As much as things in Blogland mostly look happy and rosy things in real life home improvement often look very different. Renovating a house is hard.
DIY is often hard work, there are frequent setbacks and there are so many emotional ups and downs that it can be really tough to keep balanced and feel yourself.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom either and the rewards and buzz you get when finishing a project definitely outweigh any negativity, but sometimes DIY has a way of taking over – both physically and emotionally.
We spend most of our weekends tackling some kind of project (as I’m writing this I should really be painting an architrave, leveling our driveway and finishing off the decorative timber around our new bi-fold doors) and even on the weekends where we say we’re not going to do anything (because in order to keep sane they have to happen every now and then!) we almost inevitably find ourselves just quickly fixing something or buying some supplies for the next job on our list.
It’s never ending and it’s especially difficult when you live in the house you’re renovating as you can’t ever step away from it. There’s always something you walk past that needs repairing, replacing, painting, ripping out… the list is endless.
At the end of the day, it’s always a trade-off between either saving money or saving time and at the moment we kind of don’t have both. There are only ever so many projects you can do at any one time, especially if you do them yourself and if you pay for projects there are still only so many projects you can do because sooner or later the money will run out.
Even the projects where you do decide to pay someone to do all of the work can be difficult. There are unreliable builders, dodgy tradespeople and often unforeseen circumstances crop up that need your attention.
And then there’s money. We don’t really talk about finances here much, but buying and renovating a house is of course not a cheap thing to do and if you’ve not calculated correctly it can be hugely stressful. When we first moved in we maxed out on every level and for the first year did almost no improvement to our home because we were too busy staying on top of all of our bills. We had done all of our calculations properly and knew what to expect, but real life can still be a bit of a sobering experience, especially if you’ve gone into a situation where you weren’t prepared.
Things have obviously changed since and I really don’t mean to sound miserable about this. We’re so glad we bought our home and it’s definitely the best financial decision we’ve ever made, but there’s no point in sugarcoating things – the first year was tough. Even now we’re starting to see results and have some rooms that are complete, we still go through phases where we struggle.
Keeping yourself motivated is probably the most difficult aspect of all. There’s a reason why we’re serial project starters. It’s new, it’s exciting and the biggest results are usually achieved at the beginning of a project.
When tackling projects ourselves we often get to the point where we seem to hit a brick wall (often literally) and any problems or unexpected issues can quickly turn our enthusiasm into total disinterest. It can be difficult to know where to start, especially when you’re hit with problems you don’t know how to solve. Having said that, the toughest problems and challenges are also always the ones that end up being most rewarding and working your way through a problem and eventually getting the result you’re striving for is immensely satisfying.
Overall this isn’t meant to sound negative – it’s just the way it is. There are definitely a lot of ups and downs, sometimes it feels like you could tackle anything and sometimes you just can’t seem to do the most simple DIY job. Is it worth it? I guess everyone has to decide that for themselves, but for us it totally is. DIY has become a way of life for us and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
We’d love to know your experiences. Have or are you renovating a house – how are you finding it? Do you struggle to keep motivated? What’s your toughest challenge been? Do you think it’s worth it?
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