Home ownership is not for the faint at heart. Which is why I’ve put together the following guide for all you would be DIY-ers out there.
On scheduling home improvement projects: when planning to tackle a bit of light carpentry, it is best to wait until 10pm when all of your neighbors are getting ready to go to bed and the hardware stores are already closed. This way, if you find yourself in need of extra provisions, you have no hope of procuring them. Bonus points if you hold off until a snow day, thus rendering the roads completely impassable in the first place. (Note: this recommendation only applies to light carpentry and should not be confused with the best time to start a plumbing project. The latter, without question, is exactly 90 minutes before you have a dozen people coming over for a cast party.)
On procuring tools: equipment is best procured from your father’s garage. This way you have access to a full arsenal of weaponry without the inconvenience of having to store all of it yourself. Of course, you should always ask permission before taking someone else’s tools, but really it doesn’t matter which parent you ask. Just be sure to cover your bases so that when the tool in question comes up, you can honestly say, “The hacksaw? Why yes, I did take the hacksaw. But Mom said it was okay. Now, do you have any small pieces of wood I could borrow?”
On procuring supplies: hardware stores, unlike Trader Joes, are never terribly crowded. Unless of course it’s the start of a holiday weekend, in which case they’re overrun by well intended but ultimately hapless couples. Not that I would know anything about that… In any case, if you want to ensure that you get your local hardware store all (and I do mean all) to yourself, avoid any and all shopping expeditions during mild weather and save them all up for a good blizzard instead. This way, you’ll have to walk to the store because the roads will be too snowy to drive and you’ll get a blister on your heel because your snow boots are too big thanks to the fact that your parents bought them with “room to grow” when you were a teenager and you’re still wearing the same pair 15 years later. Of course, you can avoid all of this trouble by waiting, as mentioned at the onset of today’s post, to begin your project until the hardware stores are already closed for the day.
On storing supplies: while borrowing tools from other people cuts down on the need for storing large items in your already crowded basement, you’re still going to have to find a place for all the little baggies of IKEA “hardware” you’ve amassed over the years, and the bubble wrap that will definitely come in handy someday, the dozen or so tape measures that you’ve purchased by mistake because you can never find the tape measures you already own, and your cordless drills. (Yes. Plural. My dad bought one for me on my 29th birthday, which was the year I became a home owner. I was terrified of it at first but now I love it and regularly seek out opportunities to display my screw gun prowess. The only problem is that PIC also has a cordless drill of his own and neither of us could find it within ourselves to give either of them up when we merged households. You never know when you may need to engage in some very urgent simultaneous screwing…) Anyway, it is best to store all of your supplies in a collection of shoeboxes, plastic bins, coolers, drawers, and actual tool boxes. Moreover, it is best to keep these containers on various floors within your home because there is nothing more fun than inserting a bit of light cardio work into your carpentry project.
On preparing your workplace: while some home improvement specialists may harp on “safe working conditions,” all you really need to do is shove everything out of your way, wedge a bar stool into the debris and get to work. Sure, you won’t be able to find anything that you accidentally drop on the floor (like the nails, washers, and screws that you actually need for your project), but look on the bright side: stationary bar stools comprise an infinitely preferable foundation from which to launch your attack than, say, rolling office chairs.
On selecting your outfit: while tools and supplies are all well and good, the most important thing is what you are wearing. I recommend a sports bra/tank top combo (worn beneath the requisite sixteen layers of sweatshirts, of course, that are vital for cold-weather home improvement). Otherwise, how are you going to score your own reality show on HGTV? Pink sports bras are the DIY uniform of choice.
Of course, even if you follow all of these recommendations, it is still entirely possible that your project will fail. As mine did last Sunday night. Which is why PIC’s office still has Ikea curtains “hemmed” with metal clips instead of the nice, sleek, custom-cut blinds that we accidentally got cut too small.