Design Tips

How to Find (Or Create Time) for DIY Home Improvement Projects

May 1, 2019

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It can be really hard to find time for DIY home improvement projects in the midst of normal busy life. Follow these 7 tips to find (or create) the time you need to create the home of your dreams!

Finding Time for DIY Home Improvement Projects

So, let’s dive right into how we have gone about creating time to work on our home so that you can do the same thing.

Tip #1: Do NOT begin until you have a solid plan.

Y’all, this is the single most important piece of advice I can give you. It will save you countless hours, a lot of frustration and a lot of money. I know because I’ve made the mistake of starting DIY home improvement projects before I had a plan so many times it’s almost embarrassing to talk about.

In our first house, I randomly picked out a red paint color for our kitchen. I didn’t test colors on the wall next to our cabinets. I didn’t even take paint swatches home. I just went to the paint store, picked a red color and went home and painted. And it was a disaster. So I went back to the store and chose a different red and painted it again. Did I test the new color? NOPE. I figured the second one had to be better. I still hated it. FINALLY, I took the time to bring paint swatches home, and I chose a red that worked with the wood tones of our cabinets. I purchased and painted the kitchen for the THIRD time (this time by myself because I was too embarrassed to ask my Joe to help me AGAIN) and I loved it.

Do you know how many hours and dollars I wasted for jumping into that project without a plan? A LOT.

Take the time to think about what you want to change in your space, make a plan for what stays and what goes, create your budget, pick a color palette, decide on your patterns and textures and THEN, and only then, will you actually start the physical transformation of your space. 

Tip #2: Once you have a solid plan and are ready to implement it, make it a priority and say no to things that may stand in your way.

If you treat creating a home you love like it’s optional, then other things will constantly get in your way. But when you make it a priority, it becomes much easier to stick to your guns. If you decide that you are going to create the family room of your dreams over the next 2 months no matter what, you will be prepared to say no to the volunteer requests or social invitations that will stand in your way. I’m not saying stop volunteering or having fun—I’m just saying to make those lower on your priority list until you complete whatever you are focused on off of your current DIY home improvement projects list.

Tip #3: It’s time to shift your mindset.

Turn the time you currently spend relaxing into the time you work on your home. I know what you are thinking, “I NEVER have time to relax.” I would have said the same thing, but when I really dug deep and looked at how I spent my time I realized I did find some time to watch TV and read magazines.

You can guess what comes next. You need to give up any activity that isn’t absolutely necessary for your job or family.

For us, that transition meant that DIYing and working on our home became our relaxation time. I can’t count the number of nights we have put our girls to bed only to put on our painting clothes, pour a glass of wine, put on some music and paint some walls! Some of those nights have been our most fun “date” nights. It’s absolutely possible to turn the time you use to improve your home into quality time spent with your loved ones! You just have to shift your mindset and realize how important your DIY home improvement projects are to your life and happiness.

Tip #4: Set deadlines and goals.

You need to create goals and deadlines for your home renovations and design plans. Why? Dave Ramsey says it best, “Goals cannot be vague. Vague goals are not goals; they are dreams and wishes.” So if you set out to create the master bedroom retreat of your dreams, give yourself a deadline! Otherwise, you will almost certainly wind up with a half finished bedroom that stays that way for a long time.

If you are going to do it, DO IT WELL. Don’t leave the job half-finished. Setting deadlines will help ensure you actually finish your dream room.

Tip #5: Ask for help.

This is the one I struggle with the most. I have a really hard time asking for help, but the fact is most people are happy to pitch in and help the people they love! For us, we found that we could often time our large DIY projects around visits from family members so that we had help with our girls and sometimes help with the projects themselves.

If having someone take your kid to soccer practice and bring them home will get you 2 uninterrupted hours to work on your project, ask for that help! Just let whoever is helping you know you are happy to reciprocate down the road and chances are they will gladly assist you! And once you’ve set deadlines for your project, you can look at your schedule and determine when you could really use some help.

Tip #6: This is for those of you with young kids and it’s a big one. GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED.

I think a lot of people think it’s “wrong” to have their kids pitch in with their home projects or that their kids will be bored or hate it. That has NEVER been our experience! We involve our girls as much as possible and though not every moment is blissful, we enjoy them hanging out and working with us and it’s so much better than sticking them in front of the TV!

If we are doing things they can help with, they help. Sometimes things move more slowly, but we love that it helps build their confidence by making them feel that their contribution is important. And when they can’t help, we still try to keep them in whatever room we are working on (assuming it’s safe) and set them up with books, coloring or something else to do while we work. Involving your kids will do a lot in the way of helping you find time to improve your home. And I think your kids will love it and thank you someday for all they’ve learned!

Tip #7: Take breaks in between large projects!

I learned this the hard way. We have tackled a couple of huge DIY home improvement projects back to back, and it has made us cranky and exhausted. So after you complete a big project or a space in your home, take a break for a few weeks or a month. It will not only give you time to recover mentally and physically, but it will also allow you to do things you couldn’t make time for while you were working so hard. PLUS, it will give you time to pull together a comprehensive plan for the next space you are going to tackle (remember, that’s tip # 1!).

I KNOW you are super busy with all that life throws at you. I am, too! But by following these tips I am always able to find time to prioritize making my home a place I love to be and you can do it too! These tips and tricks will get you the time and motivation you need to start the DIY home improvement projects you have been thinking about. 

Before you head out and get started, be sure to check out my FREE design guides that will help you help you design spaces you absolutely love! Unlock my design vault and get access to all of them in one convenient digital library.

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