Unfortunately, this is a hazard of the trade when it comes to DIY. Sometimes it seems like we’re bombarded by “after” photos on Instagram, and have pinned a ton of dream closets on Pinterest (millions), which makes it all the more frustrating when you’re stuck in the middle of the project and that final reveal seems so far away. Therefore, I really wanted to get a bit more in depth about what to do when you start to hate a project, and how to get through to the “after”.
- Be realistic – I am no Joanna Gaines (oh how I wish I was), and I KNOW THIS. I am much too short and blonde to ever be her, plus she has more skill and design sense in her pinky finger than I will possess in my lifetime. So, I do not attempt Joanna-level projects. Can I rip a house down to the studs and beautifully rebuild it? No. No I cannot. Knowing your limitations and skill level are so important when dreaming up projects, because understanding what may be difficult for you, can prevent you from ever getting into a project you hate in the first place. It seems so easy on HGTV when they transform a whole house in an hour with commercials, but that doesn’t mean just anybody can pull it off. As Max and I improve our skills we tackle larger projects, but I am eternally grateful we didn’t start with a huge kitchen renovation, or we may never have done another one! Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
- Make sure you have a sanctuary – Renovations and projects disrupt your life, no doubt about it. Max and I often have at least one room in our house torn apart, and it can be chaotic. If you saw open heart surgery half-way through it would look like murder, right? Which is why it’s so important to be able to shut the door and escape the project for a while if you need too. I know the scale of some projects makes this impossible, but I always try to have the rest of my home in order so that I can relax there, away from the stress of the tornado-room.
- Get those finishing pieces – Nothing motivates you to finish a project like having that final piece of artwork or pretty pillow or coffee table tray in advance, just ready to go in the finished space. Buying some of these pieces in the thick of a renovation can be the pick-me-up you need to get through to the end of the project so you can see how they look in the new room.
- Take photos – Even if you don’t have a little blog to post them to, and even if they’re taken on your phone in terrible lighting, taking pictures along the way can be huge in terms of motivation. When things seem bleak in the middle of a project, take a peek at that before photo to see just how far the space has come. And when it’s done, compare again so you can be extra proud of what you accomplished.
- Know when to walk away -…know when to run. Sorry, I’m getting off track here this has nothing to do with “The Gambler,” but I have found as Max and I worked on projects that were getting really frustrating, that it really helped to know when to put the tools down and walk away (not forever obviously, or things would never get done). When we’re fighting, or things aren’t working out, or we make a costly mistake, sometimes its best to just call it quits for the day, apologize, and watch a movie. You don’t do good work when you’re angry. Max gets rougher in his handling of materials and tools the more frustrated he gets. Walking away saves us from breaking things, making more mistakes, and hating each other along with the project we’re working on.
- Have fun – We DIY because we love it. Just because one project doesn’t go how we expected doesn’t mean it isn’t something we enjoy. It’s important to always take a step back, especially when you’re knee deep into a project, and acknowledge that this is something you like to do. Either that, or just hire it out.
Let me know if you have any questions.