how to do it yourself projects

How to do it yourself projects

 



Do You Do it Yourself?


Perhaps you are the type of person who wants to do things yourself when it comes to home improvement and adding storage, getting everything organized, or even adding a room to your home.

It takes courage, energy, and time to make something yourself.

When we are willing to take control and create our masterpiece, the rewards will be feelings of accomplishment and confidence moving forward to do even more significant, more challenging projects.

There are, however, problems for many people when it comes to storage and making our own. First, if we have no place to do the work of cutting or hammering and putting something together, that can be a show stopper.

Second, maybe we do have plenty of space, yet we don’t have a million dollars in tools and equipment, so building a castle with a barney screwdriver and hammer set just won’t get-r-done.

But let’s say, for the sake of our little home, do it your self project today, that you have a fantastic assortment of saws, hammers, work benches, levels, routers, and other equipment that would make any carpenter jealous.

image of man using saw to cut wood

And it is perfectly organized in your 2,000 sq ft. Master carpenters man cave because you are a neat freak.

That is all fine and dandy until someone realizes that they have no clue about what they are doing or about to do. After losing three fingers on the table saw, getting sawdust in our eyes, then tripping over the extension cord, and shooting ourselves in the foot with our fancy new nail gun, we might be thinking we made an unwise choice.

Perhaps we didn’t take into account that it would take 175 trips all over town to hardware stores, your brother’s house across the city who forgot to return tools he borrowed last Christmas that you now need, and the trips to the E.R.

And, just in case you can relate, check out my friends in the banner below.


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How Many experiences Do You Have?



It’s OK. I want you to know that I feel your pain, and none of us are perfect. For many of us, it is quite a challenge to build things. I have worked in several cabinet shops, then for Duo-Fast, which sells nail staples and air tools. (I am just giving you my shortlist here)

These are what now dominate the construction and carpentry industry, drive-by any construction site where they are putting together frames, and it sounds like machine guns going off. The day of handheld single-action hammers is long gone in this age of instant everything.

Along with cabinet shops and DuoFast, I also did roofing for a summer, took woodworking in high school, have done odd jobs here and there like building a new porch or deck with my brother, who, for reasons still unknown to me, God blessed with the ability to do anything he wants to do.

For the rest of us who struggle to get the hang of things, our attempts at-home projects may not always be so smooth and simple.

So I told some of the places I worked with my hands and used various tools to know that even after all of that experience, I am still not that good at any of it. Don’t get me wrong, I still try. I fixed the roof on the big wooden shed out back a few months ago, all by myself.

I am just glad it is on the roof where no one can see it.

It no longer leaks, so that, to me, is what matters. Now, if a drone ever flies over my place, then never mind. I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing it themselves. Doing a job yourself is still a great way to customize your home or closet, and it can be a lot of fun as well.



Do it Yourself the Right way.



Now, where were we before I distracted myself?

Oh, yeah, OK, so if you return from the emergency room, you are still man or woman enough to give it another go, then I salute you. Please wear your goggles, put the cord out-of-the-way, so you don’t trip, use a guard when cutting with any tool, and maybe get a friend to come over and help.

 

getting help with a DIY project

And in all seriousness, practice safety and never do big projects yourself without the right tools or knowledge.

It can make you feel silly or like you not good enough, and that’s just not true.

You may not be as good as someone else, but who cares. There is no need to get all filled with feelings of failure when you just failed to learn what is required.

Just make a good plan, think it all through, ask for help if you need it, and then take your time and do the very best you can.

You may be surprised to find you have a talent for making cabinets or shelves or whatever your project may be.



Slow Your Roll



And then don’t be in a hurry, it will just take you longer by creating some unpleasant experiences like the ones we already covered.

Moving on, we now have space, we have all our tools, we have gained real-life experience of the dangers that are there, and we are going to do this.

So if you want to make a custom closet or a large cabinet, a coffee table, or an entertainment center, not so fast.

If you have never attempted this before, you need to do your due diligence by getting some drawings or writing down your ideas along with all the materials and dimensions.

making plans

Do you know the steps to follow for your project to run smoothly and not have to tear it all down on week 7 to fit something in it that should have been a week 3 job?

Better to ask and answer these questions now rather than later. Perhaps you are adding a small room for storage onto your home, and it requires a permit to do so.

Does the job require any special skills that you will need to outsource or delegate rather than frustrate yourself and bring your project to a halt?

How about the type of nails, screws, wood, and hardware that, in some cases, may be unsafe if you don’t use the right kind for the job. Have you considered All the little details that go into making something end up like you want it to be?

I can confidently say that the roof I replaced reminds me of being a kid and having patches sown on the knees of our blue jeans. Unfortunately, It was only really cool when Eddie Van Halen did it.

image of man working on home DIY project



Details Matter, Make Good Plans



Own your project and don’t get caught unprepared and frustrated because you failed to write it all down and look over it carefully before you started.

If you are doing a complex job or even if it is not complex but is new territory for you, then draw up some plans and give it a go.

Or, Have someone else draw them up for you if you arent sure exactly how, and you will be glad you did.

It can never be too detailed when you start, and you can always make changes as you progress with the project. But if you don’t plan and aim for something very specific, you might end up with something very unspecific that your friends and family will talk about for years to come.

Or, you may get “the look,” and I don’t want that for you.

the sarcastic look from a scarecrow

Picture in your mind exactly what it is you want before you start.



