12 Simple Steps to Become a Better DIYer
There’s a real learning curve on the path to DIY mastery, and it comes complete with peaks, valleys and plateaus. Here are 12 tips that will help you have better DIY skills. These tips span from simple tricks to make your projects go smoother to ways you can broaden your knowledge base and connect with other DIY enthusiasts. No matter where you are on your DIY journey, there’s something here for you.
Incorporating a desktop, laptop or tablet into your work space allows you to watch videos, research material properties and, of course, check out The Family Handyman for tips and tricks to improve your better DIY lifestyle. It’s a good idea to get hold of used electronics for this if at all possible, since the dust and debris in most workshops will take a toll on most electronics. This is another great opportunity for repurposing. When you buy a new family computer or tablet, the old one can migrate to the work space.
Prior Planning for a Better DIY
If you love painting your home with the latest palette, for instance, you’ll likely want to keep painter’s tape, surfacing compound and rags on hand at all times. By automating this element of project readiness you’ll free up your mind to focus on the task, rather than the incidentals. This will make for a better DIY experience.
Choose Your Tools Carefully
Consider digging a fence post hole. It’s not a technically difficult task but it would be difficult and wasteful if you try to do it using a garden spade. A power auger would make the job flow much easier but may be beyond your budget. Instead, a thoughtfully selected group of hand tools might be your best choice. An excellent summary of tools for post hole digging can be found here: Pro Tips: How to Dig a Hole.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
But when it comes to repurposing, consider your tools as well. A precision saw may cut true for years but enough wear and tear will mean that its lines aren’t quite straight any longer. It will need to be replaced, but rather than pitching it completely why not designate it as a rough framing saw? Eventually it can be downgraded again, to demolition use.
Chances are that you’ve already got some kind of organization system for your tools and shop space. If not, here’s a great place to start: Workshop Organization Tips.
But if you want to kick your efficiency up a level for a better DIY, track what items you reach for the most often. And adjust your organization to bring them closer to your primary work space. By organizing to your natural proclivities you’ll be playing to your strengths rather than working around them.
Join a DIY Community
But if you’re the type who prefers face-to-face instruction, check out a local maker space. Designed to bring together people with a better DIY mindset, maker spaces pool resources to allow members to use tools and materials that might be too expensive or unwieldy to use on their own.
Finish What You Start
Having sufficient light is key to almost anything that involves detail or precision work, as well as anything which will be easily visible in its final state. In other words, don’t color-match those wood shingles under the fluorescent lights in the basement, when you’ll always be seeing them in the natural sunlight outdoors.
Sure, it’s not always easy to get light onto the item you’re working on, especially if you’re working in constrained spaces such as under-counter plumbing or a mechanical access chase. Make your life easier by investing in a simple headlamp or snake light, and shine a light on your work.
When you feel this way, ask yourself if you were teaching a kid to do this project, would you insist they act correctly? Chances are that you’d tell a child that they either put on the safety glasses or you’re not going any further. So why wouldn’t you insist on the same treatment for yourself? Get back to basics on safety and you’ll be a better DIYer for it.
If you have any lingering doubt, see the Family Handyman article prevent common injuries when working with tools for a list of stories about how neglected safety can lead to disastrous results.
Pass Down Your Knowledge
Luckily, candidates to train are easy to find. Co-workers, family members and friends are often eager to learn how to perform work around the home, and children are endlessly fascinated by home improvement projects. Pass on your knowledge to another budding DIYer, and you’ll sharpen your skills and feel good about doing it.