I’m a serious do-it-yourselfer. If we need a new blanket for the bed, I’ll start sewing a quilt. If we need bread for sandwiches, I might start making a loaf of bread. Now my husband and I need a place to live, so we’re remodeling an old airplane hangar all by ourselves.
It’s so easy to get excited about DIY projects! It’s cheaper! It’s creative! It’s so much more fun!
But so many of our DIY projects are not getting done.
DIY is in my blood. Unfortunately, finishing my projects isn’t. You too? Do you have half-done knitting projects? Half-painted trim? A half-weeded garden?
Artist and songwriter Piero Milani said, “Why should I buy expensive art when I can make my own?”
Half-finished projects often end up being a huge waste of our time, money, and emotional happiness. It can be really hard to break the cycle. (But trust me – it’s so worth it when you do.)
So here’s what I propose for finishing the DIYs we start.
Photo by Martin Clemons
1. Take on big DIY projects with a partner.
Would I be willing to charge over to the hangar every day to start working on all this decluttering and remodeling that you can see above all by myself? No way.It’s too exhausting and way too overwhelming.
But when you have a partner you’re checking in with, or who’s working right beside you, the energy multiplies. You’ll want to work a little harder. I’ll go through a few more boxes.
2. Start fewer projects.
I limit my hobbies; I won’t start any new ones. I won’t visit Pinterest when I have a few minutes to kill (I’ll get too many ideas). It gets tough sometimes! But we have to be conscious of our schedules.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I just can’t fit in a new project (like “learn to knit my own socks”!), no matter how much I crave those handknit socks, or how much you really want ____. Our houses, and perhaps wallets, can’t handle the cost of more hobby equipment. Our families want to spend time with us. Sometimes we just have to say, “No. Not now.”
Photo by Katie Clemons
3. Finish the unfinished.
There are more unfinished DIY projects out there than we could ever know what to do with. You’ve seen them in your closets. You’ve seen them at garage sales. You’ve seen the half-painted and half-built houses.
When I notice myself generating too many half-finished projects, I’ll write them all down. Before I start any new sewing projects, for example, I work on finishing all the ones I’ve started.
4. Get rid of half-finished projects that will always be half-finished.
Discovered that you’re not really an oil painter after all? Get rid of the half-finished painting. Pass on all of your supplies.
Have an almost-finished sweater that comes with too much emotional baggage or memories of a sad time? Let it go. Give someone else the joy of finishing it.
5. Hire someone to finish it for you.
After a while, you stop noticing the half-installed tile in the laundry room, right? Maybe you used to nag the culprit just to finish it already. Or maybe that person was you. In any case, pick up the phone. Asking for help isn’t defeat, it’s crossing off an item on that list; it’s making your home more comfortable.
Photo by Gadanke
My husband, Martin, used to say, “Katie, why are you starting a new project now when you know you can’t finish it?”
Now I ask myself if I intend to finish what I’m starting. It’s no fun having half-finished ideas all around us. Yeah, I like flagging new DIY ideas on my Pinterest account as much as anybody. But even more? I like the feeling of getting those DIY projects done.
What’s a DIY project you’ve left undone? What can you do this month to change that? Or what are some words of wisdom you have about finishing all those DIY to-dos?