photo credit: Doug Noon
My husband and I have never been big on home improvement or repair projects around the house. It’s not an interest of either of us, and we certainly don’t have much aptitude for these types of jobs. And we do not always work well together. We once got into a huge argument just putting together a tool to do a job. Yes.. just the tool… not the actual job.
We often joke that it is better for our marriage to pay someone else to fix things for us. But with our most recent repair it wasn’t an option.
Because of all people, our trusted plumber (whom we’ve worked with for 12 years), encouraged us to tackle a home repair project ourselves.
We had the unfortunate problem of a leaking toilet. Now, I have fixed a running toilet before. But this was a leak from the base of the toilet, so it was a bigger (and more disgusting) repair.
My husband called the plumber, who was too busy to come the 30 miles out to our house to do the job. He also told us exactly what we needed to do (replace the toilet wax ring) and that it would cost us less than five bucks. He also explained what the repair entailed, and encouraged us to find a resource (either online or in a book) to find pictures and more info.
Knowing my hubby’s skills, I talked to the plumber, too. After all, I was worried about our marriage. But the plumber walked through the steps with me, and assured me that he was teaching us to swim by tossing us in… and that he would come rescue us if he needed to. “But I won’t need to,” he said. “You guys are smart. You can figure this out, and you’ll save money. It will be good for you.”
And guess what? Our plumber was right. The repair cost about $2 and a couple hours, but we did it ourselves! And we didn’t fight at all. We referred to Black & Decker: The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair a book, my parents had given us one Christmas. It has great pictures and easy-to-follow instructions, and most importantly, it gave us an extra boost of confidence (in addition to the pep talk from the plumber).
I’m glad that we took the time to do it ourselves. Was it a fun? No. Was it hard? Not really. Did it save us a bit of cash? Yes! And that money can now be used for other things.
My point is this: Don’t talk yourself out of trying to do things yourself just because you haven’t done them before.
You just might surprise yourself when you succeed.
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About Christina Brown
Christina loves clipping coupons, pinching pennies, and chasing her three boys (a 9-year-old and twin 7-year-olds) as a stay-at-home mom.