I’ve always been a DIY kind of person. Owning my own house has led to a definite increase in my desire and ability to take on bigger and more intense DIY projects. Sometimes I stay in my comfort zone, but sometimes I decide to try some new ideas which opens me up to all sorts of awkwardness. These projects can be pretty intimidating and sometimes that can be so stressful to me that it makes me want to drop the endeavor half way through. I’ve found some ways to offset awkwardness and overcome anxiety to get projects done and enjoy myself while doing it.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH. This is basically my number one tip for everything. Preparedness helps make almost any awkward task a little less awkward. The internet is full of resources for DIY projects and inspiration. Obviously Pinterest is DIY haven, YouTube often has video tutorials and doing a regular old Google Search is also invaluable.Look into the project steps, skill-level and necessary materials. This will help you with the shopping process and project implementation. Sometimes getting supplies can be overwhelming without research. For me, it’s when I have to walk into a home improvement store and pretend that I know what I’m doing. Research really helps. So does calling my parents from the store but that might just be me.
- ANALYZE RISK. It’s important to figure out how much you’re risking if a project goes badly. This can help you decide whether to attempt a DIY or not. Sometimes it isn’t worth it to try to do your own plumbing or sew your own wedding dress (Author’s note: I have never tried either of these things. Attempt at your own risk and depending on your own talents). If you might lose a lot of money or destroy something that matters a lot to you, think long and hard about taking the DIY approach. If you got some outdoor furniture for free (true story) or something from a yard sale that you want to repurpose, you can take some pretty big risks because you’re not investing much. Thinking this through also helps me from being paralyzed by the fear of messing up and without that fear your projects can turn out even better than you thought.
- SEEK ASSISTANCE. If you have a friend or family member who is also into the kind of DIY you are attempting, find a casual way to ask their advice. This can be a good conversation starter if you’re nervous about small talk and they will always have some tidbits you might not have considered. You might even be able to get some in-person help with your project or at least have a person to call when you are panicking.
- BORROW STUFF. Though DIY projects often have a money saving goal, the supplies and tools can add up in surprising ways. If you need something you’re never going to use again, ask around to see if anyone has one they can lend you or if you can rent it or buy it used. It can be wise to invest in tools for a hobby you’re hoping to pick up regularly (like knitting or sewing) but if you have a one-time need for a power washer or circular saw, you’re going to want to avoid buying one. Some cities even have spaces where you can borrow/ rent certain types of tools. That can be a scary environment, but it also can be a great way to meet new people with similar hobbies if you’re into that sort of thing.
- MANAGEABLE STEPS. Now you just need to DO the project and that can be an undertaking. If you’ve done all the other steps, you should be really ready. Still, it can seem like you have way too much to do and way too little time. I like to give myself small tasks with decent amounts of time. I don’t like to give myself overwhelming deadlines, but I do like to work from mini to-do lists that break the project up. If you have a whole Saturday to dedicate to a project, that’s awesome, but that might be a rare occurrence so aim to get little windows of time You can even use your DIY project as something to look forward to in the evenings after work.
Have you undertaken any DIY projects lately? Share your pictures and your awkward stories in the comments.