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5 Ways to Save Big on Your Next Reno

I’m a DIYer. I like to “do it myself”. I’m pretty good at most DIY stuff, but I know my limits, too. DIY can provide some big-time renovation savings. Not knowing your limits can eliminate those renovation savings with a flick of a light-switch, or turn of the tap. But there are some easy, low-hanging fruit type of ways you can save on renovations that are within most people’s limits.

The past few weeks months I’ve been renovating a bathroom. When performing DIY stuff, I steer clear of most plumbing-related tasks. I can change a toilet and a faucet, but as soon a pipe needs to be moved I’ll suck it up and call a plumber – I’m okay with seeing a little ass-crack in exchange for proper work. Same with electrical (minus the ass-crack for some reason). I can add a fixture, swap out an old outlet with an updated one, but if there’s some rewiring and moving of large appliances, again I’m calling for backup.

But when it comes to other handy-work, this is where I (and you) can see some great renovation savings. So here are 5 simple things you can do to keep your next DIY project in the black…and with a little less crack.

1. “Oops” Paint

I’ll be honest, I’m terrible at picking paint colors. Not because I don’t have a good sense of style – I wear Chuck Taylor Converse. I suck at picking paint because I just suck at picking paint.

But for those of us who suck at picking paint, there are those who suck at MIXING paint.

If you want to save at least half price on a gallon, check out the “Oops” section of the paint department at the local big-box renovation store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Oops paints are paints that were mixed to the wrong customer specs – be it the customer didn’t like how it turned out, the customer left it in the store after mixing, or the employee sucks at mixing paint.

I’ve snagged a few cans of oops. If color isn’t the be-all end-all of your reno, then oops paints are the way to go.

2. Save more – Shop Restore!

Back in 1976, two monumental things happened. One: I was born. Two: Habitat for Humanity was founded. Coincidence. Completely. Habitat has since expanded it’s reach to the Home Reno sector. Big box stores, DIYers, Contractors, and even former hoarders can donate their stuff (new or used) to Habitat’s ReStore program.

It’s a great place to find things like doors, door hardware, hinges, plumbing stuff, electrical stuff, kitchen stuff…all kinds of stuff. And like the Oops Paint, if you’re not picky or have time on your side, ReStore is a gold mine for renovation savings.

3. Reno with Curb Appeal

Man I love garbage day. I’m such a curb-picker. Just two weeks ago I snagged a solid wood side table (we’re still using a cardboard box as a side table because, well, who cares). Anyway, I was giddy with excitement with my latest curb find. It was like I was one of those people you hear about that buys a $2 painting at a yard sale to find out it’s a Monet worth $2 million.

My excitement was short-lived. When I got it home I tried opening a drawer and it got stuck. Badly. So to my curb it went, where in the middle of the night someone else decided to give it another life…ah the circle of garbage life.

But the curb is where you can find some great…uh…finds. People throw out a lot of stuff. Need a toilet? Eventually someone’s gonna dump one on their curb…hehe…dump.

Okay, kind of gross…but curb finds are only limited by your creativity and imagination.

3. Skids

Yep. Skids. Those acid-washed jean-wearing mullet-donning rockers of the 80’s can help with all your reno needs for less than a cup of coffee a day. Skids come cheap because they’re all washed up. Their careers are over. And they need the money.

Kidding of course. I’m talking about the pallet type of skids. Skids are something you can find pretty much any day of the week, any week of the year, any year of the decade. Some are pretty beat up, some may contain chemicals, and some might be brand-spanking new. At any rate, skids can be used to create many things, from flooring, to tiny-home siding.

Need some skid ideas? Pinterest and YouTube are amazing places to find pretty much anything skid-related, music-wise or pallet-wise.

4. TLC

I went to someone’s house once after they had been painting. They had the crappiest brushes I’d ever seen – they were caked with paint. They used their brushes once and were done because they didn’t wash them. And they stab-painted. You can tell when someone doesn’t know how to paint when their brush turns into a mashed up mess. Wow, I’m getting worked up over someone else’s $hitty paint job.

If you wash your brushes and rollers, you can get a few extra uses out of them. Even one extra use is saving you money. This only works with latex/water-based paints though. Oil based paints toast your brushes instantly, so if you’ve used one for a latex job, wash it then use it for an oil based job later on. Oh, and if you’re on a septic system, well, sorry for your luck, you’ll have to toss those brushes and rollers or wash them outside with a hose.

Another way you can use some TLC is the ole “measure twice, cut once” rule. It’s true. Man it’s so true. If you’re a DIYer you have a story when you forgot this rule, or you adhered to the rule and STILL pooched your cut. Just take a few extra seconds to measure twice, and think about your measurement too – did you measure from the right end of that plank of laminate? You sure? Measuring and taking your time might be the difference between taking a box back or needing an extra one that is no longer available for sale (because you took my advice and got it at Habitat’s ReStore).

DIY renovations can be fun and often rewarding (sometimes that reward is beer). There’s nothing like transforming a lackluster room into a space of amazing serenity and comfort. And if you’re able to take advantage of these tips and find yourself rewarded with some renovation savings, spend that well-earned savings on a cool experience…or on a beer…possibly for me 🙂

Now go sell all your stuff and enjoy some DIY savings!


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