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Breaking Down DIY Myths

Social media makes DIY projects look like a breeze: easy to do and done in 30 seconds. In reality, DIY projects can be time intensive depending on what you’re looking to do and often come with a big learning curve, especially if you’re new to the world of crafting.

Here are some of my quick takes on DIY myths versus the reality of what DIYers have to manage.

Myth 1: You can get it done faster if you do it yourself.

If you know what you’re doing, then yes, you might be able to do it faster – especially considering that contractors are in high demand and can be hard to pin down, both for getting a quote and showing up to do the actual work. But, often there is a good reason for hiring a contractor and that’s because professionals do these jobs five or more days a week and know the tricks to get jobs done quickly and efficiently.

In many cases, doing it yourself will take longer. If you’re like me, you might be juggling a day job, tackling work in fits and spurts because you can’t focus or are overwhelmed, and facing decision-making paralysis because you convince yourself you need to look at every pendant light available online before committing to the one you want to use in your kitchen…

If you have the convenience of time to complete a project over the course of weeks, months or years, then go for it. But also remember that in the world of DIY, everything always finds a way to take at least twice as long as you think it will!

Myth 2: DIY is cheaper than buying ready-made.

Sometimes this is true, but sometimes it isn’t. If you are trying to make a cheap DIY or dupe for something expensive, then DIY approaches can absolutely be cheaper. But if you’re looking to replicate something using high quality materials that may or may not require special tools to manipulate into your creation, then DIY can easily cost just as much if not more than buying it ready-made. Keep in mind, mistakes are a given in DIY, so you always need to factor in excess material and rework as part of the process.

Kitchen cabinets are a great example. If you’re looking to use overlay cabinets, which are available at most big box home improvement stores, then buying them off the shelf is your best option, especially if you can get them on sale or if you’re willing to adjust their appearance (paint, hardware) on the backend. However, if you are looking for custom cabinets, such as inset cabinets with specialty paneling or doors, AND you have the confidence to use woodworking/power tools, building your cabinets is likely to be significantly cheaper than even buying custom-sized, ready-to-assemble cabinets from an online RTA cabinet company – and that includes any tools you may need to purchase to do the job (thanks, inflation). I am living this reality currently with my own kitchen remodel.

Myth 3: I can do it better myself.

Taking the time to adequately prep for a DIY project, buying the proper tools and materials, and having a touch of OCD perfectionism are all good indications you might be able to do something as well as or better than a professional. With the right prep, it’s possible to get a project done almost as well as a true craftsman. But, often this is not the case and flaws will be present – you just need to learn to embrace them.

Just remember, it’s easy to do better than the landlord special, but it’s difficult to build your own dupe of a popular furniture item and make it indistinguishable from the real thing.

Myth 4: DIY is easy.

If you think you can watch one TikTok and tackle a DIY project based on that alone…just remember, social media often leaves out lots of steps to fit length restrictions, not to mention people often don’t share the lessons they’ve learned from mistakes they made along the way (hint: it spoils the magic).

If you want to do any DIY project and do it WELL, then you need to be prepared to do a lot of research and prep work to ensure you can achieve the result you want. I spent months researching and watching online videos before I even picked up a power tool to begin building my kitchen cabinets – and I still constantly have to pause to problem solve unforeseen issues that come up. There are just lots of real-world scenarios that online tutorials simply don’t cover!


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