Part 1: The DIY Expense No One is Talking About

The DIY Expense No One is Talking About is the first post in our 3-part series about do-it-yourself (DIY) renovation considerations. It gives you some things to think about to help you decide if DIY is right for your projects. While we love DIY, it isn’t right for everyone or every project.

Some of the assumptions we make about DIY include:

  • it won’t take too much time
  • it’s cheaper
  • it will add value to my home/life
  • we will do it right

You also might be thinking, “If they can do it, so can we!”  Well, you probably can.

The question is: is it worth it?

Is it worth the time and the stress?

Will you actually save money?

Let’s explore the first assumption: it won’t take too much time – or as we like to refer to it:

The DIY Expense No One is Talking About 

While DIY might save you money, you will be spending something else to get the job done. Find out the DIY expense that we forget about.

Does your Pinterest account look like ours? A colossal electronic vision board? Full of tutorials and examples of DIY and how-to, filling your boards with inspiration, hopes and dreams.  With tempting ideas and easy steps designed to help us make our homes better, perfect, pin-worthy.  It’s a coach and cheerleader all in one. Whether it’s refinishing a piece of furniture, redecorating a room or renovating a house, there are many guides on how to make something beautiful again – for a “fraction” of the retail price. It seems like everyone is DIY-ing, and that everyone should DIY.

But there’s a DIY expense that isn’t talked about: time

You must be thinking, “Obviously it takes time! It’s called do-it-yourself.

But is it obvious? The thing is, most projects require more time than just doing the project. Let’s break it down.

Before you start:

Planning time is necessary (and encouraged!) before you start a DIY project. Rightly, we look for a few examples of our idea and explanations of how to do it. You need time to figure out what’s going to work in your space, research what you’re doing and get supplies and equipment. There’s always going to be planning and research time, more is needed when you are doing the work.  However, we don’t usually consider this as time spent on the project. It is. Unfortunately, all this time isn’t accounted for in the instructions’ time estimate. Speaking of…

During the DIY project:

Have you ever completed a DIY project within the estimated time frame? If so, we need to know your ninja skills because it always takes us longer! Not surprisingly, it takes even longer if you don’t have experience. That’s okay! We all have to start somewhere. But it does mean that you are committing even more time than you initially thought you would when you saved the pin(s). Using the project’s time estimate is a great starting point but adding time to it will give you a more realistic estimate.
DIY Expense No One is Talking About

If it doesn’t go according to plan:

This is something few like to admit (unless you’re the Pintester).  Honestly though, who hasn’t had a DIY fail? We don’t like to talk about it but sometimes things go sideways. Or don’t turn out the way we thought they would. Or we miss a step, or there’s a surprise, or… Even the best planned projects can be thwarted by unexpected setbacks. This is particularly true when renovating because you never know what you might uncover. Not only will this delay finishing the project, it’ll also require more time if you have to find someone to fix or finish it for you.

The DIY Expense No One is Talking About

How does this affect you?

We assume there are plenty of things you like to spend your time on. DIY might be one of them but life is busy and when projects are prolonged it takes a toll on our mental well being. When you aren’t getting time to rest and recharge or when you’re living in the middle of a renovation mess, it’s stressful and can lead to burnout. When you’re tired (physically and of the project) you will slow down and that adds even more time to the project.

So what’s our point?

Our intention isn’t to dissuade you completely from DIY, especially if you enjoy it.  We all love unleashing our Inner Creative and trying new things.  We even debated whether or not to post this because we know you are truly capable of DIY. It feels good to learn something new and be praised for our craftiness and ingenuity. We also know that your time is precious! Sometimes, the DIY expense 0f your time isn’t worth it.

As we mentioned in the series intro, we DIY many projects. We are now more realistic about the amount of time projects really take (for more on this, check out our tips for planning a realistic renovation to do list).  We encourage you to DIY to your hearts’ content, as long as you realize how much time is actually needed are confident that the time investment is worth it.

Check out Part 2 in our series: The Surprising Hidden Cost of DIY Renovations

What DIY projects have taken longer than you thought they would? Let us know in the comments.

While DIY might save you money, you will be spending something else to get the job done. Find out the DIY expense that we forget about.

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