Around here, if we want something done, we do it ourselves. My husband and I have ascribed to the principle of sweat equity ever since we have been together. Long before there was a ring, he was helping me remodel the kitchen in my first home. Thanks to his efforts, and my mother-in-law’s beautiful design work, I was able to create a $40,000 kitchen on a $10,000 budget. It’s no secret that saving money is one of the biggest benefits of DIY (doing it yourself), but it’s far from the only one. Take a look at some not so obvious ways applying sweat equity can improve your home and well-being.
A Dozen Unexpected Benefits of Doing It Yourself
1. Improves the look of your home
Doing the work around your home yourself allows for a custom look without a custom cost. It affords you the opportunity to get the look you want without sacrificing your budget or long-term financial goals. While the level of comfort with projects can vary, there are definitely projects that can be done to improve the look of your home without hiring someone. Simple projects like assembling new furniture, creating a gallery wall or accent wall, remodeling a room, or freshening up landscaping, go a long way to improving the look of your home.
2. Helps you to learn new skills, which keeps you mentally sharp
Research published by The Harvard Medical School found that “Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active, but pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill, or volunteering for a project at work that involves a skill you don’t usually use can function the same way and help improve memory.”
When we set out to redecorate our dining room, I wanted to incorporate new molding and authentic grasscloth. While my hubby, Ryan, was pretty confident he could do the custom trim work, he was not so certain about the wallpaper. He had never hung wallpaper before and this particular type was more complicated than most (you had to glue it yourself and couldn’t clean the grass with water if you got something on it).
We watched some tutorials on YouTube, read articles, and researched. I knew he had the prior remodeling skills to transfer to this new challenge. Plus, I knew to pay someone to hang it would cost anywhere between $400-$1000! I persuaded Ryan to have a do it scared mentality. I ordered an extra roll of paper, convincing him that if we started and it was a disaster, we could always pay someone to do it at that point. Luckily, I was right. He was more than capable of hanging the grasscloth and he learned a new skill to boot!
3. Increases your sense of accomplishment
Sweat equity increases your sense of accomplishment and pride of ownership. There’s something about knowing that you did the work yourself that makes it extra special. There’s a pride that comes from working with your hands that you just don’t get when you pay someone to do it for you.
When we decided to create a Montessori style toddler room for our firstborn, I knew I wanted a bookcase with storage for our son to be able to access his favorite things. Ryan designed and built this toy storage/bookcase combo and I love it! It’s been the perfect piece for Bean, and it’s made so strongly that I know it will be used for years to come! You can create your own in a weekend for under $200! Check out our free DIY tutorial for step-by-step directions!
4. Helps improve your health
There are plenty of studies out there that have shown a connection between too much television time and poor health. According to an article published by the New York Times, adults in America are watching just over 5 hours of television each day. 5 hours. Daily. That’s a lot of time that could be dedicated to learning a new skill. If you want to experience the benefits of DIY, consider cutting out some television time.
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5. Makes you more interesting
While I can’t promise that the benefits of DIY will make you the most interesting man (or woman) in the world, I can almost guarantee that it will make you more interesting than you are right now. Learning how to do things for yourself leads to some great stories. These new skills give another facet to your personality, as you have more knowledge to share and discuss with others. And to people that could never envision being DIY’ers themselves, you will be impressive.
6. Inspires others
Who knows, maybe the conversations you have about your newfound DIY skills will inspire others to give it a try. People often assume things are harder than they seem. By talking about the benefits of doing it yourself and sharing your sweat equity adventures, you can inspire others to tackle something that they might have previously considered to be out of their wheelhouse.
7. Helps you be more altruistic
Maybe those conversations you are having with others will lead you to volunteer to help them accomplish something on their to-do list. Ryan has learned many DIY skills by working with his father. He grew up helping his dad tackle house projects and now his dad often helps us tackle projects at our place. Their skills also provide opportunities for them to help others. Ryan has helped friends change water heaters and garbage disposals. He’s hung drywall, blown-in insulation, installed a new roof, and put together garage doors for friends and family who were trying to do it themselves. One of the biggest benefits of DIY is learning new skills to help others accomplish projects they might otherwise not be able to afford.
8. Helps you get in shape (or not become more out of shape!)
Anyone who has ever watched any DIY TV knows that demo is hard work! Tearing out walls, cabinets, or roofing is a great workout! Even if you are a novice DIYer, painting, landscaping, and other less extensive projects get you moving and working, which is better for your body than sitting around!
9. Builds confidence
When you tackle something you didn’t think you could, you build confidence and that confidence transfers. Once you accomplish one feat that was outside of your comfort zone, you begin to realize that maybe there are other things you can do for yourself. This newfound confidence can even spread into other aspects of your life.
10. Helps you make money
Sure, one of the benefits of DIY is that it saves you money, but developing new skills can also help you make money. Several years ago, my husband cracked the screen on his new iPhone. Not wanting to pay Apple to fix it, he hopped on Amazon, bought the parts, and fixed it himself by watching a YouTube video. He’s since replaced several screens for others. Granted, he hasn’t accepted payment for these favors just because he’s a nice guy, but he could totally make money from this service if he wanted to.
There will never be a shortage of people who would rather pay someone to do something for them than to do it for themselves (not in our Slow Motion Mama community, of course! We are a frugal bunch!). Develop your new skills and then turn that knowledge into a sweet side hustle!
11. Helps you learn to problem solve
Here’s one thing I can almost guarantee: if you start a DIY project, there will be an opportunity to problem-solve. Doing it yourself can be unpredictable at times. One of the benefits of DIY is learning how to navigate unforeseen circumstances. Tackling these problems breeds experience, confidence, and makes for a more interesting story to share with your friends!
12. Reduces mental stress & improves your state of mind
Unfinished projects can create a constant state of stress in your home. They can cause tension between spouses and can make daily home activities more frustrating. Having these incomplete projects hanging over you can produce a sense of dread. Instead of letting these things weigh you down, develop a plan and tackle them yourself. Accomplishing a DIY project will reduce your stress and help you feel more relaxed at home.
Anyone Can Experience the Benefits of DIY
With so many benefits of DIY, it’s easy to see why more and more people are turning from hiring professionals to learning how to do things for themselves. Sure, you might not be comfortable tackling a full scale remodel or installing windows, but there are bound to be some unfinished projects around your house that you can muster up the courage to tackle yourself.
Paint that bedroom or antique wooden furniture. Learn how to install trim or tile. Hang that vinyl lettering on your wall. Clean your own carpets. Plant your own landscaping. Hang those new blinds. Install that closet organizer you’ve been dreaming of.
If you have a project in mind, I recommend doing some research, making a plan, and getting your hands dirty! Infuse a little sweat equity into your life. Embrace the benefits of doing it yourself!
Share your projects with us! Drop a photo in the comments and tell us what benefits you are experiencing as a result of doing it yourself!