How to Plan and Prepare for your DIY Project
CREATING THE BEST LAID DIY PROJECT BLUEPRINT
This article is Part 2 of 6 of
How to DIY: Your Total Guide for DIY Directions that Really Work
As the saying goes, good planning equals good stewardship. With good and sensible planning, you can protect your Do-It-Yourself goals since you are exercising good stewardship of all the resources needed to make them happen.
With good planning and preparation, you can really save because you are able to envision your work as a whole, identify potential risk or problem areas early on and make the right decisions.
Here are useful tips on DIY projects plans and preparations:
Gather all the necessary information about the project you have in mind. Research, read, watch. Ask around and see if some people you know have done it before, and get some practical tips straight from those who have been there, done that.
Your research need not be a technical, overly detailed databank. Get what’s useful and sensible to you and leave out unnecessary ones. For instance, if you are doing a DIY bathtub installation, you can leave out too-detailed mechanical information about drill drives and nail sizes for this and that brand of power tools. When you have decided to work on a project that requires some technical and mechanical knowledge, you or at least some people in your DIY crew are expected to know the important and appropriate things already.
LISTS ARE A DIYer’s BEST FRIEND
Have a list. Making a list is good, not only for Santa but for every DIYer. Be a list freak if you have to and you will soon discover its benefits. Create a list for your materials, prices, quality, stock availability, your DIY crew (if it requires help other than you), their skills and expertise, and other necessary “lists.”
More importantly, create a list of all the useful reminders and cautions (if any) that you have gathered (from the first step) so as not to forget them, and use them when called for during the DIY process.
THE KEEP ONE EXTRA RULE
One very useful tip I got from a friend is it might be best to have an extra piece of the important or major materials you need. For instance, based on your measurement, you will need eight marine plywood to make a DIY double walling for your bedroom. Make that nine pieces of wood instead. This ensures that you have something extra to work on when you find your supply short. This saves you effort, time, gas and money buying the same thing again, and for just an extra piece. The best thing about the keep one extra rule is it saves you from a great deal of stress and guarantees you uninterrupted DIY work.
What if you actually didn’t get to use those extra pieces of some things? It should not be a problem since you can always sell or give to friends who might need them, or better yet keep them for emergency, which always comes up. You will reap the same benefits as when you have it as stockpile when you’re doing your DIY project. Another great use? You can create some nifty stuff out of them, meaning get a new DIY idea in the works inspired by your DIY “leftovers.”
With good planning over and done with, you can now focus your attention to the more serious side of your endeavor, preparing to kickstart your Do-It-Yourself project.
Divide your DIY work into stages or parts
This way, you will have a clear idea what needs to be done first, and in how much time. Dividing a project into stages also conforms with a good budgeting discipline. If you are on a tight budget, it will help you what items or materials need to be prioritized first.
Meanwhile, segmenting the entire work based on time allotment reinforces discipline and focus. Make a work plan with timeline so you will have something to follow that will enforce the project completion in the ideal time. It’s up to you how to go about dividing the project into segments.
An important question to ask is “can you afford to stall for some time?” If the project involves a fixed schedule with a must-complete date, do you have a back-up plan just in case these timelines are not followed for some reason? How much time can you afford to stall? This is very important to note since the momentum of doing a DIY project goes down after long “to be continued” periods. But remember that this situation should only came about when absolutely necessary.
Classify your DIY projects based on complexity
First, make a good survey of the repairs, refurbishments, total knock-down areas and even new ideas you think your home (or a particular project or task in your life) needs. Group these into simple, medium, and complicated tasks. This step will allow you to select what areas you can tackle as a DIY hero, what areas need team effort with your family members or friends, and what areas are better left alone for professional skills.
For instance, reupholstering your old favorite chaise lounge can earn you an A+ in your DIY report card, refurbishing your pool table or the entire game room requires you to assemble your personal DIY team. Think about tasks like the total repair of the kitchen ceiling or the stove cabling and decide if they are better left off to professionals. Some creative DIY projects can be tricky and require consultation with family and friends, and even with professionals.
Check your skills and those who will be helping you out
It will be good to check your skills using these questions:
- Can you really handle it?
- Do you know enough about it to proceed?
- Can someone help you in case you need assistance?
- How much time are you willing to devote to the project?
- Can you assure everyone’s safety and health once your DIY project is finished?
- Can you involve your family or friends, or the people you live with (like roommates) in your DIY project, like consulting for agreed choices on design, look, color or arrangement?
If the answers to all of these questions are YES, then, by all means you can proceed. If there is at least one NO answer, consider thinking things over, or you may choose a lighter, easier DIY project.
Are you saving on your DIY project, or just kidding yourself?
Read DIY Guide Part 1: How to Really Save on Your Project DIY
Want to learn how to treat your DIY project as an investment?
Read DIY Guide Part 3: How to Manage and Take Control of your DIY Budget