Summer Do-It-Yourself Projects

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Summer is here, and with it come longer daylight hours, warmth and sunshine, and usually more time and energy to tackle some of the projects that have piled up over the winter. Besides working on your lawn and garden, what other household projects are on your list this summer? Perhaps you have a major home renovation project planned, want to paint a room or a storage shed, or simply need to organize the hall closet. Whether simple or large-scale, your projects will undoubtedly cost you money in one way or another, and can quickly get expensive.  Managing your own projects will be  less expensive than hiring a contractor, but there are still ways to save even more money while you do it yourself. Let me share an example.

On our recent week off from work, my husband decided to build a platform for our front-loading washer and dryer. When we moved into our apartment, we discovered that the closet designed for the washer and dryer was not designed for front-loading machines. This meant we had to remove the bi-fold doors. We made due with curtains hung in front for a more aesthetic appearance, but it wasn’t ideal. Instead of purchasing ready-made pedestals, such as the ones you can find in Sears or Home Depot starting at$250 a piece, my husband came up with plans to build one for far less. With the help of his father, he built a perfectly functional platform for around $100. That’s a savings of roughly $400!  We were able to put the doors back on and even have space to store laundry baskets underneath, a function similar to store-bought pedestals with drawers.

We could have taken the easy way out and bought the pedestals, but with a little work, ingenuity, and a day off, we saved $400. Are there similar ways to save money on your household projects this summer? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t assume you can’t do it yourself. There are many creative ways to replicate classy and high-tech designs for renovations throughout your home. Even if you’re inexperienced with a particular skill, the Internet has taken away any excuses for lack of knowledge or technique.
  • Calculate the costs.  Before we started our platform project, we figured out how much it would cost, and if it would actually be saving us money to do it ourselves. It’s not always best to do it yourself. Depending on the cost of the raw materials involved, sometimes the manufactured product is cheaper. Reserve your do-it-yourself skills for projects that will save you the most money.
  • Don’t be afraid to steal ideas.  Unless it says “patent-pending”, don’t be afraid to borrow, steal, compile, and otherwise gather ideas from what others have already done.  People who have gone through the process themselves are the best experts on whether a particular idea will work for your situation.
  • Keep an open mind and get creative. Using others’ ideas is a great place to start, especially if you’re new to do-it-yourself projects, but inevitably, you’ll have to modify or alter the plans in some way to fit your needs. Realize from the start that the ‘plan’ is more of a ‘guideline’ and that, unlike constructing furniture from a box, sometimes you’ll have to ignore the directions and go with your gut.  If you’re afraid of the risks, ask for advice, but don’t discount your own intuition and creativity.

Some people refuse to tackle do-it-yourself projects because they either don’t have the time or don’t feel qualified enough. Considering the potential for savings, I think it’s worth a little time and effort. With each success, your confidence will grow, your skills will expand, and your savings will accumulate.

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that you can save money with Netflix? Even if you don't plan on using the service, you should at least sign up for the Netflix free trial here to get some free movies for a month.

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