole discretion, to be sufficiently connected with the Sweepstakes such that such person’s participation could create the appearance of impropriety. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means are void, and Sponsor expressly reserves the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith are generated by an automated program or via scripts. Entries that are determined, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor to constitute advertisements, commercial messages, or “spam” will be disqualified and deleted. Void where prohibited by law. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply. No purchase is necessary to participate in the Sweepstakes. You may enter any given Drawing one (1) time per household per day by visiting the BOB VILA website at and submit your name and email address using the online “Dream Dishwasher Give-Away” submission form.

Each entry submitted in response to the Drawing and in accordance with the Official Rules will constitute an official entry. Duplicate entries within one day will be deemed void.

If you do not have internet access, alternative means of entry for the Drawing is available by faxing your name, address and phone number to the Sponsor at 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. One (1) alternative entry per household per day. Any additional entries submitted via fax within one day will be deemed void.

Entries received after the end of the Sweepstakes Period will be deemed void. Normal time, toll, connection and usage rates, if any, charged by your Internet service provider will apply. All entries become the property of the Sponsor. By entering the Drawing during the Sweepstakes, you will be agreeing that any information collected in connection with the Sweepstakes may be used by Sponsor in accordance with, LLC’s Privacy Policy, a current copy of which can be found here. By participating, all entrants agree to abide by these Official Rules.

At the end of the Entry Period, there will be one (1) drawing in which one (1) potential winner (“Winner”) shall be selected from all eligible entries received during that Entry Period by employees or representatives of the Sponsor to receive the prize designated for the Drawing. The winning entry will be chosen at random. The number of eligible entries received during the Entry Period for the Drawing determines the odds of winning. The Sweepstakes will be conducted under the supervision of the Sponsor. If the Winner is determined to be ineligible, forfeits or does not claim the prize, the prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion based on a subsequent drawing from the pool of eligible entries. Other restrictions may apply. Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding with respect to all matters related to the Sweepstakes. All prizes (or in the event of a lost, misdirected, or otherwise unavailable prize, a prize of equivalent value ) will be awarded. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award more prizes than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules. Winner shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Prize Fulfillment,, LLC, PO Box 835 Barnstable, MA 02668. Specify winner’s list or rules on your request.

The Winner will be notified by email, or in the case of alternate entry, by phone; Sponsor reserves the right to determine the method of notification. Winner must claim their prize within twenty-four (24) hours after the date of notification of their prize. A Winner’s failure to respond to the prize notification within the specified twenty-four (24) hours will be considered such Winner’s forfeiture of the prize and an alternate Winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate Winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries. Sponsor reserves the right to ship prizes directly to the mailing and/or email address (as applicable) provided by Winner during their entry to the Drawing.

The prize for the Drawing during the Sweepstakes Period shall be 1 (one) 24” Bar Handle Dishwasher 800 Plus Series – Stainless Steel SHX9ER55UC with approximate retail value of $1,999 (MSRP). Prize is not transferable.

Limit one prize per entrant. Actual retail value may vary. Winner will not receive the difference between actual and approximate retail value. Prize does not include installation.

An entrant or winner may be disqualified from the Sweepstakes, and his or her entry may be deleted, if he or she fails to comply with each provision of these Official Rules, as determined in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Participation in the Sweepstakes is at entrant’s own risk. Sponsor shall not be liable for (1) failed, returned or misdirected notifications based on inaccurate information provided by the winner on the Drawings entry forms, (2) entries and responses to winner notifications which are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, postage-due, misdirected, damaged or otherwise not received by the intended recipient in whole or in part or for computer or technical error of any kind, (3) any electronic miscommunications or failures, technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions which may limit an entrant’s ability to participate in part or wholly in the Sweepstakes, (4) any technical malfunctions of the telephone network, computer on-line system, computer equipment, software, program malfunctions or other failures, delayed computer transactions or network connections that are human, mechanical or technical in nature, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from downloading any part of this Sweepstakes or (5) any warranty of fitness or merchantability of any prize or the function or operation thereof, which shall be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of the prize. Sponsor does not make any, and hereby disclaims any and all, representations or warranties of any kind regarding any prize. Unless prohibited by applicable law, your entry constitutes your permission to use your name, photograph, likeness, voice, address (city and state) and testimonials in all media, in perpetuity, in any manner Sponsor deems appropriate for publicity purposes without any further compensation to such entrant.

