it’s true, we’re hiring out a potential DIY

It’s funny, the original title of this post was “tackling one big project in a lot of small ways”.  That was when I started the draft of this post about the exterior repainting of our old house.  Before Joel and I decided we were going to hire it out which I told you about Tuesday.  But, for anyone getting ready to tackle your big project, you might find this helpful … or entertaining. This is what I originally wrote as I was getting started with the exterior.

I’m just going to tell you that the idea of repainting the entire exterior of our house kind of makes me want to curl up in a ball and take a nap.

I love a good DIY but just the thought alone of the amount of time I am preparing to spend on the a ladder, out in the sun scraping off chipping paint, sanding each slat smooth, caulking all of the gaps and cracks (which is beginning to look like under every row of siding), priming the bare wood spots, and then finally painting de-motivates me to no end.

I even listed a few good tips:

  1. follow the paint scraping tips I posted about when I was doing some serious paint scraping in an attempt to turn an old door into a coffee table
  2. work on it in small doses, it’s more a marathon than a sprint

I had already decided I would just do up to two hours of work on that project a day, that broke it down into manageable amounts of time to dread look forward to.

Then I wrote this:

It’s interesting to think about why it is we’re tackling this as a DIY.  To save money, for sure!  Although we could technically afford to hire someone to repaint our house exterior, I get really excited about the amount of money we are saving by doing it ourselves. <— Seriously, I wrote that sentence less than a week before we decided to hire it out.  

And, I know we can do it.  We’ve never done it before, so it’s not a project I can say we have experience with, but we are very familiar with all of the techniques. <— Still a very valid reason to choose to DIY something.

I then I continued to list out the steps of progress:

  1. power washing 
  2. scraping chipping paint – scraping up under each row of siding removed a lot of loose paint that would have complicated the caulking process, assume lead paint and wear the appropriate respirator
  3. sanding
  4. caulking
  5. priming
  6. painting

And then I said this … seriously, I was trying to figure out exactly why I was doing this work even though I was so not looking forward to it:

So, I would have to say another reason is to essentially check this project off of our master list of DIY projects tackled.  We don’t actually have such a physical list, its more of a proverbial list.  With things like:

  • install new HVAC ductwork in crawl space and attic … check
  • install a full house of replacement windows … check
  • add an entire room onto an existing house … check

These are projects we have worked on that I would probably choose to not tackle again. Soon to be accompanied by the “repaint entire house exterior”. <— When I re-read that I now wonder why I never thought to suggest to Joel that we hire it out and instead thought I really “should” just DIY it.

I finished up with the truth.  Sometimes, you just have to focus on the positive.  :)

So I’m working in little short periods of time 30 minutes – 2 hours.  Spreading it out.  Reminding myself how awesome it’s going to look when she’s all done. Taking comfort in the joyous feeling when I think about actually “being done”.

I hadn’t even remembered that I had started to write about the whole exterior repainting process .  But clearly I wasn’t looking forward to it and, at the same time, had convinced myself that I just needed to do it.  I found this a good lesson in sometimes taking a second to just listen to, well, myself.  What is it they say “eat the frog” or something.  The expression to tackle that which you are most dreading first thing to get it over with.

Maybe we would benefit from “listening to the frog” for a minute to make sure we’re not making ourselves tackle something that just doesn’t really need to be tackled by us right now.  We’re comfortable with the rest of the exterior painting taking place over time, as the painters have empty spots in their schedule and as we continue to work around each side of the house cleaning, clearing out clutter and doing a thorough wash.  And we’re excited to shift gears to something else that really feels like progress.

So here’s to tackling projects that invigorate and inspire us!!

And tell me, have you ever made a big DIY vs hire out decision?  How’d you finally decide what to do?  Have any nagging tasks that have been wearing on you lately?

This little realization reminds me of my approach to time management … focusing on how something makes you feel … and we’re remembering to spend time focusing on the front of the house before and after that we’ve already completed.


  1. says

    Congrats to you! You could potentially still be having this conversation one year from now if you don’t hire it out. I say you have pretty dang good decision making skills. Not having this hanging over your heads is a big deal. Lot’s of freedom to move on to much more exciting things!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Karen! The amount of relief I felt when Joel suggested we hire out was immeasurable. And I am having way too much fun shopping for all things master bathroom!!

  2. says

    Ha! We literally just went through the same back-and-forth about our deck. We’re totally hiring it out, and it will be done in 3-4 days. (As opposed to approximately 6 months, if we did it ourselves.) It’s hard to swallow paying someone all that money, but SO NICE to have it done and marked off the list!

  3. Larry Lewis says

    Karah, it’s okay for a DIY’er to hire jobs out. It’s not a question of whether you can do it – you know you can. But a quality job requires a lot of equipment that will be used for this single job. In the scheme of time vs. outlay vs. results, allowing a pro to do the big jobs is most often the better choice. Spend the time saved on other projects, or hit the beach with Joel and drink some wine.

  4. says

    Now hitting the beach and drinking some wine sounds like the best decision any body could make. Good for you gal, do you ever miss the island life? Maybe about now? How are you liking Florida? Sounds like you work an awful lot. Hope you’re getting to enjoy each other this weekend, taking in some beach time.
    Happy weekend.

    • says

      Happy weekend to you as well! I think we fall into the “work hard, play hard” camp. And we are loving Florida, well the Keys, specifically. It still has a lot of island life feel to it, and some modern conveniences we lived without for a few years so it’s almost the best of both worlds. :)

    • says

      Ugh. Thanks Anna! It is amazing how productive I have gotten other things since this decision. It was like the idea of it was paralyzing me.


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