Usually when I think of DIY, I think of crafting. We don’t do huge home renovations or make furniture from scratch around here. Most of what I do myself is small craft and organizing projects around the home. Last weekend, we must have been in the mood for a little more robust DIY at our house–or the impending cold snap spurred us on, but we did tackle a few projects around the house that we had been putting off and that we intended to DIY. For each one of these projects, I did consider hiring someone to do it for us, but they appeared to be fairly simple in nature (or at least that’s what I was told) and we would definitely save money by doing it ourselves.
1) Fix winter coat. This one really was fairly minor and something I really thought I could DIY by myself. My winter coat has snap buttons on it and the top two buttons broke. One side totally fell off and the other got smooshed (technical term) enough on the inside that the snap would no longer snap. The time I would need to go buy supplies and then fix the coat let me to seriously consider just buying a new coat, but I really liked this one and it really was just two snaps. I also considered going to a seamstress to have them done, but that would probably be a little pricey. But, I also knew that in the long run it probably made more sense for me to just make the time to do the repair myself. So instead, I headed to a chain fabric store and relied on the expertise of the fabric counter employee to know way more than I did on how to go about replacing my snaps. She showed me the wall’o’fastners, recommended the heavy duty snaps, and helped me find ones that matched fairly well with the ones on my coat, though not exactly. She also showed me the “tools” I would need to purchase to attach them to my coat.
I honestly wish I had taken pictures of this process, but I did it after we did project #2 listed below (and once you read about it, you will understand why I just didn’t have it in me). The person at the fabric store warned me that the hardest part of this whole process would be getting the original snaps off–because if you tear the fabric–game over. I grabbed a pair of needle nose like jewelry pliers and set to work. It wasn’t as hard as advertised, but the smaller side of one snap set was a total booger and ended up coming through the hole after being smashed instead of actually separating into two pieces. Thankfully, the fabric wasn’t damaged. The actual hardest part was figuring out the directions–of which there was one small picture on the back of the tool kit. The trouble is there are 4 pieces to the snap set–two for each side which look remarkably similar to each other. The picture doesn’t give you very detailed instructions on which goes with which side or even how to insert the items into the little tool! Youtube even failed me! The video I watched didn’t give a close up enough shot of the pieces for me to tell them apart. I finally found something remotely helpful on a random website and attempted to attach the parts. Before I realized I had one of the items flipped upside down, I ruined about 2 sets of snaps.
This above picture of the parts would have been incredibly helpful when I was wrestling with the coat, but of course I just find it now. Hopefully, this will benefit someone else. Note, the cap also has a post on the other side. This post goes through the fabric. Then, you place the socket onto the post so the fabric is in between and the socket looks more like a bowl (as pictured) Then, you use the tool to smoosh down the post to hold the socket in place. I did the same thing with the stud on the other side as I wanted the cap look on the outside portion of both sides of the coat. One tip here, use the tool on a solid surface like concrete as you have to hammer on them and you wouldn’t want to mark up a table or counter.
2) Replace pulleys and belt in dryer. Our dryer was making a horrible squeaking noise when it was running, and the guy at the appliance repair store said it sounded like our belts and pulleys needed replacing. Since our dryer still functioned ok otherwise, we didn’t see the need to actually replace the entire dryer. So, I grabbed a bag of the parts and brought them home–in July. We finally got around to getting them installed (because life is just life sometimes) last weekend. The appliance repair store guy assured me we could do it on our own just by simply watching a YouTube video–we just needed to search for belt replacement for our type of dryer. Who knew they had so many home appliance repair videos! I tackled this DIY with the hubby, and I am so glad I did. There is no way I could have done this one on my own.
Here’s a few things I learned. First, it was definitely less expensive for us to replace the parts ourselves than to have a service call or to buy a new machine. Second, if you are going to watch a YouTube video on how to do something, you may want to watch some of it before you begin. Third, if your dryer is older (ours is about 12 years old), then chances are it needs cleaned in a big way. We basically had to take the thing apart to get the new parts installed, and we were AMAZED by all of the lint that was lurking everywhere in the dryer and loose change under the drum (no lost socks surprisingly). We vacuumed and cleaned everything out and even removed the back panel and the dryer lint chute to clean things up. I am so thankful we did this, because it was a definite hazard. We are hoping that the new parts and thorough cleaning will equal better dry times and more efficiency. We already have lost the squeaky noise! Note: This process took us a few hours, because we had to take several areas apart a few times as we found even more places that needed vacuumed or in one instance a screw fell down and under a part we had already reattached.
The appliance repair store is the same one that helped us when I replaced the fabric softener cup in our washing machine.
3) Prior to and right after fixing the dryer, I cleaned the carpets in our two main living areas (one room before and one after). My mom gave us her carpet cleaner when she moved to an apartment, and we use it quite regularly. About every six months, I break out the machine and clean the main living areas of our home. As a young couple without children, when we built our house, we selected light grey carpet. I’m not sure if I would make the same choice today, but doing regular cleanings certainly helps maintain the light color. In between, we spot clean with Woolite carpet spray. The whole process takes about an hour to complete, and my right arm is a little sore afterwards, because the machine is heavy, but I can always see a noticeable difference right away, especially in the heavy traffic areas.
If you add up the cost of a new dryer or a service call, carpet cleaning for two main floor areas, and the cost of a new coat, in one day we saved several hundred dollars with a few hours of time and a little DIY elbow grease. What have you chosen to DIY instead of buy or hire a service for?