By entering or accepting a prize in the Sweepstakes, Winner agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and to conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. When applicable, the Winner (or, if the Winner is a minor, the Winner’s parent or legal guardian) may be required to execute and return to Sponsor within three (3) business days an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability and Publicity Release and relevant tax forms to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner may be selected. Winner may be required to furnish proof of identity, address and birth date in order to receive a prize.

By entering, an entrant agrees to indemnify, release and hold harmless Sponsor and each of its respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliated entities, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any damage, injury, death, loss, claim, action, demand, or other liability (collectively, “Claims”) that may arise from their acceptance, possession and/or use of any prize or their participation in the Sweepstakes, or from any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, regardless of whether such Claims, or knowledge of the facts constituting such Claims, exist at the time of entry or arise at any time thereafter. Released Parties are not responsible or liable to any entrant or to any Winner or any person claiming through such Winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action, regulations, order or request proves to be invalid), equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond the Released Parties’ sole control. The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing, electronic or human errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) viruses or technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications or entry information, any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, failures or technical malfunction of any computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, whether on account of technical problems, traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (5) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes or the processing of entries; (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize; or (7) late, lost, misdirected, illegible, incomplete or mutilated entries or for theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. These indemnification and release provisions shall survive expiration of the Sweepstakes.

Persons found tampering with, abusing, or otherwise disrupting any aspect of this Sweepstakes, or otherwise attempting to defraud Sponsor, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and their entries will be deleted. If disqualified, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the entrant’s eligibility to further participate in this Sweepstakes and future promotions and sweepstakes of Sponsor or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Any attempt by an entrant or any other individual to undermine the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.

This Sweepstakes is strictly for promotional and entertainment purposes and may not be used in connection with any form of gambling. In the event this Sweepstakes is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the Sweepstakes, or to disqualify entrants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, the Sponsor shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action. Sponsor reserves the right to modify these Official Rules in any way or at any time. Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Sweepstakes should viruses, bugs or other causes beyond their control corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Sweepstakes. In the event any portion of this Sweepstakes is compromised by any non-authorized human intervention, actions of entrants, or other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, corrupt or impair the integrity, administration, security, or operation of this Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to suspend, modify, abbreviate or terminate the Sweepstakes without further obligation. If Sponsor elects to abbreviate the Sweepstakes, Winner(s) will be determined from all eligible entries received for Drawing(s) prior to the action or compromise giving rise to the suspension or termination of this Sweepstakes. In the event of cancellation, abbreviation or suspension, Sponsor shall promptly post a notice on the Sweepstakes entry page to such effect.

This Sweepstakes shall be governed by New York law. By participating in this Sweepstakes entrants agree that New York courts shall have jurisdiction over any dispute or litigation arising from or relating to this Sweepstakes and that venue shall be only in New York City, New York. The failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any part of these Official Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, that part will be enforced to the maximum extent permitted by law, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain fully in force.

How To: Transplant Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials

Transplant a Plant


With the sun shining, the birds chirping, the temperatures rising, and the days getting longer, this is the season to take stock of your landscape. Will you plant something new? Or will you decide to transplant a tree, shrub, or perennial that already exists in your garden?

The latter may seem daunting, but following a series of simple steps can help you ensure that your transplanted selection not only survives the spring, but thrives for many seasons to come.

Here are ten trusty transplanting tips from the garden tool experts at True Temper:

Enter Bob Vila’s Great Big Garden Give-Away with True Temper, and you could be the next winner of a garden tools set worth $250, plus $250 CASH!

Read the rest of this entry »

5 Things to Do with… Maps

Whether you’ve been bitten by the travel bug or merely want to give the impression of being well-traveled, maps lend decor a sense of far-flung sophistication. Be it an ancestral family town or a favorite vacation spot, metropolis or no man’s land, maps do more than show streets and landmarks—they connect us to another part of the world.

