I watch quite a number of DIY videos - I guess because the World Wide Web is bursting at the seams with them too. I had figured I wasn't so bad as a handy person when I was younger. At least where I come from, I wasn't expected as a girl, to be interested in fixing things or be able to fix them. While growing up though, you could almost always find me with my Dad when he was putting something together or tearing it apart. It gave me some measure of satisfaction to see something become of a jumble of pieces of nothing (not like there were many opportunities to put things together really in those days - a divider here, a ceiling fan there). I surely favored it to sitting around in the kitchen after helping prepare vegetables and stuff for a meal.
|Photo credit: Pixabay|
I grew more confident about my 'handyness' when I got admitted to study some 'pseudo'-Engineering course in University. But I quickly realized I wasn't as good with my hands as I'd thought. I sucked at wood work and never attempted welding and my technical drawing course (in as much as I enjoyed the technicalities, I decided it wasn't my cup of tea) was one abysmal failure. Outside academics though, I was still comfortable doing minor fix-ups at home - stepping in for dad sometimes to fix things as long as they don't require extra strength.
All-in-all I think DIY is cool, empowering and it appeals to the minimalist in me - change the look of an old (white) sneakers; use plastic, plastic and more plastic in the 'most' creative of ways in the house; solve those sticky problems using simple?, tested and trusted options etc. I admit, I have tried a few of these - absolutely nothing over the top though - a plastic bottle here and rice as a desiccant there, put together the fans here and a shelf there - but I must have gotten carried away with regards to my DIY prowess at some point, because I went online and bought, not 1 or 2 but 5 DIY home decors - 2 clocks, 2 wall decals and a tiny shelf.
My first shock was discovering that it was not at all put together. Nothing. Zilch. Hmm..."oh well I can manage", I thought. I got over my initial shock almost a week later and put together the first 2 - clocks. I started by spending time reading the (poor excuse for) directions. It was a good thing that I had a clear idea what the final product was supposed to look like, so after much struggle with positioning the many parts on the second clock (and several attempts at giving up), I did an ok job of putting up the clocks. However, it took about a month later to fix the wall shelve, the easiest of all the DIYs. It was pretty, but pretty much useless (it was too small to hold any number of normal sized books) and the rungs hung precariously between booth footholds. Oh well, at least it was pretty.
Finally I got around to fixing the decal (1 of 2). Listen up! It took me at least 3 months to prep myself to put up the decal - i read the (sorry excuse for) documentation many times and even went online to get tips. They made it look simple and straight forward. I was deceived. For a decal that had less than 15 words on 2.5 lines, I spent at least 3 hours, aching arms, sweaty me with the fear that it wouldn't come out right (and still got a ripped 'W'). Given, it was at a height and that made it that tad more difficult to put up. In the end it doesn't look so bad but it isn't at all aligned to the wall - who cares! (the slightly OCD part of me does). After I'd done all that, I looked at the last decal in the shipment I received 4 months ago and 'side-eyed' it. I have decided that this (at least 50 words) decal will have to either be someone else's problem or I'd tackle it when I move house. Nowadays if I see DIY stuff on sale, I spend some seconds admiring it but not remotely considering making a buy.
I still have a DIY list though. I want to bake bread and scones and grill fish (see I have done the non-kitchen ones already)...and NOT put up any more decals.
|Photo credit: Pixabay|
There are things I learned from my DIY experience:
- what you see and what you get depends largely on how well you put it up: So if you are finicky (and you should be) get the professionals to do it if you can afford it
- if you still insist on DIY, then read the manual (no matter how shoddy), get as much help and 'training' (read as Youtube videos) as you can and if you are still unclear ask our dear mutual friend (google)
- before you set out in an adrenaline rush to put everything together check that you have everything you need*: Check the items inside the box and physically check that you have everything the box says you should have, plus make sure you have all the things you need to put your purchase up (screw drivers, sellotape, markers and an extra hand - just in case)
- it still gives a sense of satisfaction when you put stuff up successfully: So have fun while at it
- you win some, you loose some: Don't be too hard on yourself for the ripped w's that are bound to happen
- if you are buying online, take everything with a pinch (teaspoon) of salt especially if you are buying in places like Nigeria (I don't mean to blacklist us but my experiences have not all been great and customer service is still not top-notch): Check out the seller's profile if available - reviews et-al; decide on the balance between payment methods and inspecting the condition of goods that you ordered for (for better control I do payment on delivery for smaller, not-as-visible stores) and understand the return policy, if any. I found out while receiving my orders that one of the clocks didn't its dial in the box. Imagine a clock without a dial!!!
- don't forget to stay safe while doing your DIY (funny yeah?)
- BONUS*: At the end of your DIY, you shouldn't have any left overs if everything went exactly according to plan and there were no extras in the 'box'
Share your DIY stories - the good and the not-so- good in the comments below. Or if you are one of those who don't see the point to all the DIY brouhaha let us hear it too.
*I learned this at my last paid job