The Benefits of DIY and Tips To Succeed

DIY signage
Benefits to DIY - Drilling

There is a DIY YouTube channel for pretty much anything out there; not to mention network television channels like DIY Network and HGTV to name a few. The DIY wagon is loaded and more passengers and jumping on! You may ask why? But more importantly, why haven’t you jumped on as well? It’s relatively cheap and very rewarding. We’re here to look at the awesome benefits of DIY and tips on how to effectively execute a project. So don’t even think about hiring someone, just Do It Yourself.

Every year more and more persons are realizing that the solution to a problem is not beyond them. With good guidance, you can build your own or fix your own anything. I too am an avid believer in the DIY movement and I love every moment of learning something new. Then the excitement and impatience swoop in when I finally see my project coming to life and looking like what I want. It’s awesome! But the best part is, anyone can DIY.

What is DIY?

DIY is a popular term meaning “Do It Yourself”. DIY is the method of building, modifying, or repairing things without the direct aid of experts or professionals. Thankfully, we can have our experts and professionals at our fingertips and mouse clicks. The internet has made DIY one of the most rewarding endeavors in today’s world.

A brief history of DIY

Benefits to DIY - Old tools
Photograph by Philip Swinburn

DIY has been around for a very long time. From ancient temples in Greece to the home improvements of the early 1900s, DIY has been always been intertwined within our cultures but it wasn’t really recognized as it is today. This is mainly due to fact that information was hard to come by.  Now it is prevalent in many parts of the world. Let’s look at how at the DIY movement of the 1970s and onwards.

Whole earth catalog

The movement spread through North America in the 70s by the aid of magazines. One such was the Whole Earth Catalog written by the young visionary, Stewart Brand. The initial magazine and its successors focused on tools such as carpenters’ and masons’ tools, garden tools, welding equipment, chainsaws, and fiberglass materials and so on — even early personal computers. During this period, DIY content grew rapidly from single articles to entire “how to” books.

However, the advent of the World Wide Web is the primary reason why this movement grew exponentially beyond the scope of North America to the farthest parts of the earth. Bulletin boards like HouseNet and websites like HomeTips.com were among the first Web-based sites to deliver free extensive DIY home-improvement content created by expert authors.

By the late 1990s, thousands of site across the web were publishing DIY content. The momentum of the movement was in full swing and there was no stopping it. The rest of the story is where we are now…countless materials are out there on the web for “how to” DO something.

Benefits to DIY

Now let’s look at the benefits to DIY. The most obvious answer is that you can save money right. This is true and we can all cite the ways DIY can help us save more but I would like to point out some other benefits of DIY; benefits that would not readily come to your mind.

1. It can be very fulfilling

DIY is certainly fun! The joy of seeing something you’ve made come to life, especially when you’re not a professional or expert in the field to begin with. It gives a sense of accomplishment and who doesn’t want that feeling every now and again.

2. It will help you to relax

To follow up on the previous point, DIY helps to relieve stress. When you’re caught up with some project, it consumes your time and thoughts, pushing back all negative experiences so you may focus on the project at hand. This is one of its most powerful benefits for me. I can remember those times when building a wooden lamp was like therapy for me.

3. Learn a valuable skill

This cannot be overstated. DIY places you into a classroom where you are endowed with knowledge and wisdom. In the past, we would have to pay someone to teach us some new skill. But now you can learn how to tile your bathroom wall, do your own landscaping or even decorate your house like a pro with scrap materials all for free! Thousands of courses are available online, thousands of videos and other content on how to become proficient in an area. Make use of them.

4. Helps you to meet new people

You will meet others just like you when you start to search on how to DIY. You will find persons with the same issues you have and how they overcame them. Meeting like-minded people helps you to broaden your knowledge and expand your network. Plus, we all could use a little extra help some time.

5. You can help out a friend

Speaking of help, DIY allows you to be able to help out a friend in need. Your new skill will come in handy when there is a friend who needs to undertake some project, like making use of extra space in wall corners. Good thing is, you know how to do this. Your new skill will help to build a stronger relationship with your friends, not to mention impress them.

6. Gains respect of others

I have been on the receiving end of quite a bit of ‘wows’ and surprised expression when my colleagues find out that I built that floating shelf or that lamp. This is what I’m talking. Others tend to admire your work ethic and creativity when they realize the project you’ve undertaken and accomplished. A little confidence booster goes a long way.

7. Makes for better conversation

My stories of what happened while I was building are always a very funny point in any conversation. Your experiences will allow you to be able to share more substantially in conversations at work or even on a date (That point should’ve been earlier right). But it’s true, there is usually a lot of mirth in DIY stories and the more you have the better. Just don’t overdo it on that date ok.

