“To repair or not to repair, that is the question,” is what Shakespeare said, isn’t it?
But, really. There comes a point in having any sort of home (whether we rent or own), when we have to decide if it’s worth it to repair something or not. This can be especially hard in larger scale repairs, or when we lack the skills to accomplish the repair.
So, when determining whether or not something is worth repairing, consider the following:
Is this a repair that I can (and will) do myself?
If you really think about this question, it will save you a lot of clutter. For instance, think of the pile of junk that is waiting to be fixed, but you just never have time to fix… POOF. It’s gone. You will have been so honest with yourself that you will either have taken care of the repair or thrown away or passed the thing on.
Or, consider home projects with good intentions. The ones you start but never quite finish. There’s another headache -POOF- also gone. Because, we’re being honest with ourselves, and we really need to hire it out, or forgettaboutit, if you know what I mean.
Can I afford to hire it out?
Now. This question. THIS QUESTION. Say you can’t afford to hire someone to replace your sink, so you decide to do it yourself (because… Youtube!). Are you prepared to deal with it if anything goes wrong? Again, let’s just be honest for a minute… What happens if you, say, flood your house because you forgot to turn the water off? Do you have the know-how to take care of any hang-ups along the way (because there will always be hang-ups).
In some instances, where specialized skills are required, can you afford NOT to hire it out?
With that said, there really is youtube, and if you have a knowledgeable friend or family member (hi, Dad) who can guide you through things, you can do more than you think you can. (My accountant hubby and psychology major me have replaced lights, sinks, and have learned how to anchor stuff into our walls! If we can do it, you can too!)
How much money would I save if I were to do it myself?
I’m kind of old-fashioned at heart in some ways. I still mend my kid’s clothes and sometimes blankets. Why? Because if I can spend 5 minutes sewing a button on a dress, I have saved myself $10 (or more, depending on the price of the dress). Multiply that $10 and 5 minutes into an hour- that’s $120 an hour (and that’s for a cheap dress!).
Or, consider the pillow sham that I recently fixed for my daughter’s room. That pillow and quilt set cost about $75, so by spending 15 minutes fixing the rip, I saved myself from having yucky ripped-pillow bed, or from spending $75 on a new set. $75 for 15 minutes of time is $300 an hour, my friend. THAT IS NO CHUMP CHANGE!
So, when you’re analyzing how much money you’d save, realize that it may be more than you at first think. That money adds up. When you do what repairs you can, you have extra money to save for what you really want, or spend on repairs that you really can’t do on your own.
Will this repair help me develop a skill I will likely use again?
In the case of many repairs, skills are developed. The most important skills usually include resourcefulness and patience. When determining whether you should hire or DIY, consider if you could develop a skill that would serve you again.
My husband and I decided that we could use plumbing skills for, well, plumbing, so we embarked upon installing our own laundry room sink. It was my husband’s first time installing a sink on his own. He had some secondhand experience (training) replacing one of our sinks with my dad and then he went and did the upstairs laundry room sink himself. I will never forget the water spewing up at me while I screamed “TURN IT OFF!” to my husband who was controlling the water downstairs. Then, I flew downstairs and saw water streaming from my kitchen lights. YIKES! (It’s actually a little funny now, come to think of it!)
But, I am here to tell you that we figured it out, we sucked it up (the water, and our pride), we dried all the things, and we had a laundry sink with a total money investment of just a couple of hundred of bucks. AND, my husband came away with a new set of skills (and a few ideas of what not to do as well). I’m happy to say that he successfully (and dryly) was able to install our powder bathroom sink without a hitch. That skill will continue to serve us throughout our lives, I am sure!
Would I be willing to take the risk of this project to get the outcome I can’t otherwise afford right now?
We have done our fair share of major and minor repairs simply because we weren’t willing to pay through the nose to have something we could look up online done. Each time, I have come away having learned a few things and feeling tickled at the end result. There are countless projects that we’ve been able to afford simply because we were willing to learn a few things and make a few mistakes. Ultimately, many of these projects improved our home value (like adding sinks or doing our own landscaping), making the weekend (or week-long) projects well worth the investment with. That’s sweat equity for you! Or, in this case, SWEET equity. I promise, it’s a thing.
Given all of the things, I get how hard it can be to plan for repairs or upgrades. The Hum Making Planner was designed with you in mind – it breaks down all of the repairs across a year to go easy on your budget. Check it out here!
So, I invite you to be brave if you want, hire it out if you won’t, and reap the benefits of taking good care of your home and your stuff.