So browse these great map DIY projects and ponder where YOU might take the maps-as-decor concept:



Map DIY - Wallpaper

Photo: Bob Vila Nation

Whether you work with one large print or a mosaic of different maps, a little glue can help you translate your wanderlust into a room’s stunning focal point as wallpaper.

Read the rest of this entry »

How To: Choose a Lawn Mower

How to Choose Lawn Mower

John Deere X300 Select Series. Photo:

If your current lawn mower was built to last, it’s probably been a while since you’ve shopped for a new one! When your trusty mower does finally cut its last blade, you may find it challenging to choose a replacement.

Knowledge can mean the difference between owning a machine that lasts and having to make a return trip to the garden supply store, so we sought out John Deere for advice on how to choose a lawn mower.

Slideshow: 10 Top-Rated “Grass Guzzlers”

Know Your Yard
Before you even type “lawn mower” into Google, take a look around your lawn. Familiarity with the property your mower needs to handle will help you narrow down the options.

How large is your yard? If it’s less than a half acre, a walk-behind mower should do the trick. If it’s larger than a half acre, think about a riding mower—but don’t forget maneuverability. If you’ll need to circle around a tree or two, then your assessment should include a riding mower’s turning radius.

How about inclines? On hilly terrain, a riding mower or self-propelled walking mower will make your life easier. Also, bear in mind the quality of your grass—is it thin or thick? To ensure optimal performance on dense or coarse grass, opt for a machine with higher horsepower and taller wheels.

Before purchasing a riding mower, take its comfort level into account. Look for models that feature adjustable seats; arm rests and lumbar supports are an added plus. Mowers like the John Deere Select Series X300 even boast a built-in cup holder.

One of the most important details to weigh is safety. Any mower you’re considering should automatically shut down if the operator releases the push bar or leaves the seat. In the case of riding mowers specifically, look for foot controls, as these encourage the operator to use both hands on the wheel. And of course, remember the importance of a parking brake!

After-Sale Service
Keep in mind that your new mower might, and probably will, require maintenance over the course of its lifetime. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by choosing a reliable manufacturer that offers speedy repair service.

To minimize the number of potential problems, insist on proven reliability. Each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses, so before you make a final decision, check customer reviews (on a site like of the mower you have on your radar.

For more on lawn care, consider:

Top 5 Tips for a Greener Lawn
How To: Mow Your Lawn Properly
Mower Maintenance: 5 Ways to Keep Your Lawn Mower Up and Running

5 Things to Do with… Old Silverware

Silverware is so much more than simply the source of your next bite. After all, if you tap a knife on a glass of champagne, people will start kissing, or if you rudely bang a fork on the table, someone will most likely bring over some food.

And now with a little ingenuity, your silverware can even be repurposed for non-culinary purposes! Yes, pay homage to everyone’s favorite plate-to-mouth delivery mechanism by working silverware into your home’s decor—one look and your guests will be shouting, “More, please!”

Fair warning: Only real silver utensils will be malleable enough to work with. Trying to hammer sterling silver will only leave your bones rattling and ears ringing!



Silverware DIY - Wall Hooks


Flatten your silver spoons or forks with a ball peen hammer, heat the utensil in boiling water, then bend it around a curved object. So long as the silver is thin enough, you can then drill the silver to a small plank (or use glue instead). The result? A charming set of wall hooks!



Silverware DIY - Sunburst Mirror


This great mirror from Flamingo Toes is so much easier to make than it looks! All you need is some extra silverware, a plate, a mirror and some beads—and presto, a DIY silverware mirror!



Silverware DIY - Drawer Pulls


What better place than the kitchen to repurpose silverware for an unexpected functional purpose? Swap out your traditional cabinet drawer pulls in favor of  vintage utensils. Heat, bend, and drill!





Work a little charm into your garden with these great garden markers from MossyMossy. Hammer your silver utensil flat, then stamp it with whatever label you like!



Silverware DIY - Napkin Rings


From Brooklyn Limestone, not only do these forks-turned-napkin rings look like they were meant to be, but they’re also astonishingly easy to make! Just heat and bend.


