Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Do or Not To Do

Being an avid do-it-yourselfer, I always seem to be asking myself that question. Should I attempt the project at hand, no matter how big or small, or should I hire someone to do it? Will I save money doing this myself? How is it going to look when it’s done? Am I going to have to call someone to fix my mess? I can only imagine how many of you have had this same dilemma countless times. Here are some thoughts I use in order to make a confident “To do or not to do” decision.

First of all, what exactly is the task? Is it painting a bedroom or painting a 2 story foyer? There are some dramatic differences to these projects; the skill levels and stamina required are immensely different. Painting a bedroom is fairly straightforward. Pick a color, move some furniture around, dust out the cobwebs, take the pictures off the walls and cover and mask everything. There. The hard and tedious work is done. Painting is actually the easy part. My dad always told me “It’s all in the preparation”! When I used to work with him, all I did was prepare. Sand this, wash that. Scrap that loose paint, and so on and so on. Rarely did I get to paint! (My dad was a professional painter for about 50 years or so). Before you know it, you’ll be cleaning up. The job is done.

Painting a 2 story foyer, however, is a completely different ball game! This requires quite a bit more planning. Can it be done from a ladder with an extension pole or do I need to rent a scaffold? You mean I have to rent a scaffold for 2 hours worth of painting? I’m afraid of heights; but my wife isn’t. Will a scaffold even fit in the foyer? It will take longer to set up the scaffold than it will to paint the foyer. This is where the stamina part comes in. You are bombarding yourself with questions, either trying to convince yourself to go for it or bag the whole idea. What if I start this and can’t finish it for whatever reason. Maybe I should leave it “builder’s white” like the rest of the houses on the street. I’ve said to myself many times “Why did I start this stupid job”. Oh, just suck it up! Go for it! Quit being a baby! Think about how it’s going to look when it’s all finished. What’s the worse the can happen?

These are just some of the thoughts that flood my head upon getting the bright idea to take on a project. The bottom line is that you must be honest with yourself. Don’t underestimate what is required to do a job. Try not to overestimate your skill level. Just because it looked good on HGTV doesn’t mean it will look good in your house. People who do this stuff for a living make a job look easy. I’ve never done a do-it-yourself project that was easy every step of the way. There are always challenges. Is the task something you can complete in a reasonable amount of time? Remember the stamina thing. Are any special tools required? Will I really save any money doing it myself? If you answer these questions honestly, you’re probably ready to go. Of course, the ultimate reason for “To do or not to do” is because… I can.

So, do it.

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