The Realities of DIY
Updated: Jun 3, 2022
As you may know, I've been trying to paint large daisies in my daughters' room for, let's see, about 2 weeks now. It's driving me nuts! It's only 8 flowers! Why is it taking so dang long?!
The best time of the day for me to paint is when they are NOT in the room (AKA not napping or sleeping at night), but guess who watches them when they are awake and playing outside the room, ME! "Me" also has to work while they are sleeping, leaving me with literally no time to paint their room unless Tyson has some free time to watch the girls during the day or when he's off work and can watch them during the small window of time between dinner and bedtime. I have gotten a little desperate for progress and risked my sanity by sneaking in after they've gone to bed - but it turns out it's pretty hard painting in minimal light. Go figure! I had some clean up work to do the next day.
Since I have never painted a mural before (I guess you'd call this a mural, right?), I have learned so much and my speed has started to pick up. Here's some take aways:
Never paint with sample paint. It's super flat and doesn't have all the nice qualities of normal paint.
X the small paint brush and just get a super nice "cut in" brush. It'll save a TON of time.
It's ok to free-hand. Just go for it! Don't be scared!
If you don't mind spending more money and want to save a significant amount of time, just buy the wallpaper and skip the whole custom mural ordeal haha!
More importantly, this 2-week long project (that could EASILY be done in a weekend) has me reflecting on WHY I even DIY. Why didn't I just spend more money and buy the wallpaper? Or even a stencil? Or hire someone to come do this mess for me?!
I mean, the realities of DIY are pretty harsh.
My house is often a mess. I have to corral my kids away from exposed walls, wet paint, floors covered in dust - don't get me started on the dust! So much dust.
Endless sweeping and mopping! You constantly feel like your house is dirty. You have to clean twice as much as you would normally from all the messes you make. Did I mention that dust travels? Oh, it does. It travels FAR.
One time, we lived without a kitchen sink and countertops for 2 months…
…and did it AGAIN the next year for 2 months! Insanity!
Our absolute least favorite: You feel like you can't invite people over when you're mid-project because your home isn't really conducive for visitors, especially if they have children. Even worse, when you DIY, projects take longer so your house isn't really welcoming to others for longer periods of time.
It's time-consuming, back-breaking, scary, and vulnerable.
Why do you think I've procrastinated the backsplash so long? I'm SCARED! I've never done tile work before - the idea of learning is empowering but I'm nervous I'm going to start the project, do a crappy job, and feel defeated. New projects are straight up DAUNTING.
So WHY do we do it?
There are a few reasons:
1) It's incredibly rewarding to simply create. Creating things stretches your mind and your skillset. I think we all are wired to create; whether that's art, content, software, hardware, physical structures, events, designs, patterns, solutions, habits, memories, etc. Think about your job or your hobbies, I guarantee you are creating something! And there's something about that creative process that brings you joy. For me, I love creating a space that is functional and makes my family feel at PEACE. I want our visitors to feel at peace went they walk through our home. I want our home to feel like a place of refuge. And I have the opportunity to CREATE that feeling by how I design it.
2) Hard work is rewarding, and learning something new and doing it well is even more rewarding! When you dive in head first, it's typically messy and a little unoraganized, but once you start feeling more confident and comfortable it gets better! You start feeling like you know what you're doing, you feel proud, and impressed with how far you've come and what you're creating! It's awesome!
4) You get to say "I did that!" When you create something there are 4 phases: planning, preparing, executing, and enjoying. Even though those first 3 phases are challenging and often times inconvenient, that last step is the best and totally worth it! You're so proud and so is everyone around you!
3) There's also a monetary reward. Without getting on my real estate soapbox too much, I'll just give you a brief example of how our DIY projects have been monetarily rewarding. We invested money into our first house when we got new carpet, painted, and completed gutted and renovated the basement and kitchen. We upped the value of our home by 40k in 2 years with a pretty stagnant housing market. As for our current home, we've updated our fireplace/entertainment area, put in a new kitchen (minus the backsplash ha!), and painted some of the rooms. We recently had our home appraised and it came back 120k higher than the price we bought it for a year ago! Granted, this housing market boom has helped, but the updates carried a MAJOR portion of that price increase! When done properly and with a good design eye, renovations are a form of investing! It's personally my favorite form of investing because I feel like I get to reap the rewards immediately AND when we cash out haha!
How do we do it?
Here's the thing about DIY's - they can make you go crazy. You cannot take on a DIY if you are not able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time. It's just not good for you or your family. It's mentally and emotionally draining to constantly live in a renovation. It's hard!
Before Tyson and I start a project, we always evaluate how long the project will take and how much it will cost. We discuss what we are comfortable doing ourselves, and what we are not comfortable doing. We try our best to study and stretch ourselves to BECOME comfortable with those harder tasks we've never done before. However, we also realize our limitations with skills, money, and time. Just because we can DIY doesn't mean we always should.
How YOU can do it:
Taking on a DIY project is sometimes a mental game and you have to be READY for it! I literally give myself a "locker room pep-talk" before we demo anything! Here are some questions that you'll need to discuss transparently with yourself and your partner/roommate/family when approaching a DIY project:
Have I done all the research necessary to feel confident in taking on this project?
Have I ran my DIY plans by a second pair of eyes and ears?
Do I have all the tools to DIY? Can I borrow some tools? Can I rent some tools? How much will tools cost?
Can we afford to hire out?
How much money are we saving by DIY? Is it worth my time and money? Is it more cost effective to hire out?
How long it will take to do it ourselves? How long is too long? What is our plan if I can't follow through with this DIY project? At what points do we hire out? (These are crucial questions.)
What accommodations will we need to prepare in order to make our living conditions as comfortable and functional as possible during the project?
Last but not least, the most important question: Who am I doing this for and why?
These stupid daisies are taking me forever! Like, FOREVER! But, who am I doing this for? I'm doing this for me, and my girls. I want to learn a new skill I've never tried before, and I want my girls to look back on pictures of their room and think, "Wow! My mom did that for ME!" Why am I doing it? Because I love my girls and I'm using my hobbies to show my love for them. I sure hope they feel it, if not now then some day.
No matter who you're doing your DIY's for and why you're doing them, I hope you have fun! I hope you enjoy CREATING, growing, and learning. Sure it's hard, but it's totally worth it; there is truly joy in this journey. You learn, grow, and get to share a piece of yourself with others. I'm glad I can share a piece of us with you!