Getting on the property ladder is not easy these days for most 20 somethings but when we completed on our house back in December 2015 I had no idea of the journey I was about to begin together with my boyfriend. We’d saved for almost 2 years religiously and now we had a place to call our own. For the first 3 months in our new dwelling I wasn’t working which meant endless days of DIY to get the house up to a decent standard. Now we’ve been here for over a year I thought now would be as good a time as any to share some thoughts with you all on what I learned in the first year and what I would say to my younger self given the chance. So here goes…
- Learn from your mistakes.
You will make mistakes after you buy your first property and probably a lot of them before you find your way. This is 100% normal and totally worth it because otherwise your work will never have progression and you can’t pass your wisdom onto other friends and family members when they buy a property. The amount of times we have painted a wall and regretted it and then painted over the top or bought about 20 tester pots and still managed not to find the perfect colour I cannot tell you. The good thing is that most mistakes can be either re-done or rectified to some extent – even if it costs you more in the long run. Which leads nicely to my next point…
2. Buy cheap, buy twice.
Yes it is true what they say, buy cheap and buy twice! We have replaced the U bend under our sink 4 times in a year because we kept thinking “oh the cheap and cheerful PVC pipes will do us”. No it didn’t do us at all, and in the end we spent more money than if we’d have just bought the right one the first time! Of course there are some products that will suit you fine being of a lower value such as emulsion paints and home accessories but when it comes to tools, fixtures and fittings I would definitely urge you to buy those that are a little more expensive but will more than likely have a longer life in them.
3. YouTube is a godsend!
I can’t even remember how many times we googled something to find out how to do it when it came to decorating. In these cases, YouTube was our saviour. There are so many things you can find out by watching tutorials and because it is more visual, it is hard to misinterpret the instructions and get things wrong. When it came to tasks such as plumbing and electrics it was especially useful because the risks involved were much higher than just painting or decorating and had it have gone wrong it could’ve had a significant effect on the house not to mention our health!
4. Preparation is key.
I am a very impatient person so as soon as I have an idea in my head I want to start it straight away but whenever we did this we found that we needed to pop out and buy extra tools halfway through the job which meant a delay in completing it. Just make sure that before you start something you have absolutely everything you need to finish that job. Another piece of advice is to measure everything 3 times minimum. We recently capped off some copper pipes under our floorboards and stupidly forgot to measure the size of the pipes and ended up having to buy 2 different size end caps just in case one didn’t fit! Just make sure you buy anything you might need because you can always take it back if you don’t use it.
5. Don’t bodge job. EVER.
You might think that using a bit of tape to secure something “will do for now” but just don’t do it. It won’t last and it will cause you problems further down the line. The previous owners of our house were clearly bodge jobbers as every single project we have taken on has been delayed as the first few days are spent undoing all the messy work they did before us. Trust me when I say just do it properly the first time round. If that isn’t an option then do a short term fix and schedule in when you will fix that item or project properly and then work towards it so that your short term fix is only that – short term.
Those are my holy grail tips for now. If you guys like content like this then please let me know and I will endeavour to write more! Happy DIY-ing all!