Developing a plan, setting expectations.

Part of completing all of these DIY projects that Sara and I fully intend to follow through with is figuring out which ones we can do first, which ones we can afford to do now, and mostly, which ones we have time for. This is no easy task, unfortunately. Sara and I have had to deal with the trauma that is a long close on a house, on top of it being our first house, so we have done a great job of spending the last 5 weeks dreaming of hundreds of ideas, projects and potential nightmares.

The good thing is that we have less than thirty days to go, which leaves us fewer than 4 weeks to really decide on what we can or cannot do. First, let’s discuss the resources:


Sara and I live on a tight budget and managed to stay out of credit card debt despite having a child on one income for over a year. With a second income we can really start to tackle our student debt and start to do the things that we’ve given up in favor of having a child and stay-at-home-mom scenario. We had some tight months, but we did really well living on one income, so I know we’ll be okay going forward. However, we do need to rebuild the disaster/medical funds – babies are spendy!


Sara and I will both be working full time and, in turn, will be spending the majority of our evenings playing, teaching, feeding and washing our child. By time baby L goes to bed, we’ll have a couple hours each night which could be spent doing some projects (some of the not-so-loud ones), or just relaxing together. However, our weekends – which no longer have to be spent on the road to see family (because we’ll be closer!) – will be much more efficient and can be easily filled with various projects. Also with our garage, working during the cold of winter shouldn’t be an issue as it’s setup as a year-round workshop.


Sara and I don’t know how to do many of these projects, so there’s a learning curve to many of these projects. However, we do have resources in the form of family, friends, blogs, and YouTube, which should get us through the majority of tasks that we have tools for. So some projects might be accelerated because certain help is available, or pushed back for the opposite reason. Time will tell.

So our resources are pretty well balanced and will allow for us to do many of the projects, but for various reasons, we can’t just do them all.

So what do we do first?

Tuesday’s post had over a dozen project ideas. Some of the projects are probably pretty easy and some projects are very labor intensive. Also, some of the projects we need to get done, and some of them could be argued that we don’t need at all (shhhh).

Sara and I close on the house on August 6th,  a Tuesday. We’ll both have the rest of the week off to do the following things:

  • Close on the house.
  • Clean the house.
  • Move in.
  • Find a second car.
  • Purchase various furniture items.
  • Purchase a lawn mower.
  • Purchase/obtain various tools and materials necessary for the most important project.

That project is…the kitchen table.

We’re going to build a kitchen table first and foremost. That is priority number one. It might not get done first as we may need a workbench and kegerator (ha!) to help us in the process of completing the table. But it’ll be one of the first things that has to get done. And get it done we will. It’s not likely it will be perfect, but based on some quick shopping, it appears that building this table will cost us between $250-400 depending on what kind of wood we buy and what, if any, tools we’ll need.

I priced out similar tables at various furniture stores. A table like this will cost us $1200-2500. So if we have to build this table, burn it down, build it again, burn it down, and build it right the third time, we’ll be even. I like our odds. This is part of the beauty of DIY: not only do you get the pleasure of building something yourself, but you also save money. Plus, Sara and I are both looking forward to taking on a few DIY projects because building things is a hobby that we can share forever. I still cannot wait!

About Jord

jord considers himself nerdy, mostly because he's a devoted gamer and freelance web designer. he works in computer technology and information services, but he'd be most proud to tell you that he recently built himself a computer, loves audio books, trying new beer and wine, grilling, and is so excited to have added "homeowner" to his list of titles.
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