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I've always been a "do it yourself" kinda girl. I think I got it from my folks. Growing up, there wasn't a project she and my dad couldn't tackle. They did everything from pouring concrete decks and painting the house themselves (many times) to hanging wallpaper and installing flooring. I remember the projects as being fun family days where my parents worked while my brothers and I played.

Now that I'm older and have my own home, I'm hearing the truth behind the childhood memories, and it's hilarious. No DIY goes according to plan, and my parents projects were no exception! Their history and my attempts to update our 1920's bungalow over the past 5 years have taught me a few things, and out of all those projects I've distilled three tips that will simplify the process for any DIY. Let's dive in!

Tip No. 1: Read the instructions, then read the experiences

This tip alone would have saved me so much headache when we decided to paint the house exterior ourselves! I read only instructions and blogs from professional painting company websites, and drastically underestimated the amount of work and time involved with the project. So when I decided to dive into a kitchen remodel myself and settled on pouring epoxy countertops over our existing small square tile, I not only spent time reading the manufacturer's website and watching their YouTube tutorials, I also read several blogs written by fellow DIYer's who had attempted it themselves. I can't overstate how many gaps were filled in by learning from these other user's experiences that the professionals just missed because they'd been doing it for so long.

Tip No. 2: Look for the affordable, but skip the cheap

There is a difference between a good deal and a cheap product. Always hunt for the good deals, but avoid the cheap at all costs. Why? In the long run, you're adding more time, money, and headache to your project if you cut corners. A recent example for me? I used peel and stick tile for the backsplash in the kitchen. It was the most affordable option, and one I felt comfortable with (remember the peel and stick for the bathroom? It turned out so good!). Unfortunately, the tile we went with was not just the most affordable, it was cheap. I can still see seams, and no amount of problem solving has uncovered a solution that hides them well. I'll end up tearing it off, patching the drywall, and installing tiles sometime in the future, and be out the $$ for the peel and stick.

Tip No. 3: Remember your "why"

Of all the tips, this is the most important. Why are you doing this? What was the impetus? Are you looking to simplify the space? Make it more functional? Create character? Add clean lines? If you can bring your "Why" into focus, all the other miscellaneous details that clutter things up will get pulled into one cohesive vision. You'll know where to spend your money, your time, and your effort to best accomplish your goal if you remember your why for the project.

That's it! Which of these tips will you be trying for your next DIY project? And for my favorite DIY tools, shop the links below!

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