DIY. It is one of those terms that we use so frequently today, but is fairly recent in coming into our culture. I love a good DIY project and had I realized what I could do myself as I entered adulthood, I think I would have saved myself a lot of money.
Of course, to be fair to myself, I graduated from high school in 1989. Most people did not have cell phones, much less any access to the internet. Thanks to the internet today, we have a vast amount of tutorials and ideas from which to pull when attempting to do something ourselves. Still, here is what I wish I knew then, DIY edition:
You can DIY your wedding! Perhaps one of the most personal DIY weddings I have seen (via the internet, of course), is Sherry and John’s wedding at Young House Love. Maybe I was a bit ahead of the curve, because I did make my own flowers and alter candles, as well as decorations for the reception. Still, our wedding cost a lot of money and I love the idea of hosting it yourself! I know it would be a ton of work, but how personal! And, we have a huge family that would have been willing to help. It makes me so sad that so many who get married today feel like they need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have a dream wedding. I have noticed that more of the weddings we have attended lately have been simple, personal and done on a DIY budget – and I love it! I think it is so smart and sets a great tone for how you plan to live your life together!
You can DIY nearly any house project, thanks to online tutorials. We built a new house in 1997 and although we do love it and are grateful to live here, I can’t help but think that we could have bought something much less expensive and done home renovations ourselves. I have never been afraid to paint, but over the years we have worked to make our house less builder and more character. In doing so, we have learned to tile and build, do woodwork and make a concrete counter top (two, actually). We have changed out light fixtures, remodeled our laundry room and finished our basement. I can’t help but think it would have been less expensive (and maybe have added even more character) to have bought something older, well made, but that needed some love and renovation.
Similarly, you can DIY so many decorating projects! From making your own curtains and even curtain rods, to reinventing old (thrift store) furniture to fun little decor projects – it is all out there! I love these projects so much, that I find I am slowly adding in more and more of them and replacing store bought stuff that just is not as meaningful to me. If only I had realized this before I made the store bought purchases!
You can even DIY toys and activities! We have four kids, currently ages 7-17 (3 are boys). Needless to say, we have endless Legos and Matchbox Cars, among other toys. I have been very good about purging as the kids outgrow toys and it saddens me how much we have gotten rid of over the years. I wish I would have stuck to the more basic toys, like the fake food, building blocks and just plain crafty stuff like paints and homemade play dough. We did all of those things, but we also allowed a lot of various toys to enter our home and now that I reflect back, I think we could have lived with much less and still thrived. To be fair, we still have the Legos and the Matchbox Cars and those have proven to be a good investment, as my kids still play with those toys (even the teenagers will join in once in a great while!).
Some great DIY toy ideas are senory buckets (fill a plastic storage bin with rice or oatmeal or unpopped popcorn or sand and add in cars, measuring cups and spoons, small things to pour out of and into), a water play area (if you are stuck in subzero tempeatures like we are in the winter, you can do water play on a towel or blanket inside with either water or snow!), a magnetic sand table or come up with something else you already have on hand. The lists of DIY crafts and activities that you can find online is nearly endless!
Can you add to the list? What are some of your favorite DIY projects? Is there anything that you would do differently knowing what you know now?