For more on repurposing, consider:

5 Things to Do with… Globes
5 Things To Do With… Empty Wine Bottles
5 Things to Do With… Bottle Caps

Taylor Swift Sells Her Cape Cod Abode

Taylor Swift Sells Her Cape Cod Abode

Taylor Swift sold her Hyannis Port, MA, Cape Cod-style home for $5.6 million. Photo: Splash News

What do Bob Vila and Taylor Swift have in common, you ask? Apparently, a love for Cape Cod-style architecture! Taylor recently sold her large estate in Hyannis Port, MA, after owning it for less than a year. And while she never actually lived there, Swift did complete enough well-aimed renovations to earn a cool $1 million from the sale.

Read the rest of this entry »

ENTER NOW: Bob Vila’s March Mower Give-Away from John Deere!

Despite the still-cold temperatures in most of the country, spring will be here before you know it. That’s why we’ve partnered with John Deere to bring you Bob Vila’s March Mower Give-Away, just in time for the first cut of the season.


Starting today and continuing every day through March (until 11:59 a.m. EST, Monday, April 1, 2013), you can enter to win a new John Deere Select Series X300 Tractor with 42-inch mowing deck, valued at $2,999 (MSRP).

John Deere X300 Tractor Mower


With the John Deere X300 Select Series Tractor, you’ll never complain about mowing the lawn again!

Boasting a tight, 16-inch turning radius and enhanced steering maneuverability, car-like Twin Touch™ pedals for speed and direction control, and Exact Adjust ports and a deck-leveling gauge on-board, this tractor makes your normal yard maintenance an enjoyable, trouble-free experience. Under the hood, the 18.5 horsepower, V-twin engine is known for its superior air-cooled design and shockingly quiet power, part of the John Deere iTorque™ power system. Add to that a heavy-duty, welded steel construction and you have one high-quality mower that’s easy to use, smooth to operate, and destined to last for a long time. And when it comes to performance, the 42-inch deck will not only cut your lawn cleanly and efficiently, but control clippings too.

ENTER TODAY and every day in March to increase your chances of winning Bob Vila’s “March Mower” Give-Away!

To learn more about the John Deere X300 Select Series Tractor and the company’s full line of quality residential products, and to locate your nearest dealer for a test drive, visit John Deere.

The “Bob Vila’s March Mower Give-Away” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii  are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Friday, March 1, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Monday, April 1, 2013. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Last Chance to Win $500 in Our DIY Dollars Give-Away!

DIY Dollars Giveaway - Week 4Today kicks off WEEK 4—the final week of our DIY Dollars Give-Away—your last chance to WIN a $500 Do It Yourself Home Improvement™ gift card this month. (Entry period for WEEK FOUR is from 12:00 p.m. EST, Friday, February 22, 2013 until 11:59 a.m. EST, Friday, March 1, 2013. See Official Rules below.)

With spring just around the corner, just imagine the major home improvement upgrades you could achieve with an extra $500:

Open the Door. The front door is the first and last thing a visitor sees of your house. With a little extra room in your wallet, you can finally give your entryway the attention it deserves, whether it’s a fresh coat of paint or a brand-new fiberglass door.

Go Green. Put the extra cash toward updating your drafty windows, or replace an older appliance with a high-efficiency model. Remember, going green means saving green on your monthly utilities!

Clean it up. If you’ve been meaning to deep-clean your carpets, now is the perfect time. Rent a carpet cleaner and breath new life into your rooms. You can spend the leftover money towards a top-of-the-line vacuum cleaner.

Update Your Toolbox. Take your toolbox out of 1975 and into the 21st century! Use $500 to get yourself a handy new cordless drill, a laser level, or a magnetic stud finder—or all three.

Jump-start your garden. While it still might be chilly where you live, in a couple of weeks you’ll have your hands finger-deep in the garden. Think of how many plants, bushes, and shrubs you could add to your garden with $500!

Be sure to enter Bob Vila’s DIY Dollars Give-Away daily to increase your odds of winning. Do It Yourself Home Improvement™ gift cards from InComm are redeemable at thousands of home improvement retailers in the U.S. where Discover cards are accepted, including The Home Depot, True Value, Sears, Sherwin-Williams, Restoration Hardware, Lumber Liquidators and Menard’s.

To learn more about InComm, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s DIY Dollars Giveaway from InComm” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Friday, February 1, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Thursday, February 28, 2013. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.