I used to say that I wasn’t into reality TV at all, and then the daughters introduced me to HGTV. When I’m ironing or knitting and need a little dose of TV to keep me company I’ll often flip over to one of the home improvement or home buying shows. The husband can’t stand them. (Stay tuned for more on the chasm between our TV viewing habits later this nablopomo.) I’ve always enjoyed going on home tours and thinking about what we could do around our house if…we had the time, money, inclination, or agreement. Watching these shows certainly increases these thoughts.

D#1 and the SIL are currently contemplating another big DIY project, which got me thinking there should be some rules for that sort of thing. Then, in today’s paper there was a Q/A column titled “What do you need to know about DIY home improvements?” Isn’t it weird how often that happens – when you start thinking about something, references to that topic just seem to pop up everywhere? So here are the set of rules I came up with:

1. Can you afford to hire it out?  You still have to decide if it’s money well-spent, but obviously if you can’t afford to hire it out, you will have to consider DIY.

2.  Will I do as good or better of a job than a professional? I know some perfectionists who will take more care and be happier with the results if they do a project themselves. I know some people who will do it themselves and it will be fine, they don’t care about the highest quality. Just make sure that good enough also means following any building codes.

3.Will I enjoy doing it? At least at some level. Some home improvement projects are truly hobbies while some are just plain work. And some work is satisfying and some work is just plain dreadful.

4.Will I have time to get it done? People always complain about jobs taking longer than they were told. We just had a new breezeway fence and gate installed and it took FOUR trips for the fence company to get it installed correctly. But why do people always assume that if they do it themselves that the job will go any smoother? We always underestimate how long it’ll take for any of our DIY projects and we consider ‘number of trips to the hardware store’ a measurable job statistic. So if you need a job done by a specific date or you don’t have extra flexibility in your schedule to get it done, consider hiring it out. At least you’ll have someone else to blame.

5. Will I be proud afterwards? This might not seem important, but it is critical to maintaining desire for DIY projects. If it something you see/use/can show off regularly then the feel-good vibes of a job well-done will linger and help sustain you through the next project.

Personally, my DIY eyes are bigger than my DIY talents, but the husband both tempers my dreams and adds considerable talent to the mix. Also thanks to the husband, we can usually answer question #1 in the positive. As for D#1 and the SIL? They’re still writing their own set of rules.



2 thoughts on “DIY

  1. basil49 November 17, 2014 / 9:03 am

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. Yes.
    4. Mostly.
    5. Oh, HECK yes. You’ll have to imagine me walking past it several times after completion, pausing, and observing out loud, ” … DAMN, I’m good.”

    • Nancy November 17, 2014 / 9:17 am

      You are high on my list of successful DIYers! I’m still sad that you didn’t change careers a few years ago to become a handyman and come live with us for a couple of months. I would have happily exclaimed, “Damn, you’re good” as much as would have been required to keep you here doing projects.

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