Suck At DIY? How to Get Better at Practical Jobs

by Dave The Handyman on September 10, 2012

DIY is one of the most practical and useful skills out there. The ability to transform your home into something that looks truly great, the ability to fix things that go wrong, and the ability to create new furniture and objects from wood and other raw materials can all save you a lot of time and money while at the same time helping you to make more of your property. Get good at DIY and you’ll find that everyone wants favors from you, and that everyone is impressed when they come around your property.

But if you aren’t already gifted in practical pursuits like woodwork or plumbing, how can you develop these skills? Here we will look at some tips to get better at creating things.

Practice: This might sound obvious, but the most important way to improve at anything is to keep doing it. You can read as many books as you like on building cupboards but until you get your hands dirty it’s just theory. Once you actually start to build things you get to know how they work, you start to learn what can go wrong, and you will learn from your mistakes. Most people who can’t do DIY stay away from it like the plague, but this is of course the exact reason they don’t get any better.

If you are just starting out then buy yourself some basic tools like hammers, screwdrivers, spanners etc., and find yourself a place where you can work without making a mess. Now just start off building smaller projects and little things that don’t matter. For instance make yourself a little chair for the garden, or set about repairing an old cupboard – this way it doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t go right the first time.

Classes: If you just aren’t getting it, then something that can really help is to take classes in woodwork, or electronic engineering etc. These will help to give you basic skills as well as giving you practical lessons where you will start getting stuck into the building process – but at the same time the process will be guided to ensure you don’t get stuck or hurt yourself, or build something that will collapse when you sit on it.

Work Together: Don’t know how to build something or fix your pipes? Then get a friend who does to not only help out by doing it for you, but also to show you what they’re doing and explain the process to you so that you can mimic it yourself in future. In fact even if you use a professional service such as a plumber, you can still ask them questions and watch what they do and that way you may be able to mimic the process yourself next time.

Playing to Your Strengths: At the same time it’s important to note that ‘DIY’ is really rather a large and broad subject and there are lots of different facets of DIY meaning you’re likely to be a pro in at least one of them. So if you can’t do woodwork and have repeatedly failed to learn, maybe it’s time to have a go at pottery, ceramics, 3D modelling, painting or some other aspect of DIY that you can do well. You might find that using this skill you can gradually cross over into others, or at least trade skill sets with other people who need jobs done.

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