Since becoming a do-it-yourself-er, I’ve been asked several questions about my motivations and how-tos of this approach to life. I’ve also encountered several myths about the DIY lifestyle. For instance, over the years, I’ve become a bit more radical than most as I tread this path. Others assume they need to do the exact same thing in order to adopt a DIY approach. Not true!
Today, let’s take a look at some of the common myths I hear about the DIY lifestyle and bust them all with the truth:
1. You have to do everything yourself
One of my favorite aspects of the DIY lifestyle is the community of like-minded people you can surround yourself with. Facebook is one of my favorite tools for finding others who might want to team up on projects with me or give me ideas when I’m stuck.
Even if you can’t find someone locally to help you with projects, you can find online communities that love to support fellow DIYers. Take the DIY Natural community for example. People are always posting their questions and other members are quick to offer wisdom and support. There’s no reason to go it alone.
2. You have to be crunchy
Some people are under the impression that you have to be a hippie (or close to it) to do DIY projects. Not true! When I entered the DIY lifestyle, it was to save money. Then, it became a way to improve my health.
Now, after increasing my knowledge about natural living, I love it and have become quite crunchy. But you don’t have to be crunchy to DIY. You just need to have the desire to find a better/cheaper/less toxic way of doing what you’re already doing.
3. You have to own a lot of equipment
While I’m all for investing in the DIY lifestyle, I’m also a minimalist and I make a point to not buy a bunch of equipment. I have limited space for anything other than multi-purpose tools and I like not having everything. Why? Because it gives me the opportunity to interact with others who do.
One of my favorite ways to get equipment I need for a project when I don’t have it, is to borrow it from a friend. (The bonus – often times that friend will help with my project.) A strange concept to some who think you need to buy everything new, but it’s a great way to strengthen a friendship. (Be sure to return what you borrowed in good condition, of course.)
4. You need to be an expert
My husband is remodeling a school bus into an RV. He’s a paramedic, not a contractor. Which means he’s been learning as he goes. Between the internet, friends and family and his amazing ability to figure this stuff out, he’s getting the work done. Was he hesitant to take on this project? Yes.
But he also knows from past experience that you don’t need to be an expert to DIY. You just need to know where to find the information you need.
5. You need to spend a lot of money
But what about all of the money it takes to do these DIY projects? Supplies, equipment – it all adds up, right? Not necessarily. As I mentioned earlier, you can always borrow equipment, or try to find it used. You can also create a monthly DIY budget that you can use toward buying supplies for your next project or a multi-purpose tool you know you’ll use often.
You can also start small. For the cost of one box of natural laundry detergent, I can make enough to last me three months. That one simple task already frees up money to buy supplies for other projects. Oh, and here are five simple ways to make DIY more affordable.
6. It’s only for people on a limited budget
Conversely, some people think you need to be broke to do things yourself. Why bother if you can afford to buy whatever you need? Many reasons, actually. For one, just because you have a lot of extra money to spend, doesn’t mean you have to. It could be used to pay off debt, or saved up for something fun, or given to a cause of your choice.
Doing things yourself also allows you to avoid using harmful products. There’s also a great deal of satisfaction in completing your own projects. Even mundane tasks, like doing laundry, are more enjoyable now because I know that my detergent smells awesome because I combined the scents myself.
7. Everything has to be DIY
There are actually many things that I still don’t DIY. I might someday, but for now, I’m taking it a few new projects at a time. Sometimes it’s a matter of time – I have four young kids and already do a lot of projects. Other times, I’m just intimidated. Making liquid castile soap, for example, intimidates me. (I’m sure I’ll get over it – I used to be intimidated by both liquid and bar soap.)
But if you think that by making your own laundry detergent you’re now obligated to make everything else by yourself, rest assured that you don’t have to.
Know of any other DIY myths that need busting? Share them below!