Welcome to Brighter Home Projects! In this series, we explore DIY home renovation, repair, and a variety of related projects by taking to heart this simple idea: you are capable of more than you realize. Each installment focuses on home improvement projects, information, and advice aimed growing both your skill set and your self-confidence.
We are a nation forged on hard work and know-how, so at what point did we lose our way when it come to getting things done? Think about it, pioneers in every stage of our history had to roll up their sleeves and make it happen, because guess what, Target and Angie’s List were nowhere to be found. People had to know how to do what needed to be done, or they simply wouldn’t survive.
[[Cue uplifting rock music playing in the background.]]
My grandfather was born in the 1931, lived through the Great Depression, worked the night shift at a truck stop beating busted tires off of trucks to feed his siblings, and built the first home for his family while working at a steel mill. There seemed to be no limit to what he was willing and able to get done.
I, on the other hand, was soft, in spite of being raised by my grandparents, both of whom were tough as nails when it came to taking care of business. It wasn’t until I had a son of my own that realized just how inept I was with regard to just about anything that required tools. I decided then and there that this would not be my legacy. Over the next few years, I steadily turned my inability into a set of skills, and now I’m hooked.
So, without further adieu, let’s start at the beginning.
What is DIY? DIY, or Do-It-Yourself, is the practice of fixing or building what you need rather than hiring a professional or buying a replacement. For the uninitiated, DIY is simply a means by which to save money, but to the seasoned practitioner, it’s a source of pride.
And in spite of popular opinion, DIY isn’t a quick fix approach to life. Learning how to not only build and fix, but to do it well, takes time and practice. Looking at my first attempt at building a fence panel, and then to my latest full section of fence, one can easily see (with a chuckle) the progression of my skills. The DIY path isn’t for quitters – it’s for folks with some grit and determination (not to mention being able to laugh at yourself when things go sideways).
The simple and unappreciated truth is that not everyone has the chops to perform well in a skilled trade. After all, even though I spent years in the United States intelligence community thinking that I knew what hard work was, I had no idea how hard roofers and oil field welders worked, day in and day out. So this diatribe, and in fact this series as a whole, is not meant to inspire a change in career, though if it does, I’ll consider that a bonus. What I hope to instill in you, the reader, is the idea that you are capable of more than a modicum of self-reliance when it comes to tackling your needs around the house.
Throughout this series, we will explore a wide variety of DIY topics relating to your home, not the least of which are ways to fix what’s broken (I’ll bet you don’t realize just how easy it is to fix a big hole in drywall). We’ll also cover a lot of useful tips and tricks (efficiency improvements only – no shortcuts allowed). And you’ll follow me on some projects including fence installation, smart home setup, beautifying some truly unappreciated spaces in the home, and, as always, tackling all of the things I need to do to maintain a 1940’s bungalow.
Oh, I forgot to mention, this series will also be guided by you, the reader, so please submit questions and ideas, as this series is nothing without you.
Welcome to the DIY community of doers. I’m glad you’re here!
In the next installment of Brighter Home Projects, we’ll talk about a few key DIY do’s and don’ts – because safety is important.