I’ve always had an interest in making things myself. It started when I was a young teen and purchased a natural beauty book full of simple recipes I could whip up. Making these recipes was fun and challenging and allowed me to take creative license.
When my husband and I decided that it would be best for me to stay at home, I turned to making things myself to lower our budget. What I discovered was that I still love making things for myself and not just because it saves us money. There are many reasons to do-it-yourself. Here are my favorites.
Matt’s note: Get started by using any of our free archived recipes, or by investing in our homemade household cleaners guide (so you can make ALL your own household cleaners, naturally.)
Chances are, saving money has something to do with your decision to adopt a DIY lifestyle. Even if it’s just a little bit. And that’s ok. Homemade items (usually) are much more cost-effective than store-bought items. Let’s take homemade shampoo, for example, which costs less than $.10 an ounce to make if you buy your baking soda in bulk. Not a bad price to pay for beautiful, healthy-looking hair.
The same goes for other handmade items. Even if you shell out more for ingredients than you would for the finished product, you’ll usually end up with more than you need. I’m thinking of herbal ointments here.
It will cost you more than one jar of said ointment to make your own. But. You will end up with several jars, meaning you can a) stockpile, b) give them as gifts, or c) sell them. Cha ching! That’s the sound of more money your pocket.
Hand-crafted items are usually synonymous with quality. Why? Because of the attention to detail that goes into each item. If something is wrong, it’s either corrected or begun again. The end product might not be perfect, but it’s probably pretty close. (Assuming that the crafter has been at this for a while. We shall not speak of the pair of pants I tried to make that one time…). Hence the high value associated with it. This quality also means it will last longer.
Because there is such high value associated with handmade items, you could even turn your love of making things into a small business and charge a nice price for it. Herbal ointments and laundry detergent can even be sold if they work well and smell nice.
When I buy ingredients for homemade items I usually buy them in bulk to save even more money, meaning I can make much more than I need. Why not sell the rest? Can you think of other people who would love quality, natural handmade items? I know I can.
If you don’t want to sell the extras, you could consider giving them as gifts. A few years ago, I discovered Advent Conspiracy, a call to make Christmas more meaningful. Its slogan, spend less, give more, greatly appealed to me. They advocate spending more time with family, creating meaningful traditions and giving handmade gifts.
The possibilities are endless with homemade gifts – food, crafts, creative kits. They can be as simple as a bag of white chip chocolate cookies (a family favorite) or a bottle of vanilla extract. Or they can be as extravagant as you want.
This year I’m planning on giving simply: scented laundry detergents, cookies, sore muscle salve, hand creams and maybe even a bottle of homemade ale. Hmmm, those gifts might not get any further than my own kitchen. ;) Of course, these gifts can be given year round, but the holidays are getting closer…
One reason that I enjoy making things myself is because of the way I feel after using my homemade items. Not emotionally, but physically. I have a very, very sensitive body that reacts to things like shampoos, detergents, gluten, dairy, sugar, the list goes on.
Using common ingredients that haven’t been manufactured in a lab saves me from unpleasant reactions. I’ve also noticed that the eczema my kids used to experience is gone. I love knowing exactly what is in the items I use and knowing that the ingredients aren’t toxic.
Have you ever reluctantly begun a creative project, thinking that you weren’t creative enough only to immediately start another one because your head was swimming with ideas?
That’s exactly what I experienced last Christmas when I made every single gift by hand. By the time I was done with my projects I was tired, but I had more ideas than ever before for things that I wanted to make.
Even with laundry detergent, I find myself getting creative with the scents I add – lavender lemon, peppermint orange, lemon lime. Creative personalization can make even the most ordinary household cleaner into something fun.
Making products and doing more household projects yourself is a great way to get your family to spend time creating something useful. Children, though we know they won’t verbalize it, value quality time with adults spent learning, discovering, and making memories.
Why not plan one of our DIY projects for this weekend?
I have a penchant for one of a kind items. Knowing that I have the only one like it makes me feel special. That’s exactly why I love making and giving handmade items.
As much as you may try to make a batch of things exactly the same, chances are there will be some variations, small as they may be. We can’t help it – we aren’t machines. And that’s exactly why I love creating things myself.
I’ve developed a fondness for this planet and I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of it. Making things yourself is a great way to do this. Homemade goods don’t come wrapped in plastic. And they aren’t full of toxic chemicals. They also make good use of items that would otherwise be thrown away. There is a vast array of gorgeous upcycled items on etsy. You may see something there you can make yourself. ;)
Everyone has their own reasons for doing things themselves, what are yours?