The end of DIY
A little over 18 months ago I fell in love with a Victorian cottage with enough curb appeal to send Kirstie Allsopp into a hysterical meltdown. In hindsight, I think I was so smitten by the rows of flowers lining the path to the front door and the pretty sash windows, I obviously didn’t fully appreciate how truly godawful the interior décor was. Sure, I could see it was all a little dated but I was so swept up in the romanticism of this quirky little house, I convinced myself and my husband we needed ‘a project’. I mean, how hard could it be to update a house of woodchip, artex and lino…?
First on the list - redecorating the main bedroom. I imagined spending a glorious couple of days painting and decorating with my other half; the sun streaming through the windows, playfully dabbing a spot of paint on each other’s noses before collapsing into a heap of giggles in our Farrow and Ball haven. The reality was very different. It consisted of five sweaty, expletive-laden days attacking the woodchip, topped off by a ruddy great big Calke Green paint splodge right in the middle of the brand new £45-a-square-metre natural sisal carpet for which neither of us were willing to take responsibility, a blazing argument, a series of over-dramatic door-slams and a day-long silent standoff.
So we downed tools, admitted defeat and called in the experts but the result was a beautiful bedroom, finished in no time and not a divorce paper in sight.
Sadly it wasn’t just the painting and decorating that stumped us. It turns out another ‘quirk’ of the house was that every tap leaked. Taking charge, I Googled How to tackle a troublesome tap but it soon transpired I wasn’t as handy with a spanner as I’d hoped and, despite my best attempts, the taps kept leaking. Dripping incessantly. A constant reminder of my inability to Do It Myself.
I’ve since accepted the fact that I’m just not one of those practical, hands-on, fixer-upper types. And as it happens, I’m not alone. A new report has revealed more Brits are shunning DIY for ‘DFY’ – jobs Done For You. Take a look at this woefully long list of tasks we’d apparently rather pay someone else to do. A small price to pay to avoid a botched job or a domestic if you ask me.
Top 20 jobs we’re not doing ourselves
1. Car servicing
2. Cleaning windows
3. Cutting the family’s hair
4. Washing / valeting the car
5. Odd jobs such as putting up shelves
6. Putting up blinds / curtain poles
7. Mowing the lawn
8. Fixing broken household items
9. Cleaning the oven
10. Installing computers and printers
11. Setting up electrical items such as Sky or modems
12. Building flat pack furniture
13. The weekly food shop
14. Cleaning carpets
15. Fitting anything new around the house
16. Gardening, pruning plants / hedges / trees / weeding
17. Packing boxes when moving house
18. Jet washing the driveway / patio
19. Making / altering / repairing clothes
20. Clearing rubbish
Survey: McCarthy Stone
Words: Rebecca McCosh