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DIY: Do It…You Can

I have always been a do-it-yourself (DIY)-er in terms of the creative aspects of my home, i.e., changing the fabric on cushions, painting walls, hanging art, rearranging furniture, but my DIY projects were moved to a whole new level out of need. I was a single mom of two young sons living in a house that was aging. I couldn’t afford to hire people to do all that needed to be done, so I decided to tackle projects on my own. I would DIY my day away replacing fence slats, trimming trees, pounding small nails into the creaking wood floors, and replacing and painting the exterior wood siding. The staff at the local Home Depot came to know me and would give me tips and lead me to the correct tools. They were my cheerleaders.  I felt energized and fulfilled with each project I completed.

Then I had a water pipe burst under a sink, so I called the plumber. Once the pipe was fixed, I asked if he would check out the rest of my plumbing under the sinks. After assessing, he explained the all the copper piping would need to be replaced. He gave me an estimate and I cringed at the cost. Before I was willing to pay, I decided to investigate doing it myself. This was 2003, so there was no YouTube to guide me through. I went to my local Home Depot and headed to the plumbing department. I explained that I needed to replace the sink plumbing, so along with the pipes, connectors, and tools I needed, I bought the “Home Improvement 123” book that provided step-by-step instructions. I decided to start with one sink to see if I could do it…and I did! I then decided that I may as well replace the old sinks and faucets while I was doing the plumbing. Gradually, and with initial bouts of screaming frustration and second guessing, I replaced all the piping, sinks and faucets in three bathrooms and my kitchen. The pipes didn’t leak, and the faucets worked…I had done it myself! I was amazed, delighted, and felt like I could do anything. My sons talked about their “mom the plumber” for years. They were proud of my perseverance and determination, and I was too. I felt a tremendous sense of achievement that boosted my self-confidence, and I felt an overall sense of joy.

DIY projects are a wonderful way to maintain and improve mental health. The happiness I have experienced when a project is completed is immeasurable. Having the confidence to tackle new projects withstands time. Financial stress is lessened when you realize you don’t have to call a repairperson every time something needs attention. My experience as a DIY-er was one of necessity that turned into a passion. So go tackle your plumbing, or call me, I’ll DIY it for you.