When I had one of my first apartments, I purchased a bookshelf and coffee table from one of my favorite stores, Ikea. You know what that means-I had to put them together. My plan was to assemble them that Saturday so I would have time to get decorations and have everything in place for a dinner party I was having the upcoming week on Thursday.
That project definitely did not go as planned. First, I ended up having to work that weekend (which was a first). Second, I ended up having to stay up late on Tuesday to assemble everything. Late nights and tired eyes are not a good combination when assembling things, especially from Ikea. When I was adding the top piece to the bookshelf, I realized I’d added a part backward. Big sigh! I had two choices at one o’clock in the morning. I could take it all apart or continue on with my assembly blunder.
At one o’clock in the morning, I decided to carry on! I was frustrated and upset with myself because I knew I shouldn’t have started that project so late. My friends got a big laugh out of it and it was definitely a conversation starter that’s for sure! I can laugh at it now, but at one o’ clock in the morning, it wasn’t so funny!
Over the years I’ve had other project blunders, but with each one, there’s always a lesson and I’ve come up with these 5 things I wish I’d known and paid attention to and known before I started my DIY journey long ago!!
Have a plan
I know that seems simple, but I can’t tell you the countless times I would start a project with, “I’m going to do _______.” I begin and go full speed ahead. Remember my backward Ikea shelf? Had I taken the time to read all the directions and really map things out, most likely I would not have ended up with a crazy looking book shelf!
Whatever project you are going to start, make sure you have a plan. Know what needs to be done and how you will execute each step. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small project (like my bookshelf) or a big project like installing a kitchen backsplash, you need to know what needs to be done and how you’ll do it!
With any project, you need patience because when trying anything new, there will always be a learning curve. Don’t expect that you’ll know everything because you won’t. Rather than being frustrated (I know it’s hard not to), see it as a way of learning. Each time I work on a project, I always learn something new. What I’ve learned in previous projects, I can apply to the next one.
Some parts of my projects, I need help with. For example, sometimes I’m just not strong enough to lift that box, push the drill through a piece of wood, or rewire something so I have to ask E for help. Even though he thinks I’m a little crazy with all of the projects I’m always doing, he’s there to help when I need it. In my opinion, I think he secretly likes all of my projects, but just won’t admit it!
Everything in our house, I would like to have done now. Is that going to happen? Of course not! So I have to decide what’s most important based upon what’s happening. Since our wedding is in the Spring, I know I need to have our 1st-floor family room, kitchen, 3rd-floor bonus room, and the hardwood floors on the 1st-floor sanded and buffed because that’s where family and friends will gather when they come to visit us while in town. Everything else can wait. This brings me to the next point…
Now I just mentioned all of the rooms on my list that I
need (want) finished before our Spring wedding. Notice the word need is crossed out. Why? Because if none of what I listed above gets done, people would still come over. My Type A-ness is just kicking in and I want to get it done. I don’t need to get it done.
Things can happen; stores may be out of stock on some items, things may come up at work, the color scheme I thought was so great in theory may not look so great in real life, and wedding planning may take over at some time. Whatever the reason and whatever may happen, being flexible is what keeps yo sane. If you are so rigid in your planning, you may very well miss out on a wonderful opportunity!
As you can see, I’ve learned a lot over the years when it comes to projects and I hope that by sharing my mistakes, you can learn from them and not end up with a backward shelf!
What lessons have you learned when it comes to your projects? Please share your experiences and advice with the BTTS community. I know we can all learn and grow from one another!
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