Since man was first allowed to own a home, he (or she) has had the uncontrollable urge to alter, tinker and change it on a near constant basis. If there’s one shared characteristic between all mankind, it’s that we get very bored, very quickly.
For a while, man was able to call upon the services of skilled workers to do his home tinkering, employing plumbers, electricians and handymen. And it was good; the workers were paid, houses were changed and everyone went home happy.
Unfortunately, man soon realized that paying someone else to do his handiwork was unsustainable. Man wanted to tinker, yet man couldn’t afford to tinker. There was only solution…
Do it yourself.
And so, DIY was born. Man took up tools and began doing all kinds of handiwork around the house. Man became adept at putting up shelves, drilling holes and other kinds of home improvement tasks. Who needs paid labor, said man smugly.
Then the problems started. Shelves were erected wonkily. Water pipes were pierced by over-zealous power-drill wielders. In some cases, hospitals were visited (although thankfully, not that often).
What soon became clear was that man needed a set of rules to abide by when setting off on the long and winding road that had come to be known as DIY – a beginner’s guide.
Forged in the fires of DIY mistakes past, this beginner’s guide will help any man or woman to get to grips with DIY and improve their home without the expensive help of professionals. Abide, and you will succeed.
The first rule of DIY is not to overestimate one’s abilities. In misguided arrogance or unchecked optimism, it’s possible to imagine yourself constructing an entire home on your own. Unfortunately, the reality of carrying out a DIY task differs greatly from any ideas you have in your head.
If you’ve never undertaken a DIY task before, start slowly. Begin with a nice starter project that won’t have too many implications should it go wrong. Once that’s completed you can begin moving onto new, more difficult tasks – although it’s always worth practicing techniques before you embark on a project proper.
The second rule of DIY is to ensure that you have the right tools for the job. It’s often said that a bad workman blames his tools, but in many cases, a good workman can too be hampered by ineffective tools.
Choosing the right tools for you usually comes down to how much money you have to spend. This will vary from person-to-person but as a general rule, investing in a set of mid-range tools that will last is better than buying the cheapest tools available and having to replace them within a few months.
The third, fourth and fifth rules of DIY are plan, plan and plan some more. If you think you’ve planned enough, you probably haven’t. Planning a DIY project before you start will help you avoid wasting time, save you money and make sure that your project is completed on time rather than looming for years like an ominous beast shaped like a half-finished kitchen.
A basic DIY plan involves breaking down your project into various tasks, and assigning each task a set amount of time. You can then schedule these tasks across the time you’ve allotted for your project. Remember to factor in breaks too; as stated earlier, humankind’s one shared characteristic is boredom, so mix things up by stopping for a cup of tea (other beverages are acceptable).
The sixth rule of DIY is not to be too proud. Pride is often the downfall of man, and this is no truer than with DIY. Most people will run into trouble at some point in a DIY project, but it’s how you react to issues that will define the success of your project.
Don’t take the ‘yourself’ part of DIY too literally. If you encounter a problem that is beyond your expertise, don’t be ashamed to call in professional help.
The seventh, and final, rule of DIY is to stay safe. DIY-related accidents account for a lot of hospital admissions that could have been avoided. Before starting any work, consider any safety issues that could arise and come up with solutions to prevent them. It might sound boring, but so is having to wait in the emergency ward with a nail through your hand for five hours. It’s more painful too.
So there are some beginner tips for amateur DIY’ers. There is, of course, much more to learn but those are lessons for another time. For now, go forth, young DIY’er, and improve!