Do It Yourself – a cheap way to have fun and get fit

Ditch the magazines and self-help books. Do It Yourself (DIY) is a great way to feel great and empowered – and it saves money too! Over the festive season I had a ball becoming Ms Fix-it around the house, reminding me of my childhood.  We (all six of us kids) learned how to get things done “tickety boo” not forgetting to trim the edges of the lawn, fix a bike or clean up spilt paint, under the watchful eye of Mom, the original Mrs Fix-it.

Getting back to my roots, I thought of some tips to share:

1.      Make a Wish list. Walk around and jot down your wish list of things – big and small – that need fixing. (You can ask house or flat-mates for suggestions but only if they are going to help out!)

2.      “Look before you leap”. Before you dash off to your nearest hardware, check all the supplies you have in your storeroom. I discovered 11 tins of paint, primer, remover etc. half a bag of pollyfilla AFTER going to the paint store. Luckily I could exchange what I bought.

3.      “Don’t be a smarty pants”. Just because you know the difference between acrylic and varnish doesn’t mean you don’t have to read instructions. I mean REALLY read them. Busy bee thought the directions said 2.5:1 water to pollyfilla when it was the reverse and I had a huge bucket of sludgy water!

4.      “Waste not, want not.” OK I would not have chosen the Salmon Pink but it was in the storeroom and so I used it to paint the front wall. (see pic) That saved me over R400.

5.      “Keep well the road”. Make friends with your hardware or paint store and ask for advice and even a discount. They LOVE giving advice. Doesn’t mean you should not get other opinions or shop around.  

6.      “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Pace yourself. Do one task at a time and take breaks. Don’t paint from dawn til dusk. I am nursing a strained and swollen hand as a result. Try to do some small jobs between bigger ones to get some quick victories.

7.      Use, or borrow the right equipment. Don’t paint a huge wall with a little brush. “Don’t you want to use a roller?” my friendly neighbour called over. Good point.

8.      Involve your family. It is a great way to share skills, bond, get fit and save money all at the same time.

9.      Celebrate small and big victories. Take a pic before and after. Thank everyone involved, ESPECIALLY YOURSELF!

10.  Tick one more item off your to-do list. Well done! You can do it!painting


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