The 10 Stages of Starting a DIY Project

By Kate Burt, Houzz

We’ve all been there. You have big plans for a project around the house. It’s taken a while to get your ideas together and then one day, it’s all clear — you’re ready to tackle it. Here are 10 common stages in a typical DIY. Are you in one now?

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1. Search for inspiration. It’s a fresh Sunday morning and you have a loose DIY project in mind — or, rather, a corner of your home you want to improve and a lot of half-thought-through ideas in mind about how to tackle it. Time to make a cup of tea and browse photos online to focus your ideas into a workable plan. This is the really fun bit. You can’t wait for the transformation.

2. Formulate a plan. Feeling excited to have cracked the details, you write a list of the stuff you’ll need to buy from the DIY shop to get the job done. It’s a bit messy. You write another list that’s neater, this time using your favorite pen.

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3. Tell everyone in your house about your project. Telling people is part of the joy of this kind of DIY job. You need witnesses; this particular task has been languishing on your to-do list for a long time, after all. It’s a proud moment. This weekend, you will become one of those people who Get Stuff Done. And yes, you do feel a little bit smug. Why not?

4. Feel resentful toward everyone you’ve told about your project. Yes, you brought it upon yourself, but you’re really hating the pressure of your nearest and dearest now having expectations. So when someone casually says, “I thought you’d have had that finished hours ago!” (when you haven’t even been to the DIY shop yet, because you got sidetracked — importantly — tidying up your toolbox, an essential part of the process, obvs) you get a bit snippy. You’re doing this properly, after all. Haven’t they heard the saying “More haste, less speed”? Tsk. Amateurs.

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5. Clear your calendar for one day next weekend. OK. So you left it a bit late to start work today, but now you’re all ready to go for next weekend. You’d better make sure you don’t have any interruptions.

You delegate all domestic or family responsibilities for the following Saturday and refuse social invitations. That will be the day.

You’ll be up early and at the DIY shop and back, ready to dig in, while everyone at home is still having their breakfast. Oh yes you will.

6. Embrace your can-do mood. Saturday comes and you do, indeed, get to the shop in good time. You’re like a kid in a candy store — each enticingly laden aisle holds the promise of an improved home life.

There’s just something about DIY shops .… They’re a bit distracting, and, two hours later, you’ve spent four times what you’d intended and left with bags full of items to help with all the other DIY projects you’re suddenly inspired to do as well. When you’re on a roll, you just have to go with it.

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7. Get in the zone. Back at home, you lay out the items you need for The Project. Nothing now stands between you and it. You feel exhilarated. So exhilarated that you …

8. Put the kettle on. You’d better have a cup of tea before you get going. While drinking your tea, you pick up your phone to browse more photos similar to your DIY project and see something much better than your first idea and change your mind about how to tackle your project.

You hasten back to the shop. This time those aisles, now as familiar as old slippers, aren’t quite so glittery and exciting. You find what you need and leave quickly. By the time you get home — again — you are secretly sick of the whole idea and feel like having a little lie down. Your official version, however — and you do even convince yourself on this one — is that it’s way too late in the day to start getting things messy. All the prep will take so long that it’ll be almost dinner o’clock by the time you actually get going. And then the clear-up will take ages. Is it really worth starting when you don’t have a full day ahead of you?

Oh dear, and tomorrow you have plans. It’ll have to wait until next weekend.

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9. Reschedule. You tell everyone you’re not available next weekend, as you’ve cleared both days to allow you to get on with this DIY job you’re planning. You explain that, having done some prep work, ahem, it’s actually a lot more involved than you’d hoped; you bank on those who don’t DIY not pressing you for details.

10. Roll up your sleeves for round two. Early on Saturday morning, with everything you need and no obstructions in your path, you lay out all your DIY bits again and have a cup of tea to help you get started.

While the kettle boils, you notice how grimy your backsplash is … and when did you last deep-clean the oven? And the windows … they’re filthy! The kitchen gets an amazing clean and declutter — the cupboards really were crying out for some reorganizing, even though this meant you lost some time dashing out to buy a matching set of jars for your dry goods.

And you? The satisfaction of having tackled another huge job is marred by the fact that you know it was pure procrastination, and that you have a room full of virgin DIY paraphernalia still waiting for you. On the plus side, you really are now finally ready to get started — tomorrow.

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