8. Increases home equity

Benefits to DIY-beautiful home
Photograph by Gustavo Zambelli

As you commit to several projects, you can change the look and feel of your home completely. DIY has that power because you tend to undertake these projects little by little and before you know it, you’ve added significant value to your home through your home improvement projects. You probably would start a garden, plant some trees, repaint, refinish the deck and so on.

9. Keeps the brain sharp

Earlier I spoke about how DIY helps to distract you from negative thoughts and instead drives you to focus on the task at hand. In addition to that point, DIY also helps to improve your focus, problem solving skills, critical thinking analysis and increase your spatial reasoning abilities. Wow right. These simple tasks can have an amazing impact on your intellectual growth. From time to time you will have to improvise to fix a situation and this experience can really improve your reasoning capabilities as your think of a solution to the problem.

10. Exercise and weight loss.

While your mind goes into an aerobics session, so does your body. Well kinda. DIY involves a lot of movement at times and this is beneficial to your health. The constant movement helps you to burn those calories and many times you even forget about eating because of your desire to complete the task. DIY will help to encourage the health of the body and mind.

11. Make extra money

Your newly acquired skills are often utilized on a pro bono basis but there is also the opportunity – and it may present itself – when you are offered money to replicate a project you’ve created. This is the chance to earn some extra bucks for your new skills. As long as your work in organized and professional, you will get offers. Be prepared by knowing how the market prices certain tasks and products.

12. More options in retirement

As I get older, I often think about what I’m gonna do when am real older. Well, after I retire, I don’t just want to sit around, do nothing and wait. I still want to be active and what better way to be active on your own time than to be engaged in some DIY around the house and yard. Your days will be filled with purpose and life again as you leave the office behind. Start new projects every month if possible. Never stop doing it yourself! (Unless you can’t of course)

Challenges you may encounter when you try to DIY

Confusion when Doing it yourself

As you begin to DIY there are bound to be some hiccups along the way. Some of these challenges are:

Insufficient explanation from your DIY guide

Sometimes the YouTuber or web author you are attempting to follow provides very little in the way of explanations. This leaves you in a place of confusion and halts your progress.

Possible Fix: When this happens, I normally search for another video or article with a similar item to what I’m building and if I’m successful with the search, I could improvise to get a fix for my own problem.

You do not have the proper tools or materials

I cannot state how many times this has happened to me, especially when I just started out with DIY carpentry. I didn’t have the proper power tools to help me carry out an effective and efficient job. This would then cause me to not even start the project.

Possible Fix: Made do with what you have until you possess the proper tools. You can find a variety of methods used to build particular things and this often involves using a variety of different tools/materials. Get to searching online using specific terms such as “alternative ways to…”

Intimidation

You’re not the first person to feel a bit intimidated by the DIY instructions. You wonder if you can really pull this off either based on the technicalities or the tools required. You fear you might fail. But don’t worry. Sometimes you’ll be unsuccessful at first. Failures and mistakes are a part of life and we can learn from them. The difficulty of the journey is a part of what makes these DIY stories so riveting anyway.

Possible Fix: Try to take it step by step. Re-watch the video if you need to, slowing down or pausing at problematic areas until you get it just right.

Start over if necessary

At times your project may turn out very badly. You may not have cut something to the correct size or perhaps you skipped a step or anything else that would cause your work to not turn out the way you want.

Possible Fix: Don’t panic or give up. Take a minute and look at what went wrong and most importantly, do not be afraid to start over. Either during the same day or the next. I find that the next day might be better to start over as you would wake with fresh enthusiasm and a new slate, perhaps even a new idea. Sometimes starting over is just what we need to succeed so don’t be afraid to do it. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Best practices to follow for DIY

Safety, safety, safety first!

That’s it.

Just joking. But safety is one of the most important aspects of DIY. I’ve undertaken numerous projects using power tools such as circular saws, sanders, drills and to this date I have never been injured while working. The risk will be there but we can mitigate against these risks by doing the following:

  • Wear safety goggles especially when dealing with wood, glass or any other sharp object.
  • Wear safety gloves based on what you’re working on. See a list of gloves and application below.
  • Wear dust masks when working with small flying particles such as sawdust, glass dust or chemicals.
  • Never remove safety feature from power tools or devices. Some devices are built with a guard to protect the user from making contact with the moving part of the device.
  • Use tool/ device as prescribed by the manufacturer. In other words, READ THE MANUAL.
  • Read or watch the content in its entirety first before attempting to start a project. Then read or watch again as a step by step guide to completing the project. This will equip you with the knowledge of the entire process so you may be familiar with the entire build and possibly make changes as you see fit.

