True confession: Repeatedly for months, I was opening my back door to the deck outside and looking at the metal weather-stripping that was sticking out, thinking, "Huh, someone should really fix that." And nobody ever did, until we had a party recently. When I saw the ugly door facing through my future guests' eyes, it became clear that now was the time! I grabbed a hammer and some small nails, and within three minutes, it was as good as new.
The resulting feeling was one of great satisfaction, but also of chagrin and puzzlement. If it was so simple, why didn't that get fixed for so long?
There are four main reasons that your home improvement is not improving:
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- It's not bad enough. If you can live with it, you probably will, until it becomes bad enough to take action. Can you make it feel worse? One way to magnify everything is to have a party at your house! You can also figure out how to make it worse artificially. For example, we had a broken hinge in the kitchen that was making a cabinet door hang crooked. I made it compelling to fix by removing the door entirely, exposing the contents of the cabinet and making an ugly "missing tooth" problem that begged to be corrected. (This also enabled us to remove the hinge and take it to the hardware store to match a replacement.)
- Lack of ownership. My husband and I both use that back door daily, and we probably each thought the other was going to do something about it. When nobody owns the tasks, they languish. Do you have a "Honey-Do" list that never gets done by your very capable spouse? Sometimes making an appointment with a handyperson to fix everything for pay is very motivating to spur the person into action! And sometimes nobody is even talking about it, and a simple conversation can assign ownership and get the ball rolling. You can also decide that you will own the problem right now and just do it! Try reading "4 Household Repairs Anyone Can Do."
- One step away. I once wrote a blog post called "I Can Do That... with One Phone Call!" So often the answer to many of our problems is just one phone call away. The key is taking a moment to consciously consider the broken item and think "What is the next step?" That next step might be a phone call for an appointment or information, or it might be figuring out who to call in the first place. It also might be the realization that all you need is a hammer and nail. Figure out that one next baby step and take action. Here are some Home Repairs You Can Make in Minutes from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.
It costs too much. If financial reasons are delaying your project, you may want to investigate whether your city or county offers assistance with certain types of repairs. I know someone who got most of an air conditioning unit paid for this way, and there are many rebate programs for buying energy efficient appliances and fixtures that may cover a lot of the cost. You could also offer to barter with someone who is handy, maybe cooking for them, offering child care, or doing their taxes.
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Regardless of the person doing the fixing, keep up your awareness of the tasks by maintaining a written handyperson list. If you hire someone to help, you won't forget what to assign them when they arrive. You can use services like Yelp and Angie's List to read reviews on contractors in your area and make a wiser choice.
-By Lorie Marrero
What home repairs will you get done today? Share in the comments!