How to Develop DIY Skills if You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  January 22, 2014 — 4 Comments

How to Develop DIY Skills

Nick and I are far from handy. I have a bit of an advantage in that I come from a long line of DIYers on both sides of my family, but the fact that I am not at all detail oriented holds me back. And I am not even exaggerating a tiny bit when I tell you that Nick could. not. hammer. a. nail. when we bought our house. I’m serious. I had to hammer all the nails. But the idea of home improvement is very appealing to me and so obviously as soon as we moved in I started planning projects. Nick is not so interested in this sort of thing but he goes along with it for my sake. And since we’re both cheap (Nick more so than me) and money doesn’t grow on trees the only way we’re ever completing any of these projects is to do them ourselves. So how did we gain the skills to get ‘er done?

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Google. Lots and lots of google. The internet is full of quacks but it can also be a wealth of knowledge. Before I start any project I research extensively, reading as many blog posts and other resources as I can from other folks who have tackled similar projects. I take notes and make a list of the supplies required and the steps I’ll need to take. And since Nick is not at all interested in spending his free time reading about home improvement I then take what I’ve learned and coach him on what I need him to do. I’m really lucky that he usually just goes along with whatever plan I’ve got as long as I’m not busting our budget. We were driving to Lowe’s the other day to pick up supplies for our beadboard backsplash and we were almost there by the time he turned to me and asked as if it’d just occurred to him, “What’s beadboard?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

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Here are some of my favorite resources for researching home improvement projects:

  • Good ol’ Google. Can’t beat that with a stick.
  • Ana White has lots of tutorials on woodworking, furniture building, and even home construction.
  • YouTube is an excellent resource for researching small and complex projects. I used it recently to learn how to fix a broken pane in a french door (though that particular project is still on the to do list!)
  • That Home Site/GardenWeb are great for researching purchases, renovations, outdoor projects, and, of course, gardening. Use the search feature to find forum threads related to your topic.
  • Pinterest is great for finding pictures to help you decide the look you’re going for. The search box is your friend!

Take notes, make lists, and have confidence. We’re not going to be tearing down walls anytime soon, but for less complex projects like creating a garden where there once was grass or even replacing a backsplash you can absolutely gain the skills you need with internet access and a bit of determination. I believe in you!

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


4 responses to How to Develop DIY Skills if You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

  1. My husband and I discovered Ana White too and she has some great tutorials! I think 2014 might be a big year for DIY for us. It’s so FREAKING expensive paying contractors. Like you we try to live modest and be smart about spending. If it’s a small DIY project we should be at least trying it!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap January 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      You’re so right! I dream of someday being able to afford a contractor but that day is not today!

  2. It’s true that the more you do, the more you can do…… One step at a time and know that you can do it. Great job Charlotte!

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