Reflections on a DIY lifestyle

Last week two of the blogs I read regularly did posts on the theme of DIYing vs. Living In Your Home & Enjoying It (that’s Young House Love’s title. DIY Diva had her own reflections). Reading their posts got me thinking about my philosophy and how we live in our house.

Removing a window well

Matt and Dad dig out an old window well while our mason works at bricking up another old window

It’s been just about two months since we moved into the farm. Our major motivation for moving to the country is to enjoy a slower pace and really savour life, but I feel like we really haven’t taken much time to sit down and enjoy being here. We have moments–Saturday afternoons before dump runs tend to be a time you’ll catch us sitting outside for a few minutes… usually just on the ground or a rock, usually with the kitties around us.

Matt takes a kitty break

Matt on a kitty break. Notice the work gloves are still on.

As much as I love DIY, it can be a tough lifestyle at times.

Last week was a bit rough in spots. We had a couple of late nights working on the house, a couple of evenings out for other stuff (the rest of your life and work continue even when you’re mid-reno) and a couple of last minute shopping sprees/construction blitzes to prepare for trades who were coming the next day.

We tend to sacrifice sleep to get it all done and there are lots of mornings that we are dragging and some days where we feel a bit droopy.

Skinned knuckle

Cuts and scrapes, bumps and bruises are all part of DIY

I can’t imagine not working on our house myself and making it what I want with my own two hands. But there comes a point in every project where I just want it to be done. We’re not there yet. It usually hits sometime around the drywall stage.

A big project, like the basement reno we’re in the midst of now, causes a lot of chaos. Everything that would normally be in the basement is in the living room. The kitchen island is covered with tools and materials and manuals and notes for trades. There’s a fine skim of dust everywhere, both upstairs and down.

The yearning to have a clean and organized house and be able to sit down for an evening without feeling guilty is powerful motivation at this stage of a project.

The partially gutted basement

The partially gutted basement

We do try to keep a balance. We’ve learned we don’t always have to be working on the house. Yes, taking a night off makes me feel slightly guilty and pushes the finish line a little farther away. However, hanging out with friends, sitting on the couch watching TV or just taking a walk rejuvenate me so that I’m more motivated when we get back to work.

Also, we tend to only take on one big project a year, so we have lots of time off to recuperate and relax in between–and forget!

Matt sitting on a fence

Vistas like this just outside the front door can make us shift our focus pretty quickly from DIYing to relaxing.

This basement project is not our first DIY reno, but this is my first time blogging about it, and I’m finding the blog is very motivating as well. Keeping a record of our progress and posting pictures of what we’re working towards help to keep me moving. I know at the end it will be beautiful and completely worth it.

As well, knowing that we have all of you out there supporting us, reading updates and looking forward to seeing the finished product means a lot. People have been promised an invitation to play games and watch movies in our fun basement hangout. We have to deliver!

Now it’s your turn. Whether you’re a DIYer or not, how do you stay motivated?

4 thoughts on “Reflections on a DIY lifestyle

  1. Great post! DIY-ing isn’t as easy as everyone thinks it is. More secretly satisfying yes, but definitely not easier. How do I stay motivated? Budget is a big one. But also to keep a retain a certain level of creativity. It’s the idea of loving arts and crafts as a kid and rekindling that love, just on a much bigger scale.

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