5 Important DIY Tips For First-Timers

This weekend was my first crash course in DIY.  While I did love it, and the instant gratification was awesomeness, the work was not always fun, or easy. That being said, while I was was up on a ladder with pieces of ceiling falling on my head, I began making a mental list of lessons for you my dear readers, so not only can I warn you about the perils and triumph of parenting, I can now warn you about the perils and triumph of DIY!  Behold, my 5 greatest lessons learned about DIY so far.


1. DIY requires the whole-ass.  There is no half-ass on a good DIY job. There is no slap on spackle, quick sand and paint. Oh, No. It's fill the damn hole, wait for the spackle (aka. Damn Hole Filler Stuff) to dry, THEN sand it. THEN wipe the dust away. THEN paint.  I have to admit, it does look much better when you take the time to read the directions (or for me, listen to FTD). Again, no half-assing DIY.

2. It's a labor of Love. If you love what you are doing, then it's not nearly as bad when it requires hard labor. When I stopped looking at the project as a task on the list, but as an opportunity to make my house more beautiful, I slowed down and enjoyed the job. With one million and one more DIY projects left to do on our 1920's fixer upper, I am glad I learned this lesson early on.

Even though I had to go over the yard like ten times,
 it was so awesome to see all my hard work pay off!
3. Kid's can be a DI-Don't! This past weekend, FTD and I were not able to find anyone to look after the wild-child, so we made do. We traded off watching him while the other did their task, or gave him a dry paint brush to paint a dry wall, or a broom to "help" sweep.  (Read: Make a bigger mess.)  When DIY-ing with a child have plenty of activities planned out to keep the little one busy.

4. Do the Research before going to the Hardware Store to save time and money.- Know what you need, and price check it before stepping foot in the store. There are so many apps available now that can price check multiple stores for you. You can save a ton using them, also look for coupons and rebates online. I learned this because FTD said go get white exterior paint. So, off I went... to what I now fondly (or not) refer to as the wall of confusion. I was certain the words were not even English until I asked for help.

5. Sometimes it's best to seek out a professional opinion before you DIY.  I inherited a huge yard of overgrown somethings. I also inherited a very large tree that looks to have a very large disease. But before completely writing it off and cutting it down, I have asked a professional to come out and help me figure out how to save it, if possible.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of professionals who will come out to consult on a project and only charge a small fee and sometimes even do it for free!

Poor tree.  It's sick in only that one spot!
I am determined to save it.
Just in case you are wondering if FTD--The very well seasoned DIYer-- has any lessons he learned over the weekend to share, he does! But only one...

Don't leave a new DIY Dumbasser alone with a new job until you are sure she has a clear understanding of what she is doing.  I was left to paint a 'sofit,' but painted the trim around the sofit instead. Whoops! Whatever, it all looked extra pretty by the time I was finished.

After this weekend, I am so excited to start working on more projects. I am DIY-hooked!  Do you have any lessons you have learned that you can share?

If you are just joining the 1920's fixer-upper saga... please read, We Bought A 1920's Fixer-Upper! Why, Yes... We Are Completely Nuts!

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com