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How to get your partner on board with a DIY project

DIY is not for everyone, and it is especially not for every couple.

Even though I’m partnered with a man that loves taking on a project, we have our fair share of work to do to get each other on board before we tackle any project. 

If this is your first project together, start small.

Paint a single room, assemble flat-pack furniture, or hang a gallery wall. Doing a small project like this is a great starting point to show how rewarding and fun DIY can be. Starting with something relatively low risk (i.e. not expensive, especially difficult, time consuming, or invasive of your space) and celebrating the outcome will help shape these DIY projects as a fun and positive experience. 

Make sure you’re both on the same page.

Presenting a clear plan is key to getting my partner on board with projects. I always start by verbalizing the idea, and then presenting a sketch or even a 3D rendering for more complicated projects. 

Sometimes my husband is on board right away without seeing a sketch, and sometimes it takes me creating detailed plans including cost of materials, a collection of YouTube tutorials and blogs written about similar projects, and an estimated timeline before he’s on board. It seems like a lot, but knowing more about what we are getting into helps the project get started and keeps in on track. Being on the same page about expectations will be helpful in the long run. 

During the planning phase, it’s important to ask for your partner’s input. You’ll both have to live with the outcome of the project and your partner will have more stakes in the project if they feel like their opinion was respected and taken seriously. 

If your partner dislikes doing projects, maybe add a division of labor. Even if you end up having to do all of the work by yourself, it’s helpful to know what the timeline and commitment is so they know how long they will be living in a disrupted project zone. 

Make a budget and stick to it.

Money is a big reason to not want to do a project, and it helps to also know what you’re getting yourself into here. Figure out all of the supplies you need and add a little extra just in case. Having a little bit of cushion to fix mistakes you make along the way will decrease the stress around doing a project yourself — especially if it’s something you’ve never tried before. 

Another age old tip for getting your partner on board with DIY is to quote the pros. If saving money is a priority, you can save A LOT by doing the labor yourself. 

And my best advice? Don’t be a dick.

Really. This is marriage advice that goes far beyond doing projects together. Don’t micromanage your partners’ work. Make sure they know how appreciative you are for their willingness to help. Give them grace when mistakes are made. Return the favor by being enthusiastic about the things they want to do with you. It’s always going to be a little bit of compromise, but at very least don’t be a dick.

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