Six reasons to do it yourself, even if you don't think you're creative. Empowering yourself with DIY skills sets you up for living life to its fullest.
When your job is online and involves a website, you have a lot of conversations with people that go something like this:
"Hi, nice to meet you. What do you do for a living?"
"I have a website where I teach and encourage women to do things themselves, whether it's cooking from scratch, growing a garden, or making their home feel like them."
Blank stare. Or, "you can make money from that?" (to which I always say, thanks to my wonderful readers who visit my site, see the ads and click on my affiliate links so I can keep bringing them value, yes!)
Having a website as your job is really confusing to many people. And my standard response barely scratches the surface of all that I hope to convey on AOC.
I started off in 2009 writing about all the things I was interested in - the things that I didn't grow up knowing how to do, but brought me so much joy and sense of pride. Those included making foods I thought you could only buy, growing food without being a slave to a garden, and doing simple home projects. I also threw in near-to-my heart things like menu planning, family traditions, and as life went on, healthy eating and weight loss.
Over the years I have often felt like I should focus on one (or maybe two) areas only. Many successful bloggers have narrowed their focus and done really well. It's easier to write when all your focus is one thing.
But I've always resisted, mainly because these areas are not separate in my life - and I'm assuming they're not in yours, either. While I know we may not want to do all the same things, the overriding concept that pulls these areas together is:
DO IT YOURSELF
It's ALL DIY. I'm kind of sad that over the last few years DIY has come to mean mainly decorating, building and remodeling, because to me DIY has always been a lifestyle. When I realized I could make ketchup at home - and be totally in control of the ingredients - or feed my family produce I started from seed, or turn a dresser into a vanity, I felt empowered and confident. I am not at the whim of marketers, or how much money I make, or tied to standard choices.
While a lot of DIY articles and blogs have emphasized the creative side of do it yourself, for me that's secondary since I don't see things in my mind and then need to create it, like many creative-minded people might. For me a DIY lifestyle primarily makes me proud and feel good about myself when I see something I know I can make, make it, and then bless others with it, whether it's a homemade gift or a recipe.
So Why DIY?
Living a simpler, back-to-basics life helps us get off the crazy-train of modern living that's been proven to shorten lives and make us less joyful. When we approach life with an "I can do that" mindset, in addition to taking pride in a completed project and blessing others we are also:
- Making do with what we have and saving money when we make a menu plan to use up what's in the pantry.
- Helping the environment when we upcycle a second hand purchase into something new and useful.
- Adding to the beauty of our family's home and yard without going into debt.
- Taking care of our bodies and our family's by growing and cooking with real foods.
A do-it-yourself lifestyle includes LOTS of different areas, just like real life - and An Oregon Cottage. However - and this is a big thing I want you all to know - your DIY life doesn't have to include ALL of them.
Sometimes we may buy items instead of making them because of time constraints or difficulty finding ingredients. But KNOWING we could make them if we want - that in itself is empowering. If a catastrophe happened tomorrow, we'd be able to figure out how to cook and feed the people we love because the basic knowledge is there. We could grow food. We could make use of what's available. That's all empowering.
Personally, I don't feel like I need to go off the grid or rely solely on what I can do - but in the back of my mind, there's a comfort in know I COULD do more if I needed to.
That's what DIY means to me: pride and enjoyment of a simple, well-rounded life well lived to the best of my abilities, creating beauty and joy for others.
Right now for you, your DIY life may look like growing some lettuce and carrots in a few large containers on your back patio, making a batch of jam with farmer's market berries, committing to cook dinner 5 nights a week, or creating a new mantel for the season. Or it may be creating a floor out of paper or learning how to garden without tilling. Or something I don't cover here on AOC!
If this echoes your thoughts, too, and you're starting down the road to a DIY lifestyle or you'd like to learn more about different aspects of doing things yourself (to find out if you'd like to keep bees or making soap, for example) then I think you'll LOVE a new venture some online friends of mine have started called Roosty. It's a new membership site dedicated to all things DIY, sustainability and homesteading.
I'm proud to be affiliated with Rootsy - and to have two of my eBooks members can download and read as part of the April offerings around the theme of upcycling, 21 Inspiring Thrift Store Transformations and 20 More Inspiring Thrift Store Transformations. Every month there will be a new theme - May will focus on Emergency Preparedness, June on Herbal Remedies for Colds and Flu, July on Fall Gardening. You'll find resources like eBooks, videos, eCourses and more, all gathered for you from some of the top experts in their fields for a low membership fee.
Click here to check it out and see if it's something that would help you along a do it yourself lifestyle - however that may look for you!
And I'd love to know - why do YOU DIY?