“Do-it-yourself is an ethic that is practiced by many different people. It is an attitude of self-empowerment and openness to learning. Do-it-yourselfers include folks who garden, cook “from scratch,” make clothes and handcrafts, build and fix things, and practice healing arts, to give just a few examples.
Anarchist punk culture uses do-it-yourself, or d.i.y. as a slogan to live by. Publishing a “zine,” being in a band, dumpster diving perfectly good food, squatting, activism, and skill-share events are all manifestations of the d.i.y. attitude.” ~Sandor Ellix Katz in Wild Fermentation
Ok, there are many things I leave to professionals. Like car repairs, the big ones at least. If I screw up a dress I’m sewing for myself, I don’t have to walk around naked because I have more clothes. But I don’t really trust myself with machines, and I have one car, and I happen to be super dependent on it.
That being said, I’ve always really enjoyed doing things for myself. As a kid I preferred being creative instead of playing sports. In high school I was into punk rock which was a great outlet for some of my DIY skills. I mean, I had all those band patches to sew onto my second-hand messenger bag. Plus all those great thrift store finds to alter.
As an adult I relearned to knit, and was given a really nice sewing machine as a gift. I also taught myself how to cook, bake, crochet, spin wool, garden, etc. I don’t mind learning all of this stuff because I really love learning new things, and I’m also stubborn enough to want to be able to do these things.
It’s a really good feeling to know that when you run out of something, you can just remake it at home and don’t have to make that extra trip to the store. Or, if you are a shorty like myself, that you can save yourself lots of money hemming your own pants instead of paying someone to do it.
Plus, there’s a great satisfaction in giving a homemade gift or sitting in a room decorated with your own sewn curtains. Or when you are out on the town and someone compliments your hat and you say, “Oh, I made it!” It feels good, it really does.
Also, most of the time you can save serious money by doing something yourself. Sure, some things require purchasing basic supplies, but most of the time they are things you can reuse. Unless you have an addiction to really great quality, homespun yarn…then your wallet might cry a little, like mine does.
I am lucky enough to be married to someone who loves machines and isn’t freaked out by them. It’s also helpful he likes carpentry and challenging cooking projects. We make a good team, and I always try to be mindful of this good balance.
So, there you have it….plenty of reasons to become a do-it-yourselfer. Like anything else, just start small, laugh at your mistakes (there will be plenty), and celebrate your successes.