They say you learn something new every day. Well, if you’re a DIYer, that is certainly true, and then some. For today’s Friday Five, I am sharing five lessons I’ve learned about DIY, from my own experiences.
1. The Only Thing You Have to Fear Is Fear Itself.
I told the story once (in this post) about how I went to buy an augur to unclog our toilet. I was nervous as I approached the plumbing department at Home Depot. Why? People buy augurs all the time. It was just silly. (Spoiler: Bought the augur and fixed the toilet. Nailed it.)
Don’t be afraid to try a DIY project. I mean, don’t start with a project like building a house. But start small and TRY. You will be surprised at what you can do. A little fear to start means a big feeling of accomplishment at the end.
That being said, you should have a healthy little bit of fear when using power tools. And by “little bit,” I mean enough to ensure that you’ve read the manual of your tool, you are wearing the appropriate safety gear, and you are careful when using it. We want you to come back with all your fingers, after all.
2. Do It Right the First Time.
If you are going to DIY a project, do it right the first time. Even if it takes a lot longer than you thought, it will take much longer to do it wrong and then have to do it all over again.
As a corollary to this theory, know when to call in a pro. If you can’t get the job done right, find someone who can. There’s a certain contractor who will tell you that I’ve done this often.
3. Go with Your Gut.
My friend, Cynthia (whose lovely blog is Flotsam of the Mind – go read it once you’re finished here), said that her high school biology teacher told her that, statistically, women should always go with their first instinct. Now, I’m not sure what “statistically” means here exactly, but HE’S A SCIENTIST! It must be true.
For example, I found these lockers at the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity ReStore:
I painted them to go in my kids’ play area as toy storage. I got the paint on them, let them dry, and then freaked out. Maybe I should have painted the lockers white? Maybe black? Maybe they should go in my kitchen? Finally, the aforementioned Cynthia told me what her teacher had said and I took a deep breath. I was right to follow my instinct and paint them for toy storage.
Here’s what they look like now:
Someone once said (I can’t remember who. A mind is a terrible thing to lose.) that the DIY thought process has several phases:
1. This project is awesome!
2. Maybe this isn’t as awesome as I thought.
3. This really is not awesome. Like the opposite of awesome.
4. Maybe it’s not so bad after all.
5. This project is awesome!
Trust your gut. Trust me.
4. If Something Isn’t Working, Stop and Think.
If something isn’t working in a DIY project, don’t just keep banging your head against the same brick wall. Take a step back and think about it. What could you do differently? What tool would make this project easier?
Remember the post where Dear Husband and I moved a shed down the hill? We couldn’t figure out how to move that large, cumbersome shed. I stopped trying to move it and took a step back. Breathing and thinking is a good thing. Finally I solved the problem.
5. To Thine Own Self Be True.
Yes, you can spend hours on Pinterest and blogs and find all the trends, and you can put them all in your house. But if your house doesn’t feel like your home, then where’s the good in that? Trends are fine, but don’t jump on a trend’s bandwagon if it’s not your style.
For example, I don’t like faux taxidermy (or, for that matter, real taxidermy). I don’t care if every design blogger and every design magazine says that you are a fool if you don’t have a fake deer head above your mantel. I’m not doing it.
Your home should be a reflection of you. Surround yourself with design that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and safe and happy.
What are some DIY lessons you’ve learned? Please share in the comments.