That Looks So Easy. Anyone Could do That



Shelving and closets can be simple or complicated, and these days you can go to Youtube and watch a master carpenter make it look like a cakewalk and tell you how simple and easy it is so that anyone could do it.

Yet keep in mind that when people are good at something, they can make even the most difficult and complex job look so easy from the comfort of your couch.

There may be times when what they are showing you is quite easy, yet I keep laughing when I watch them make closets, shelves, bookcases, and all kinds of D.I.Y. projects to organize your home because they don’t know me.


(Do it yourself projects have always been around. Everything was DIY at one time, and they still survived without Walmart)

image of a woman sawing wood


One of the reasons it seems to go so smoothly and only takes 10 minutes to build a small house is the magic of editing. That, and the fact that it is probably what they do for a living, so of course, it is easy for them.

It is a world of visual enticement that we all have to live in and filter out the absurd. Of course, it may be easy, but typically not on the first attempt at something. Crawling seems quite easy to me now, but not when I was 3 months old. Just know what you are getting into before you start.



We Are Family



I would add here that if the project you have in Mind creates an opportunity for you to help others or do it with family and spend more quality time together, then take advantage of it.

This is the kind of thing that can create wonderful, lasting memories and make families stronger.

These days we all want a top 10 list of the best ways to do this or that, and I think that’s great, and I like that too.

I am just not big on being like everyone else. I tried for years. It just doesn’t work for me.

Having said that, here are my top ten ……..drum roll please…….things to keep in mind when you want to do the job yourself because that’s just how you roll!



Top 10 Things to keep in Mind When you Do it Yourself

 



  • #1-Make a detailed plan- this is the most important point as this is going to guide you to the promised land!

  • #2- Ensure you have a place where you can do the work efficiently and leave things there over time and not have to spend too much time and effort moving everything in and out. This is obviously for any project that you won’t finish in a day. This one should be part of tip #1, but I will mention it in its own little number because it is something we have all likely overlooked in a project. Make sure you have all the tools and equipment you need for the job. Now, as a side note, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a bunch of tools, especially if your job requires larger equipment than just a screwdriver and hammer. There are hardware stores that will allow you to rent certain tools often daily,  and if you are going to be using it one time, it may save you some money. This could also be a great opportunity to borrow tools and equipment from the friends and neighbors who keep coming over to borrow something of yours. Or, in some cases, this could be the opportunity for you to go and get back the tools people borrowed from you and haven’t returned.

  • #3- Know your closest emergency room and have a phone nearby or good transportation. No, I am kidding. That’s not the real tip ( unless it applies). The real tip is always to practice safety. Please read the instructions on power tools and familiarize yourself with the potential hazards, so you don’t end up regretting it later. When I think of certain people and how I would feel if they had an air-powered nail gun that could shoot out nails like bullets, it changes my entire mood. I no longer feel safe. Read the instructions and ask someone to show you how to use them if you haven’t used anything before. And remember, at one time, someone had to show them how to use it as well.

  • #4- Read, research, and don’t try to recreate the wheel if you don’t have to. Unless you are building a 10 story master closet with elevators, rotating glass shelves that light up and talk to you, chances are someone else has already made something very close to what you are making. Learn from those who have gone before you and use their advice. And if you do make a closet like that, please send me a picture. It’s not cheating to copy a good idea. It may be lying if you tell everyone it was your idea, but it is not cheating. Take advantage of all the information at your fingertips, as this may speed up the process and save you from a lot of frustration.

  • #5- While you are all my heroes for doing it yourself, don’t be a hero. If a job requires more than one person at any point during the project, then get someone to lend a hand for the particular task, then go back to doing your thing. Just because you had someone help you move or do something for a few minutes doesn’t mean you didn’t do it yourself.OK, technically, it does, but I am just trying to encourage you to be smart about it, and I will not tell a soul if you won’t.

  • #6Watch the weather forecast for the day or days you plan to do the job. Even if it will be primarily done indoors, going to get all the materials and bringing them home when there is an F-5 tornado bearing down on you could dampen your spirits a bit and give a whole new meaning to storm chasing. Try not to do a big project that requires being in and out of the house in the middle of winter either, for obvious reasons.

  • #7- It’s OK to be different cause so am I. When it comes to your home and how you want to design a closet or cabinet, don’t be overly concerned about it looking just like everyone else’s. Now I don’t mean to ignore all the basic design laws that we must follow or throwing common sense out the window and using a tack to hold up a 10-pound shelf made from oak. But if you like purple, by all means, paint it purple. It is for you, silly. ( you may want to paint it a different color if you want to sell the home someday) . But until then, put up your purple rain theme in your closet if it makes you feel like a prince.

  • #8 Use the highest quality products you can afford to put into your project. If you want something you will enjoy for years to come and that will look good and be something that doesn’t fall apart, then spend a few extra dollars now and avoid having to replace or upgrade later.

  • #9- Do not cut corners when you do your home projects, regardless of what it may be. Safety aside, it is simply not in you or your family’s best interest to cut corners, leave out things because of inconvenience or be in big of a hurry. I grew up hearing the older men say quite often that if I was going to do a job, do it right.

  • #10- There is no number 10 (I told you I have to be different. A top 9 list sounds like it’s missing something.)

There you have it, my top 10(9) tips and suggestions that you may want to consider before you begin your D.I.Y. project.

Good luck, I know you can do it!

Michael

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