7 Things You Need to Do Before a DIY Project

To-Do-ListTackling projects yourself pays big dividends. You save money, learn something new and gain a sense of accomplishment. Your new bookshelf or birdbath is almost a bonus. Unless you’re an avid do-it-yourself-er, though, you’re probably going to have that moment of alarm when you wonder if you’ve taken on too much. There’s no such thing as guaranteed perfection with improvement projects, but with planning, you’ll maximize your chances of success.

1. Get Everything Together

Chefs use a term for collecting ingredients before they start cooking: mise en place. The French phrase describes putting everything within easy reach, and it prevents the chef from ruining a delicate dish through inattention. Your latest painting project may not be as time-sensitive as the perfect pancake, but it’s still helpful to gather everything you need before you start. Making a checklist will keep you on track.

2. Get Organized

Having everything in one place is a great start, but organizing it improves your efficiency. Tool kits or household organizers that hold everything you need for your latest do-it-yourself job make staying organized throughout the project a snap.

3. Study Your Subject

You probably already know something about your project before you start it, but unless you’re already an expert, getting a refresher course from books or online sources can make the difference between a serviceable item and one that’s spectacular.

4. Try a Kit

Whether it was riding a bike or baking a cake, your first attempt at doing it yourself probably needed a little input from an expert. If you don’t have a master crafter handy when you start your project, work from a kit. Many artists got their start with paint-by-number sets, and even the best cooks still use recipes sometimes. Kits make things accessible for beginners. After putting together your first fairy garden, you’ll undoubtedly have tons of inspiration for your own version.

5. Find a Good Work Space

When you have enough room to spread out and see what you’re doing, your DIY efforts pay off with better results. If the weather’s pleasant, work outside or in your garage with the door open. When you’re inside, like to work at night or must work on your project in confined quarters, use ample lighting to avoid eye strain.

6. Stay Clean

You’ll have plenty of use for cleaning supplies after you’re finished, but your project will also benefit from using them before and during the job. Cooking in a spotless kitchen or working in a well-organized garage is always inspiring, so clean before you build or craft.

7. Use the Right Tools

Many of us have used a shoe heel as a makeshift hammer, but when it’s time to do a project right, having the proper tools can spell success. With a ball-joint vise, for example, you gain an extra set of hands and can work on the whole project at once.

Whether you’re building a dollhouse or your own home, every great do-it-yourself project starts with preparation!

Image Credit: Iris Classon

When Do I Need To Upgrade My Kitchen?

Kitchen-UpdgradeThe kitchen is one of the first places a prospective buyer will view when analyzing a potential property. Even if you have no plans to sell up anytime soon, it is still necessary to take a long, hard look at your kitchen to see if you need an upgrade. You could spend a small fortune renovating your home but if the kitchen isn’t up to scratch, all the effort and cash will be wasted. But how do you know if your kitchen requires an upgrade? Read on to find out.

Old Appliances
It’s time to remove your reliable old kitchen appliances and opt for something modern that fits in with the style of your brand new kitchen. You don’t have to spend a small fortune when it comes to upgrading a kettle, toaster, fridge or microwave as online sellers can provide kitchen appliances such as Ship It cooker hoods at prices far below what you can expect to pay in a bricks and mortar store.

Cramped Layout
Take a close look at your kitchen space and think of the problems you encounter on a daily basis. Maybe you are tired of running around the kitchen to prepare meals or else you need extra space for storage of brand new kitchen appliances. The modern kitchen needs to be multi-functional so make changes if yours does not currently fit the bill!

Cracked Flooring/Counter Tops
If you have an old kitchen, it is likely that there are cracks in the sink and the counter tops are chipped. There may be burns on your work surfaces and the finishes of cabinets are worn. If you have hardwood flooring or tiles, the floor may need to be replaced if it can’t be repaired. There is no point adding a splash of color or spending money on new kitchen appliances if the rest of the room looks outdated.

Ancient Cabinetry
DIY experts suggest that even adding new handles to the doors of cabinets can make them look new but in some cases, this won’t be enough. If you have cabinets that are wonky, get stuck when you try to open drawers and have paint or wood chipping, it’s time for a change. Look for a cabinet style and design that fits in with your other changes for a kitchen to be proud of.

If You Are Selling
In the United States alone, roughly $15 billion is spent each year on kitchen renovations which proves beyond doubt that a kitchen is of paramount importance in the home. A remodeled kitchen can offer almost a full return on investment in terms of adding to the price you fetch for your property and it certainly makes the home more appealing to prospective buyers. If you are planning to spend cash on renovating the kitchen, remember that quick fixes will be insufficient as buyers will always see problems beneath the glossy surface.

When selling a property, upgrading the kitchen is advisable and even if you plan to live in your existing home for many years to come, it makes sense to improve your family’s standard of life with a contemporary kitchen that has the best modern conveniences.

Patrick Lynch has been a full-time freelancer writer for 5 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Literature & Publishing from the National University of Ireland, Galway and has written more than 10,000 articles for a variety of international clients such as Fusewave, Muscle & Strength, Guinness and Red & Black Solutions.