Things I have learnt so far…

I have not been ‘at this’ for very long and I know that at the moment you may have seen very little DIY but believe me we are working hard just to have a place in which we can carry out DIY at the moment! And all the while I have learnt a few things that I would like to pass on and see if you agree with…

Spend money on good paint brushes, the ones from the shop where everything costs one hundred pence lose their bristles and leave a pattern of them in your paint…rubbish!

Don’t spend a lot of money on buckets, cleaning equipment and sponges. If your house is truly a 2ndhandhouse then you will ruin every single piece of DIY/ cleaning equipment within the first month of hard graft. Save your pennies for that Cath Kidston dust pan and brush set for next year when all you’ll need to sweep up are the odd crumbs from one of your numerous and famous dinner soirees that you hold at your beautiful new abode.

Save all your tubs from the margarine, tomatoes and meat to be washed out. Used to stand empty paint brushes in, store old nails that you don’t want to throw away just in case and keeping all your screwdrivers together,  you can never have enough of these!

Do spend money on white paint, buying the cheaper stuff is a false economy as you’ll have to do more coats which, while probably costing you the same in the long run, will eat into your time and put a strain on your back, neck, arms, social life.

Things take longer than you imagine they will. Always. Without question.

Make sure that you have EVERYTHING that you need for the job you are about to start before you start. Just because it’s upsetting to start a job and then have to run to the nearest DIY shop before you can finish!

Prioritise your money. There is so much to do in 2ndhandhouse that whenever I go to the DIY store I find myself buying all sorts of bits and pieces that, if I really think about it, I won’t get round to using for months. It’s a waste of the money that I could be using for the project that I am on now.

Get to know some local tradesmen. There are things that you will not know how to do, no matter how much you Google them. Tradesmen are knowledgeable, experienced and often are really creative. They tend to have great ideas for room lay outs and materials that you never thought about using. Local tradesmen that you find through friends are also a lot better than finding random people on the internet who will often be working under a brand name, charging you extra for that brand and fancy website. Local tradesmen, recommended by friends, are also great because their work is often showcased in your friends homes.

Remember that you can take stuff back. If you bought the wrong type of glue for the job, the tool you bought doesn’t actually do what you thought it did or the fitting you bought is the wrong size for it’s intended setting then, take it back. Buying and renovating a house is expensive enough without having excess materials that you aren’t going to use lying around. As long as they fulfil the requirements for return then go for gold! The place that we bought our tiles from operate a policy where you have to buy a pack of a certain size (in our case it was 30) but you can bring back the rest for a refund. In our case we only used just under half so we can get a refund on the other half. Obviously, you can’t take a half used pot of paint back ( you wouldn’t take a half-eaten chocolate bar back to the supermarket would you?) but if you are clever and don’t damage the packaging a rash purchase can be reversed. This doesn’t of course, mean that you don’t have to go back to the DIY store, which you do if you want the refund and this may add to the feeling that it has become your second home!

There’s probably many, many more. So let me know yours! What gems of knowledge can you impart to me? Is there anything you gree with/ don’t agree with? Like to share any funny stories of how you found them out? Let me know!


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