Practice Makes Perfect!

Anyone who is moving into their first place of their own, especially if they are buying over renting – feels that great surge of excitement. It’s the pride of independence, taking on such an important responsibility. It’s also a sign that you have arrived, you are now able to maintain a place of your own. You may even be anxious to take on projects and repairs on your own. You even have some tools. But there’s one small problem. The total extent of your related experience is using a screwdriver or a hammer a couple of times here and there. You hammered a nail in the wall once to hang a picture, and you’ve tightened the screws on your glasses. Beyond that, it’s a whole new world. The good thing is you are anxious to learn, and with that you’ve taken your first step…

You may feel intimidated; silently aware that you are responsible if something breaks. Sure, there are going to be times that you’ll just have to call in a professional – like a plumber, for instance – but there are some things every handy person should be able to take care of on their own. But there’s no need to fret – there are a number of ways to gain those skills.
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Local Stores

It’s probable that your local hardware stores, the big ones such as Home Depot and Lowes – offer workshops and classes that are designed for relative beginners to get a grip on doing work around the house. Even niche hardware and woodworking stores sometimes hold events at their stores. The goal is to get you started implementing your own home improvement ideas and fixing things that need easy repair, and if you happen to buy your gear from them, then ‘hey’ it works out for everyone. There are some great specialized classes to take advantage of, such as on how to install decorative molding, or put in floor tiling, paint your walls (the right way) and lots more.

These corporate sponsored courses are a great way to get your feet wet and to be introduced to the easier DIY ideas / projects. You aren’t necessarily ready to be certified as a professional but they’re a great place to start. What’s great is you’ve taken the initiative, you’ve learned some things and now you can go as far as you want. Obviously you can learn anything you need by simply looking it up online. If one YouTube tutorial isn’t specific enough to your needs, there’s another that probably is. There one – big – problem. You never know if what you’re being shown is entirely correct, the right way to do it. That can be dangerous, so don’t mess with anything that’s beyond your capability that could have disastrous results (especially anything electrical). But if you just need to learn to fix your garbage disposal or install a deadlock, you should be good.

Volunteer Your Time

Have you heard of the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity organization? There may even be similar charity related home improvement projects more local to you. What is so great about these efforts is that you can volunteer and get hands-on training actually building homes, often from the foundation up! You may even get dirty, roughing out the interior or helping with final touches for a kitchen or a bathroom… by getting involved you’ll not only learn the skills you wanted but you’ll also be doing something positive for the community. In fact, if you come in on a day where the turnout is low, you may learn those skills faster than you had hoped. You’ll be told what to do and be busy for as long as you are able. And once you have the basics down, the more responsibility you’ll be given.

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Now, apply this practice to your family and friends’ home improvement projects. Let them know you’re available to help, they’ll certainly appreciate it. Who knows, you may even get working on a project that you plan to do for your own home. That experience can be invaluable. In the absence of a contractor, always remember that safety is your number one priority. Don’t horse around, or play with the tools in any manner other than how they should be used. Always pay special and careful attention. After such projects are a success, the beneficiaries of your generosity might feel inclined to help you out when the time comes.
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If you’re not ready to take on a project that needs to be done, see if you can find someone (a professional) that will allow you to participate or, at the very least, shadow. If they’re willing to show you the ropes a bit, it could be immensely helpful in your growth as a DIYer. When calling around for contractors, simply make it clear that you need to be a part of the process, there’s always going to be at least one that will agree without hesitation, but with enthusiasm. You’ll still want to check his references and certifications of course!

Lastly, although you are of course responsible for your home, be aware of your limitations. Yes, we mentioned this previously, but it’s important to understand it. The last thing you want is to get in over your head and create an even more costly situation than you began with. There are certain repairs you shouldn’t take on without everything firmly in place; skill, gear, even manpower. Avoid hurting yourself physically because that’s a very real possibility when you take on a job on that’s beyond your current ability. If you’re uncertain, there are plenty of online forums such as Reddit where you can ask for help.

Just start slow, take some classes, do a few easy things around the house and continue along those lines. Before you know it you will be an ambitious and successful DIYer!