How to Keep Your Momentum Going During a Big DIY Project

Beware of home improvement projects that begin with “remove roof and temporarily set aside. 

 – Dereck Williamson, The Complete Book of Pitfalls

Some people like to oversee a major home improvement project from a distance; others prefer to jump in and get their hands dirty. If you fall into the latter category, perhaps you’ve been in a situation where your enthusiasm is running high at first, but then peters out well before the project is even close to completion. So why does this happen? Let’s look at some of the most common reasons big DIY projects lose their way — and some solutions for keeping them on track.  

Relative Do-ability  

There’s a major difference between hiring someone to refinish all the hardwood floors in your home and doing it yourself. Unless you’re at home full-time or retiree, odds are you’re tackling a DIY project like this in your spare time. That said, is it something you can realistically carry out? Do you have the tools, perseverance and know-how to get it done right? Whatever the project, think carefully about whether the time you’ll spend and the money you’ll save are worth the effort and inconvenience.  

Decisions, Decisions… 

Another reason DIY projects lose their mojo is they get bogged down at the decision-making stage. Having multiple people weighing in at every juncture can turn something as straightforward as choosing a paint color into a major sticking point. Resist the temptation to ask for everyone’s opinion because there is no way to satisfy everyone. On the other hand, if you’re tackling the project with the help of a spouse, partner or loved one, remember to be flexible. Keep your ears open, be ready to compromise and reach consensus together. 

Sticker Shock 

Many big DIY projects go unfinished because the cost to complete them is often vastly underestimated. Do the research — and the math — before you break out the tools and drop cloths. At minimum, you need to have a solid idea of the project’s goal and benefits, the materials you plan to use, and a general timeline for when it should be finished. Then, add at least a 10-15% contingency on top of that to account for any unforeseen extras.  

While you’re at it, consider getting a few professional estimates, especially for things you’re unsure about tackling. This may wind up saving you money. 

Are We Done Yet?  

There is no sense in creating the perfect playroom if it won’t be finished until your kids enter college. And let’s be real: Cooking dinner on a hotplate loses its bohemian charm when the kitchen renovation heads into its second year. This is why it’s essential to set a project timeframe and milestones — and stick to them. You need to consider things like the workarounds you may run into when you take a bathroom offline or convert a garage into a bedroom. Will those who would benefit most be living there once the project is done? And have you factored in visits from residential building code inspectors? 

If you can’t come up with a step-by-step calendar leading up to a reasonable completion date, consider asking for outside help in setting up a practical project timeline.  

Watch Out for Snowballs! 

Beware of the “snowball effect” that can happen when a well-defined, doable DIY project gets bundled into a larger set of to-dos. That can lead to getting nothing done at all. Stick to your original scope of work and get that project done before moving on to the next one. 

We hope your journey to Finding Home is smooth and successful. And remember, no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®. 

Want more tips and advice? Check out our blogs for city guides, decorating ideas and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.  

Oh, and did you know Mayflower has a channel on Spotify? Move and groove to tunes that get you to your new place — and settled in — in style. 

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