Apparently DIY stores are in trouble – their sales have been going down for a year now. It seems that more and more people are getting tradesmen in to do their home improvement rather than doing it themselves. Done For You is now replacing DIY, so much so, that even the large home improvement stores have started to offer installation and handyman services.
The reason for this appears to be that we are living in a cash-rich/time-poor era when we no longer want to sacrifice our weekends on DIY projects. Home developing TV programmes have shown us that bad DIY projects can actually devalue our homes. Then there are the safety issues – how many of us have not damaged ourselves one way or the other whilst doing DIY? Also, many DIY jobs such as electrical & gas work must be carried out by certified workmen, so that doesn’t leave much to do for the DIYer, however keen and experienced.
On the other hand, we read about the revival of arts & crafts as a reaction against mass production. According to this theory, more and more of us prefer making our own soft-furnishings, ornaments, display items and even furniture. Isn’t this DIY?
It seems to me that DIY is not a dying pursuit – it’s just shifted from the traditional plumbing, electrical and joinery jobs to the more creative & decorative projects such as painting, soft-furnishing, wood working etc.
The decline of sales at the home improvement stores can be explained by the fact that more and more High Street stores, supermarkets, fashion houses and special internet shops now compete with the traditional home improvement stores. Also, the quality of materials and finishes is better & more hardwearing than before – which means that we don’t have to redecorate or amend things for years. We are more and more aware of Green issues and our impacts on our environment, so we’ve become less likely to redecorate just for the sake of it. These days we are more likely to recycle and redecorate existing items – this not only makes us feel better & greener, but we can create customised objects that no one else would have.
So, we at DIY Together don’t believe that it’s the end of DIY – it’s just taking a different direction. DIY still gives the great satisfaction of having created something ourselves. As to DFY, I’d like to find any decent workman who would finish a project to the same high standard as I do. In my experience, devoted DIYers (not the inexperienced ones) do their home improvement projects with much more care and consideration than any tradesman I’ve come across. But, if any of you know of a good, reliable tradesperson – do let us know. I wonder how many actually exist???