I am just as guilty as the next person for putting off projects around the house. I use a myriad of excuses (I don’t have any money, it’s too cold to paint, we have plans on that one day the week before and I’ll still be tired) but the truth is, most of the time the one thing getting in the way of starting a project is me.
It’s just too easy to procrastinate. Doing DIY in our home always throws up other issues, little obstacles we didn’t see coming. Add to that fact, our house is relatively small. We don’t have a garage or a spare room to take on all the additional excess whether that’s furniture that has to be moved out of the way or a place where tools and supplies can sit and be picked up again the following day or weekend. So everything sort of explodes all over the house, there’s dust to contend with and feet (both our own and the animals’) dragging said dust all over the floors.
Now, here’s the thing. Yes, it’s easy to put it all off. It’s easy to just live with whatever thing is niggling you or that you know can be ‘fixed’ – but then, you want to live in a home that reflects you, right? How much better will you feel when you just finally GET OFF YOUR ASS AND START? So, so much better. You know it’s worth it, right? So here are a few things that might help you to do just that.
Set up a Budget
There is absolutely no point in torturing yourself with looking through those gorgeous super high-end furniture websites if you would have to sell a kidney to afford it. I’ve said it before but I truly believe that setting a limit on your spending makes you more creative. You are forced to think outside the box, you can consider pulling in vintage and second-hand items and you can get your hands a little dirty with upcycling or DIY. This is certainly no bad thing. More about this in a second but decide what you can afford, how you are going to fund the project for every aspect you are considering and stick to it. Allow yourself a small contingency (maybe 10%) just in case anything goes pear-shaped so you won’t be thrown off and have to delay something.
Set up a Schedule
Yes, when you work full time or have a family to take care of, it’s super easy to just say to yourself that you want to relax in an evening or on a weekend when you have some spare time. Totally understandable. But this is probably getting in the way of you, ya know, actually completing what you started. I create a calendar for myself every time we start a new project, allowing for work days as well as rest days. I make a date for myself that on a specific day and time we will start and finish work and then we stick to it. I also schedule any deliveries that need to take place or trips to the DIY store so that we actually have the supplies needed before we start. Of course, sometimes things go wrong or something takes longer than we anticipated in which case, I’ll move things around. The schedule is fluid in some respects but just the fact that we have one makes things go so much smoother.
Decide to Get Brave
Stop letting your fear of getting it wrong hold you back. Sometimes the best way to know if something is going to work is to just try it. So go ahead with that bright or dark paint colour, hang a big piece of statement art up, try using that big chest of drawers as a sideboard in the dining room. Take risks. And if you still aren’t 100% convinced, live with the change for a week or so and see how you feel afterwards. Pretty much anything can be ‘undone’ – walls can be repainted, furniture can be moved around, purchases can be returned (keep your receipts!) and yes, even wallpaper can be removed. The important thing to remember is to not let the fear of failure stand in your way of starting and just start. And if it does go wrong? Well, you’ll learn more from failure than you will from always getting it right or playing it safe. But if it goes right? There’s no greater satisfaction.
Brush Up on Your DIY Skills
Every time we tackle something we’ve never done before, we consult the great interwebs. There are a million You Tube videos and websites that will walk you through pretty much any task at hand. The best thing to do is to watch/read a bunch of different tutorials for a well-rounded view, fully understand the steps required and the tools you’ll need before you start. You can also look into local classes for everything from plastering to tiling to wallpapering. Once you are armed with knowledge, there’s no excuse not to try out your new found skills.
So while you might not be able to afford your dream item, can you somehow create it? My desk makeover was probably one of my proudest accomplishments in the office remodel and it saved me over £1000 rather than buy the beautiful antique one I’d originally spied (so while you want to avoid making yourself depressed over things you can’t afford, it’s okay to strictly use these as inspiration as long as you understand that’s all it is!). Consider the lines of pieces that are in good condition and consider whether they can be improved refinishing the piece, reupholstering it or re-painting it. The nicest thing about this is that you’ll end up with a unique item, making your final space all the more special.
Know When to Let Go
If you know you are going to be facing re-wiring your electrics or moving a boiler or hell, if we are talking about building an extension, then these are the jobs best left to the experts even if you are a pretty dab hand at DIY.*
*Especially in these cases; you can’t do any gas work unless you are certified in the UK and electrics need to be tested to building regulations. These regulations will vary from country to country so do your research beforehand!
But even with the best of intentions, you still might not be able to do the jobs you feel like you should be able to do yourself. If there’s a chair you need to reupholster and you absolutely detest removing staples (that would be me) or you have never cut a tile in your life and you are breaking them left, right and centre, well, sometimes we just have to admit defeat. Don’t take on something that’s so wildly beyond your skill level or something you realise you hate doing (yes, that’s upholstery for me) that you end up discouraged to even continue. Get in the help you need and get that project moved on.
Start Now with Buying One Thing
This may seem like a silly thing but honestly, the most exciting motivation I have for a new room design is to just make a small purchase. It may be something like a pretty notebook for your new office, a small piece of art for the bedroom or a few pretty hooks for the bathroom. It doesn’t have to be a huge expense by any means but just purchasing one little thing can be enough impetus to get moving on your project. You’ll want to see this new thing in it’s beautiful setting so allowing yourself a tiny ahead-of-time splurge can be a great way to get started on your final vision.
And Finally… Accept the Inevitable
Things are going to get messy. It’s probably going to cost you some money. Things are going to frustrate you. You will have times when you want to throw in the towel. It’s just the way this stuff goes so be prepared for that inevitability. But I promise, if you keep your eyes firmly on the prize, all that blood, sweat and tears (literally) will be worth it in the end. So stop putting it off and just go ahead and START.
What do you do to motivate yourself to start a new project? Have you got anything in the pipeline that you keep putting off? If so, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts!