DIY (Do-it-yourself) around the home

I hate hate it when things break. I know it means countless hours of work. It’s not that the actial plumbing is difficult – it is just the fact that I do not know how to fix it beforehand.

Here are some things we’ve learned when dealing with home repairs:

  • Don’t panic. A zen-like state is important for repair work. I don’t mean this in any mystical sense, but it’s helpful to be calm and relaxed when doing this sort of thing. Rash actions can turn a small problem into a disaster.
  • Act quickly. Don’t put off repairs. While you don’t want to charge blindly ahead, you do want to take care of the problem as soon as possible.
  • Use a reference. Google is your friend. I’ve found most of my answers on the world wide web. There are a lot of good books in your local library too.
  • Work methodically. When you take something apart, neatly set the pieces someplace safe. Label them, if appropriate. Be orderly. Follow instructions. Measure twice, cut once. If you have a digital camera handy, take pictures of how things were assembled before you dismantled them. These sorts of careful steps make repair work run smoothly.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Some of my most frustrating do-it-yourself experiences have come when I’ve made assumptions about a problem, only to be proven wrong.
  • Pay attention. As you work, try to notice details. You never can tell what piece of information will be important. Are the electrical outlets you’re replacing two-prong or three-prong? How big were the screws on that gizmo, anyhow?
  • Be safe. Some tasks are dangerous. Electricity can kill you. So can a chainsaw.
  • Know when to use an expert. Not everyone can fix every problem, of course. Some things do require a specialist. Be sure to check if you actually are allowed to do the work. Here in Denmark there have strict rules defining what you can and can not do around the house. Plumbing, gas and electricity all have strict rules.

Try to do it yourself – there is a lot of money to be saved, on even small tasks.