Why I don’t DIY

why I don't DIY

This post is the third in a 31 day series called “doing less to build more.” To read the other posts in this series, click here.

This summer, I spotted some lovely terrariums in a yoga studio. The owner makes and uses them for studio decor, but she also sells them for $40. As many women in my generation would, I immediately thought, “I can make one myself.”

I pinned more blog posts on how to make a terrarium than was really necessary. I made a list of supplies, and one Saturday convinced Mike that helping me shop for my terrarium would be a great way to spend time together.

We visited Lowes, Michael’s, and a thrift shop, where I hoped to find a cheaper glass container. Between the three stops, we found everything I needed, but I got cold feet.

The multitude of decisions exhausted me. Almost two hours into our trip, it dawned on me: this is not enjoyable. I reunited my bag of rocks with the others on the shelf, and did some quick math. (Read: I asked Mike to do some quick math.)

We calculated that by the time I bought all my supplies, it would cost close to $40, the same price as an already assembled terrarium! Not to mention the hours it had already cost in research.

In his ever supportive and encouraging way, Mike suggested I ask Masie (the yoga studio owner) where she buys her supplies. It was a good idea, but I was just. over. it. I’ve known it before and it occurred to me again in that moment: I am not a DIY-er.

Masie sells her handmade goods on Etsy. I don’t know that I could pay anyone to take something I’ve made.

She also told me about how her husband found something on the side of the road that she repurposed into purses. Or maybe yoga mat carriers for when you bike to yoga class? I don’t quite remember, but one thing is clear: I am not that person.

I don’t enjoy the process of making things with my hands. I am 100% in it for the end result, which is often disappointing. It’s not therapeutic for me; if anything, it’s stressful.

As we left Michael’s, I told Mike that even if I could get the materials cheaper, I didn’t want to invest any more time in this project. Money is a resource, but so is time. I don’t want to spend my free time doing projects I don’t enjoy.

The shopping trip was not a complete loss. I bought this $3 plant at Lowe’s and planted it in a teapot I already had. It took two minutes.


Then I took a nap, because shopping for a DIY project and then admitting the truth about yourself is exhausting. I spent the rest of the afternoon doing what energizes and calms me: reading and writing.

I have nothing but love for the DIY movement, but if you’re just not into it, set yourself free. If you can’t look at Pinterest without feeling pressure to make all the things, then don’t.

As for me, I accept that my house will not be as cute as my crafty friends. I will admire their skill and order from their Etsy shops, but I will not feel pressure to DIY just because I can or because it’s cheaper. It’s not cheaper: it costs me time, my most valuable commodity, time I’d rather spend here, writing.

What about you? Do you love DIY projects, or are you more like me?

Photo Credit: joshleo via Compfight cc

11 thoughts on “Why I don’t DIY

  1. I love knitting, cross stitching, etc, but when it comes to taking something cheap or junky and turning it into cool/funky/cute decor? It’s not happening. I just don’t have that gene.

    1. Ooh knitting. I had a knitting phase for awhile. I liked it because once I learned, it was kind of mindless and repetitive. Although I only ever knitted scarves. I’m sure you are much more advanced. :)

  2. I enjoy DIYing. I like the challenging and the idea of learning a new skill/trying something new. That said, I really weigh the value of a project before beginning it. It is not worth it unless I get something special out of it. A customization I couldn’t buy or saving money or a valuable new skill. I recently made a bulletin board for a specific space and styled it like an $80 Ballard Design board. I really looked around to make sure I couldn’t find something less expensive and it wasn’t even that time consuming of a project. I love Pinterest but don’t let it push me in a direction I don’t want to go. It seems like what you got out of this project is a lesson in what you’re not into. I say that’s time well spent :)

  3. I with you! It sounds good in theory, but like you said when it really comes down to it, the time and energy it takes to produce what you see (and do it right, mind you, I’m a perfectionist!) far outweighs the cost of just purchasing it already done to begin with. Some things I can handle without feeling stressed, but mostly I’m not a DIY-er, and I need to be okay with that.

  4. Oh, you just saved me from some pain … I was in “well I really should just try to DIY it” mode … thank you thank you! Glad I’m not alone!

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