Why We DIY

To catch you all up to speed, my husband (Tom) and I are in the midst of a kitchen renovation.

Actually, it affects our entire downstairs area. I wrote a post on our renovation plans here and you can see what we hope the finished product resembles.

We've been without a kitchen for two weeks now. We wash dishes in the bathroom sink, dust from demo work has begun to settle throughout the entire home, and we have no where to "sit" besides a bed and a desk. We have to shower nearly every night to get the grime out of our hair, and all our spare moments are usually filled with planning for the "next step." This will go on for another several weeks.

If you're reading this and thinking to yourself "Whyyyy?? Why do you do that to yourself, when you could have someone else do it FOR you?" then you're in the right place. Not to mention the fact that we get asked this question pretty frequently, so it seemed like a good time to answer! Let me explain to you why we DIY. Who knows, maybe you'll catch the bug too!

1. It saves money

I bet you saw that one coming.
It's true! It saves an enormous amount of money. If you were to Google "cost of a kitchen remodel" I guarantee you wouldn't see an answer for less than 20K. If you do see it for less than that, it certainly wouldn't include new cabinets, floors, or backsplashes. Let me tell you a secret... our total renovation for our downstairs will cost around 8K. That includes new appliances, countertops, cabinets, a sink, lighting, demolition, paint, and more. It's so cost effective it's not even funny. Okay, maybe a little funny.

2. You learn

Education is priceless, is it not? Well, when our inspector came rolling in the other day to make sure our renovation was a go, I held my own and talked about Romex wire and joked about the lack of GFCI outlets where they should obviously be placed. It felt good to know what the heck I was talking about and not stand there with a glazed over, blank stare. Don't mistake me, we are certainly no replacements for plumbers and electricians, but we do heavy research for even the smallest things and quadruple check that we're doing everything correctly. It's incredibly rewarding. Especially when something breaks, even if just slightly, and we can fix it ourselves right away instead of waiting for help to come and charge us an arm and a leg. Did I mention it also teaches you patience? A good one for the sinfully impatient ones like me. 

3. We enjoy it

A work of your own hands is something that you can attach a very personal pride to. We get bumps and bruises, work long, tiring hours, and get dirt on our hands and paint on our cheeks. But we do it together... and as a couple, we've grown. It's taught us how to disagree in a freakishly agreeable way. It's very stressful work, but we've learned to take a grain of salt with every set-back and not get too distraught. It's fun! Not always, of course, but much of the enjoyment comes from the attitudes of those working on it. So we just keep it positive and share the love of the reno-life. 

4. We go at our own pace

You know that old saying, "There's no time like the present!"
Well, we get to control when "the present" really is. We tackle one room at a time based on schedule, finances, or whatever else. Sometimes we've gone straight from one project to the next, and other times we've given ourselves a break from the chaos. We get to decide when a project starts and ends and we don't have to wait on people to show up and do the work... because it's always us! We've even been spontaneous and started a project after talking about it only a day prior. We weren't going to even start the kitchen until this fall, but the pieces aligned and we created a schedule and got to work. 

5. Customization

Sure, you can ask a contractor to do something an exact certain way, but you can't always guarantee the message will get across just how you mean it. Plus, by doing it yourself, you get the option of finding all the parts for as little or as much money and from wherever you choose. That means I get to find weird quirky pieces to add at the last minute without having to halt anyone's work or try to schedule around someone else's time.

6. It was passed down

Both Tom and I come from families who DIYed. Having grown up with handy fathers and creative moms, we are especially open to the possibilities that doing it yourself brings along. I lived in a house that was undergoing a gut job and I spent my summer playing in boxes from the new cabinets in our backyard. I've helped hold tools while I watched my dad fix things, and I dragged my feet through many a home improvement store. Tom spent a summer or two as a handy man, and his skills have easily transferred into our renovation life. We love being able to call our parents and ask for help and learn from their experiences. 

7. We can

We're young and able. We're smart. We can handle (and happily welcome) the challenge and brain power it takes to figure out all the idiosyncrasies of doing it yourself.

For us, the bigger question with DIY has become...

...why not?

What about you? A DIYer, or not so much? Questions for me? Leave a comment!

HouseJoy Johnsonwhy diy