The Ten Commandments of DIY

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Disclaimer-Captain DIY and highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

Over here at Headquarters we don’t just dive willy-nilly into projects. There are a few things to know if you’re going to add DIY skills to your Life Optimization Package. Luckily, your old pal Captain DIY has compiled a list of the Ten Commandments of DIY. These are the ten biggest lessons to take into account If you want to grow your home improvement skill set to the level of Super Awesome. So get out the notebook, figure out who gets to dust off the eraser after, and let’s get to class.

1. Know Thyself

Have you seen a screwdriver before? If not, perhaps replacing a window isn’t the first job you want to tackle. Do you have a decade or two of handyman service under your belt? Maybe you should join the illustrious writing staff over at DIY to FI. Knowing where you are in the progression chart is crucial, and recognizing when something is over your head could save you, well, your head.

2. Know Thy Tools

Can’t wait to crack open that new folding table saw and get ripping? Maybe it’s worth a few minutes going over the manual and checking out all of the different adjustment options available before you fire it up. Some tools, especially those that use batteries, prefer a certain method of usage upon startup. The manual will tell you if, for example, your drill batteries should be fully charged before the first use.

3. Know Thy Job

Ok, the biblical language is getting a little old. But this is a good one. Knowing the scope of the job before you begin is crucial for several reasons: you will have an idea of the amount of time you’ll need to set aside, you’ll have an idea of the general budget required, and it’ll help you get psyched up and stay motivated throughout. If you know ahead of time the job is going to take 17 steps, you’ll be less likely to start feeling discouraged around step 13.

4. Holdest Patience With Thyself

Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. Can we talk like normal people here? The point of this one is to realize that you are not perfect, and you’re work will not be perfect right away. If something doesn’t work exactly the way you expect it to on the first try, don’t beat yourself up over it. Everybody starts at the beginning when it comes to these skills, some of us had the beginning a while ago and some are in it now. No big deal.

5. Useth the Appropriate Tools

Ok, it looks like we’re going with this. Deep Breath, Cap, you got this. The appropriate tools for the job are not only going to ensure safety, they will aid productivity immensely, thereby increasing the likelihood of the job Actually Getting Done. trying to cut a straight line four feet long with a jigsaw is not only going to take forever, it’s not going to be straight. Use the right tool for the job, even if it means going out and renting it. It’s cheaper to rent a tool for a day than buy twelve extra sheets of material because you keep screwing it up.

6. Maintain Your Tools

That…that actually sounded kind of normal. Are we done with that ridiculous and unfunny joke yet? Ok, carrying on. Keeping your tools in good working order and cleaning them as needed after use is extremely important if you want this DIY endeavor to actually work in conjunction with your Financial Independence (FI) goals. Buying high quality tools can be expensive, but if they are properly maintained they should last a lifetime, or at least until you give up and start hiring contractors. Spend a few extra bucks on the tool, and take the extra few minutes after use to make sure they are well cared for. This step will pay you back tremendously.

7. Ask For Help

Some jobs require more than one person, and to try to do them alone is a fool’s errand. I realize you are strong enough to lift that sheet of drywall over your head, but can you hold it up there with one hand while you put a screw on the tip of your drill and screw it in? How about when you miss the stud and have to get another one? Wouldn’t this be so much better if you had someone helping you right now? Wouldn’t it be better if an informative blog would stop using so many darn questions?

8. Understand Humility

This one ties in pretty closely with number seven. Recognizing that you need, or at least could really use, some help can be a rude awakening for someone who is used to being able to do everything on their own. After all, the name of this site includes the acronym for Doing It Your Damn Self. Or something like that, I don’t remember exactly. It can be hard to ask for help, and allowing yourself to realize that humility does not equal weakness is important not only for your psyche, but also for the chances of job completion.

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9. Learn to Enjoy the Work

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, right? Well, not exactly in this case. We are, of course, fairly concerned with the destination since that is the whole reason for doing this project in the first place. We don’t decide to unclog the sink because we haven’t had enough time with the plunger lately, we do it because we want the sink to drain. But wouldn’t it be so much better if we actually found a way to enjoy the time spent splashing around in there? It’s been said time flies when you’re having fun, and enjoying yourself during a project is a huge part of keeping the motivation to see it through till the end. There will be parts that aren’t as enjoyable, of course. Try to focus on the skills you’re learning and the incredible feeling of satisfaction you will get from a job well done, and you may even find yourself having some fun in the trenches. Whistling while you work is helpful.

10. Exercise Caution

This one is a big one. Safety equipment is key, and using it is even better. It doesn’t save you money replacing that receptacle if you get cooked in the process, so be sure to take your time and use the proper safety gear. If you feel unsure about something, see number seven. If you are feeling nervous about something, see number seven. I guess number seven is kind of a big one. The biggest takeaway here is take your time. The job doesn’t need to be done yesterday, you’re working for yourself here. If it takes you twice as long as you thought it would, so what? Tomorrow is another day.

Now that we have gone through this incredibly comprehensive and well thought-out and researched list, you can feel confident as you march off to your Honeydo list, tools in hand. Keep these commandments in the back of your mind as you’re going along, and if you feel that something is missing from the list, feel free to send a comment over with your suggestion. Until the next time, this is Captain DIY signing off. Learn to work for you, and you won’t have to go to work!

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