The reason many homeowners have developed their skills as effective Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home handyperson is out of necessity because tight family budgets don’t provide the money or the option of hiring a professional to do the necessary work. In today’s marketplace, the high prices of material and labor due to inflation, as well as supply chain disruptions, have homeowners, once again, donning toolbelts and hammers to undertake projects around the house. Thanks to resources like the internet and YouTube, getting good advice for handling projects has never been easier, and following the tips below can also assist in making your next project less challenging.
To be a successful DIY home handyperson, here are 5 sure-fire tips to help you succeed on any project.
First, and probably the easiest, but least followed tip, is to follow directions. Yes, before you do any project, read the manual or instructions on back of the box. Many times, an inexperienced homeowners will take products directly out of the box and begin their project without reading any instructions. Even professionals are notorious for simply not reading the instructions. Each product has their own idiosyncrasies and reading the directions thoroughly can prevent a disaster.
Next, when you complete a project, take the owner’s manual along with extra parts or supplied tools, put them in a zip lock bag, and store them in a file for safe keeping. You never know when something will break or get damaged and having the original owner’s manual for ordering extra parts could be a gamechanger. The younger generation of homeowners that are not accustomed to paper files should understand that an owner’s manual which is 5 years old may be hard to find on the internet. Save yourself time and headaches by keeping extra parts, provided tools, and the owner’s manuals in a file.
Do you have a screw and fastener can? Anytime you do a project and there are some extra screws or fasteners, please don’t throw them in the trash, save them in a can. Over the years, an extra screw or fastener from a previous project has helped me out with a recent project that required assembly but was missing parts. Believe it or not, most assembly projects use a lot of similar screws and fasteners.
Most DIY home handy people love to throw away scrap wood and plywood. Please stop that now. First, with the current price of wood, a 4-foot piece of spruce may be worth $6, but more importantly, many projects around the house may need just a little piece of wood for bracing or securing. Plus, scrap pieces of plywood may be just the thing you need to do a quick repair in the event of storm damage.
Finally, for many projects, you may need to shim something. Shims are small, thin pieces of wood or wood composite which can be used to level, support, or square a project. In the world of Do-It-Yourself repair, nothing is ever exact, and shims help you fit things together. Recently, while putting together an imported bookcase, I had to shim up the edges of the shelves themselves to make a screw work correctly. When you are working on any project around the house, always make it easier on yourself by having shims handy. You will be shocked at how many times you use them.
These 5 tips cost nothing but can be real timesavers. As you start your journey in the DIY world remember to read instructions, take a breath, shim, save your parts, and don’t be afraid to watch a video for guidance.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.