Girlfriends, this is for you.
Since I have been posting more and more DIY home improvement projects over the last several months, I have received numerous comments and messages from women who share similar sentiments: “I wish I had the courage to do that” or “You’re so brave.”
Gal pals, I am here to tell you that YOU CAN do anything you set your mind to in your home.
I talked in a previous blog post about how I grew up in a fixer upper home that my mom and dad did all the work on themselves.
My mom, in fact, demolished the original kitchen of my childhood home with a crowbar and sledgehammer when my dad was out of town on business. She wanted new countertops and cabinets and that was her way of making it happen.
This special lady very much had a women-can-do-anything (and probably do it better than men) attitude, and the older I get, the more I admire and respect that about her.
Since starting my DIY home improvement journey, I have also found an incredible network of women who subscribe to this same philosophy and are sharing their own home renovation projects while their spouses and significant others kindly step aside and let them do their thing.
Remembering my mom this way and connecting with other women who get their jollies from home reno has left me doing a lot of thinking about being a woman and having the confidence to take on DIY home improvement projects.
Honestly, over the last year I have discovered a confidence in myself that I didn’t even know I could have. Becoming a homeowner of a project house has awoken something within my spirit, and I wish more than anything I found this passion sooner. I feel most at peace when I am brainstorming and talking about my vision for our home. There are so many aspects of life that scare the hell out of me, but knocking down walls, ripping up floors, and painting everything in sight are definitely not on my list of fears. Plus, it is an incredibly rewarding feeling to look around our fixer upper and know that my hands have physically created the beautiful spaces I see.
If tackling home improvement projects is something you want to do, then I want to help you build your confidence to take those on. Fear is the No. 1 thing I hear women say holds them back from starting home projects.
To help you overcome that fear, here are 11 do-it-herself tips I have picked up over the last year, as well as things I remember from my mom, and things I have learned from the strong-willed and savvy women in my network:
Have a vision you want to bring to life. You can’t jump into home projects without a vision. If you do, you will end up wasting valuable time, money, and materials. Well before I start redoing a space in our home, I turn to Pinterest and Instagram to help me tighten up my vision. I save pictures of similar home styles that align with what I want to complete and then narrow down the ones that make my heart skip a beat when I see them.
Learn the differences in paint so you know what to ask for. Paint is seriously the easiest and cheapest way to update any space. Chances are, you are going to have to buy a can of paint at some point during your home improvement journey, and you are going to need to know exactly what paint is best for the walls, trim, furniture, floor, etc. you’re covering. A quick Google session can answer all your paint related questions.
Don’t be afraid to f*ck something up. Messing up is how you learn. Make sure to take note of what didn’t go right so you can fix it next time. I have had my fair share of these moments and will continue to do so as Justin and I dig even deeper into home reno.
Practice power tool safety. Power tools are not toys and if you’re not careful, you can seriously injure yourself or others and even cause unnecessary damage to your home. Learn how to properly use these bad boys before jumping into any project that requires them. Knowing what you’re doing when you use power tools will help you become a confident do-it-herselfer.
Know when you’re in over your head (or have someone close by who can reel you back in). We have a wall that divides our kitchen and living room, and I have been itching to tear it down since we moved in. It is not load-bearing, which is great, but the problem is, it has an old propane fireplace in it and electrical. And I have absolutely no idea what to do what those two things (nor do I care to learn). As much as I threaten to take this thing down myself, I realize I am in way over my head with it and will need to call a professional.
Tell yourself you can do it. Speak that into your heart and your mind will follow. Self doubt will kill your dreams faster than anything. Keep telling yourself you can do anything — because you absolutely can. There is nothing particularly difficult about home improvement. You just have to have a desire to learn and a desire to do it.
Turn to other home improvement women. Need inspiration? Looking for tips? Find other women on Instagram who are killing the home reno game and pick their brains.
Understand that it’s not glamorous and it’s very messy. Most days, I walk around with paint on my hands, arms, legs, and feet, and in the last month, I’ve had to have my hairdresser cut paint out of my hair. I have sweated my ass off in the hot North Carolina sun to rip up our front yard and paint our back patio. I have crammed my body into uncomfortable, tight spaces to paint every square foot of our spare bathroom floor. I’ve scraped cement off my kitchen floor from our countertop renovation. Home reno is far from glamorous, but it is worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears you will shed.
Start small. Don’t think you have to “go big or go home.” You actually should not have that mindset when you’re dipping your toes into the DIY home improvement waters. Tearing down a wall likely won’t be (and should not be) your first task. You have to work yourself up to that, girlfriend. Confidence in your ability to take on home projects is built from the ground up and you have to start somewhere.
Know that you don’t have to love every project you complete. Some are going to be flops, and that is OK. Just say “oh well,” learn from your mistakes, and move on to the next one. Our stenciled bathroom floor is definitely that “well, damn,” project for me.
Do the damn thing. You’ll never know if you can do something if you don’t try. Just do it! Jump right in, be creative, learn as you go, and never look back.