Monday, September 26, 2016

DIY Can't Be As Easy As ABC: How To Simplify It

Doing remodeling work on a house is something that divides people. All of us see the need for it, for one reason or another whether it be to bring it up to date while living there or in order to sell it. There is no getting away from the need for it. What divides people is how they feel about actually doing it. While some see a house in need of renovation as a blank canvas, others see it as a money drain, a time suck or just a plain pain in the neck. Sometimes literally.

The fact is that sometimes it just needs to be done. And as we all know, it can cost time, money and effort to do it. Sometimes even what seem to be basic repairs and maintenance can start to add up. And which part of this bothers you depends on what you're short of. If you have the money, you may not have the time. If you have the time, you may be resistant to the motivation.

What does this mean in practical terms? Well, essentially it means a lot of people are looking for a way to stop it costing them so much. Either to save them money, time or work, they'll find solutions. And so much of human endeavor has been about finding easier ways to do things, so that is fine. What we have to be aware of is the fact that all that time saving or money saving can be a way of reducing the quality of what we end up doing.

Short cuts - or money-saving plans - can be useful for anyone doing up a house. But we need to be conscious of the fact that there are good ways and bad ways of making the job more simple. You have to make sure you're staying on the "good" side of the tracks.


Bad Idea: Saving Money By Buying Bad Equipment


If you're looking to paint a room, you know more or less what you'll need and what you expect it to cost. You can save yourself a chunk of money by buying cheaper brushes or rollers, cheaper paint and so on. However, it is best advised that you don't. Why? Well, you may think you're saving money, but you're definitely wasting time. It will take longer to coat the walls completely if you use lower-quality tools.

Not only that, but even financially it can be a total false economy. Instead of saving you cash, it can mean another trip to the hardware store to buy more paint, more brushes and more of everything. The upshot is that you've lost out on all fronts.

Good Idea: Have A Plan And Stick To It
We all know the importance of planning when it comes to any major task or set of tasks. What this means is not that we make a list of rooms and what colors we want to make them. We need to go deeper than that. In doing so we can manage our time better and know exactly where we should be when. It needs to be realistic, and it needs to be detailed.


What you don't want is to find yourself standing in a room that's half painted, looking at the walls and thinking "This is taking forever. And I don't even like it!". Do your thinking in advance - it should take half a day to finish an average-sized bedroom. Longer for a living room, less for a kitchen or bathroom. Budget that time - it will stop you from rushing a job to get it done while it's still light out.

Bad Idea: Don't Expect It To Be Easy
There is a good reason that painters and decorators get a lot of money for what they do. And it isn't our laziness. Okay, well, some of it is. But mostly it's because what they do isn't easy. By the time you've masked doorways, lightswitches and skirtings, it takes time.


Even in that prep work, people can get things wrong. That's before you even put brush to wall. If you've never done a specific job before, watch a few instructional videos before trying. It takes ten minutes, which is more than long enough to make a mess if you don't know what you're doing.

Good Idea: Know What You're Working With
It's easy to make a list of what needs to be done, and not much harder to work out what tools are needed. But a lot of people merrily buy what they need without working out how to use it. They then expect the tools to do most of the work themselves. Truth is, they'll do a lot for you, but you have to know what you're going to get from them.


A lot of people hear about time-saving, work-saving devices and think they'll be able to do a one-day job in an hour. Experience should teach you that's not going to happen. Look online and you'll find complaints about Paint Zoom and other such tools. The expectation is that they will make it all easy. They won't, they will make it all easier. There is a difference, and you still have work to do, just less of it.

People who don't enjoy doing remodeling work in a house will be the most likely people to look for those short cuts. This is how the products are sold, how they are advertised. Bear in mind that when they claim that the product will make things as easy as ABC, you can expect them to at least be a few letters harder than that.

If you try too hard to make a job easier, then you can end up making it harder. You can't save time, money and effort and end up with a job that looks professionally done. But you can make things simpler and still get it right. It's about managing your expectations as to how much simpler things will be. If it were that easy, people wouldn't make a living from doing it for others, would they?

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