Start your DIY project today with help from the following resources:

Delicious Lentils Recipes

Lentils in bowl

Lentils are often overlooked when we think about a healthy meal but they are packed with so many nutrients. Last time we looked at healthy breakfast options but this week we will look at some delicious lentil recipes to try. Let’s add some variety to our meals!

lentils

Lentils are edible seeds from the legumes family. They come in different sizes and colors. They are more popular in Asian and North African cuisines but the greatest production is now in Canada.

Lentils are known to be excellent food for a healthy heart, pregnancy, lowering risk of cancer and fighting fatigue. Read more on benefits of lentils.

So why not try these recipes at least once a week?

Let’s get into our recommendations!

1. Healthy & Fresh Lentil Salad Recipe

This is very easy to make and can be made once per week. Feel free to use the lentils you can find in your local grocery store. Try adding an apple to this salad; it would certainly add some flavor.

2. Lentils-Based Pasta

Lentils-based pasta done right! Try this recipe anytime. Feel free to leave out or add any other healthy option you think would enhance the flavor.

Buy Lentil-based Pasta

3. Power Pasta

Think about all your favorite vegetables in one pot and you have this power pasta. You can try using the lentil based pasta instead of whole wheat pasta.

4. Lentil Soup

Who doesn’t like soup right? This tasty lentil soup recipe is warm and soothing comfort food on a cold day. Paprika gives this healthy soup a tasty Hungarian twist. You’ll simmer tomatoes, onions, garlic, and aromatic vegetables with lentils in chicken stock and a little white wine.

5. Spicy Green Lentil Curry

Think of beautiful flavors and aroma and this dish is a perfect fit! A spicy but smooth blend of lentils seasoned with your favorite vegetables and curry. This can be enjoyed with rice or even bread!

6. Lentils And Rice With Caramelized Onions

A little middle-eastern touch is added when we try this lentils and rice cooked together with spices and herbs to make a healthy dinner.  

I hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of delicious lentil recipes!

5 DIY Wall Corner Shelves

diy wall corner shelf

So we’re back to our usual wood work DIY this week. Last week we took a short detour to look at some DIY decorations for your walls. This week our focus is still on your walls but we’re looking at — Corner shelves. Yup! Corner shelves are subtle but can add a very elegant touch to your rooms. So without further ado, here are our recommendations for DIY Corner Shelves!

Photograph by Derick Mckinney.

1. Wooden Wall Corner Shelf

You don’t need an entire tool shop of power tools or mad skills in carpentry, you only need to believe you can Do It Yourself! This shelf is beautiful and sturdy. You can use it for books, flower vase or family photos. The project is basically very easy to complete and can be done using very little power tools. Some persons may not have a miter saw as seen in the video and that’s alright, a circular saw could be used; only ensure you have a straight line to guide your cut.

Items needed are:

2. Dollar Tree DIY Corner Shelf

Affordable and easy is what this project is all about. The plaques cost less than $10 on amazon and you only need glue and spray paint afterwards. It is really that easy!

Items need are:

3. DIY Floating Corner Shelves

These floating corner shelves are perfect for photos and light flower vase. In the video she uses her miter saw a lot but if don’t have one you could use a miter box with handsaw for the braces. The shelves can cut to triangles using circular saw but be sure to have that line drawn accurately. Overall, it can be done relatively cheaply so don’t be too intimidated.

Items needed are :

  • 2 pieces of 2×2 of 13″ each
  • 1 length of 1×12
  • 1 length 1×3 1/8th
  • Miter box – Shop for this item or miter saw
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain

4. Corner Shelving

This project is one of my favorites because of all the space a shelf this would provide. But the obvious question is, how do you hang them? The builder sorta left that bit of detail out but I went and did some digging and found just the thing…shelf support. He also makes his own dowels, its up to you but I would just buy some 1/2″. So yeah, that’s all you need. You can either make one out of wood- see video below- or you can follow the link and browse your options on amazon. Either way, the end product is sure to please.

Items needed are:

5. Strong Floating Shelves

So these are technically not corner shelves but his method can be applied to a corner shelf design. You could even make it smaller than his. I believe the most useful takeaway though is how to install the shelves. His method could be applied to help you install the shelves in the previous recommendation.

Items needed: Rusty Dobbs is a pretty detailed guy and has a very good description under this video on Youtube. I think you will learn quite a lot from his explanations.

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