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How to Avoid Do-It-Yourself Fails

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Do you have an unfinished home improvement project in your house that you actively started to work on but didn’t complete? If the answer is yes, you are not alone, in fact you are among 52% of Americans who haven’t been able to make the move to finish their projects (BLACK+DECKER HOME IMPROVEMENT SURVEY 2014).

We recognize that there are a slew of unfinished projects in the U.S. and we wanted to learn more. IN 2014 we conducted a survey and polled people in between the ages of 25 to 45 regarding their DIY habits and attitudes. We learned that more than half of U.S. homeowners age 25-45 currently have unfinished home improvement projects. The vast majority of these people have at least 2 unfinished projects and almost half (46.5%) have 3 or more unfinished projects.

When we asked what type of unfinished home improvement projects people currently have, we found that room improvements (repairs, maintenance, updates), floors (installation, refinish, trim), walls (plaster repair, painting, shelf installation), and lastly refinishing/building furniture were the majority of unfinished projects in homes across the U.S.

We found that no matter the project big or small, once begun, people have trouble seeing it through to the end.

Everyday reasons at fault

  1. TIME - 79% of our respondents who have an unfinished project said that “Time” is their biggest enemy when it came to wrapping up their DIYs.
  2. MONEY - “Finances” was a second obstacle at 55% of respondents.
  3. DON’T KNOW HOW - “Uncertainty about how to complete” was a reason that 32% of respondents don’t finish their projects.
  4. MISSING ITEMS - We also weren't surprised to learn that 10% of people do not finish their projects because they find that they are “Missing the right tools or materials” partway through.

Unfinished tasks and the inability to follow-through are issues we face in many aspects of our lives, so we looked deeper into the emotional reasoning for why we left projects unfinished. Turns out, 45% of Americans feel challenged, 35% feel frustrated, and a combined 78% of respondents feel proud and accomplished regarding home improvement projects.

We want to give back the feelings of pride and accomplishment to those who stopped refinishing their kitchen cabinets midway because they don’t know how to attach the doors, or feel frustrated by the bathroom tiling and have left it to sit.  

Avoiding DIY Fails

We've broken down the basics for a successful DIY-er

1. To those who feel “challenged” – Don’t be discouraged because you don’t “feel” like an expert. Anyone can use a jigsaw or sander, and so can you. Be safe, and follow the instructions. If all else fails, the internet is an endless pool of knowledge, advice, and trusted sources. (We think our blog is a good place to start reaching your goals.)

2. Ask questions. Your local home improvement retailers are more than happy to answer your questions to help you finish your projects.

3. We don't want “time” to be your excuse ever again! You started the project when you thought you had the time. Set deadlines and prioritize. (61% of DIY-ers don’t set deadlines when they begin).

4. Plan your projects a few months before big holidays and family events. Hosting family or friends is the #1 motivator that gets people to finish their projects while holiday events are the second biggest motivator. We don’t recommend the week before thanksgiving, but if you start painting in the beginning of October, you certainly aren't going to leave your house half blue and half yellow by the time your Mother-in-Law arrives come November.

5. Create a budget by first deciding how much money you are able to dedicate to your home initiative. BEFORE you begin or make a single purchase, take a trip to your home improvement retailer and price everything out. This way you’ll be fully aware of how much everything will cost before you start, and you can plan accordingly. Who knows, some of the materials you need could be cheaper than you presumed they would be! And if they aren’t, you won’t start a project you can’t finish.

6. Document your project via social media. Keeping up with these projects online will motivate you to stay on track. Your virtual friends will be watching and you wouldn't want to let them down!

7. Buy everything you need at the beginning. If it is recommended that you buy a certain tool, buy it. It can always be returned if you don’t need it, but don’t let something as simple as “not having all the tools” be a stumbling block.

So there you have it folks. Good luck with your DIY endeavors and don’t hesitate to reach to share your projects with us on on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!