Raise your hand if this is your kind of headline: “How to Repair Those Nasty Cracks in Your Driveway, Fast & Cheap.”
According to the market research folks at Technavio, millions of Do-It-Yourself consumers go online each day to find practical how-to advice just like that. So many, in fact, that the DIY industry is forecasting sales north of $14 billion in 2021.
Given the enormity of the market and the fact that everybody seems to be dipping in to one degree or another, it makes sense to ask why DIY is becoming so popular.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that the best answer is probably, “Well, duh, to save money.” Of course, conventional wisdom also says you should pick answer (D) for any multiple-choice question you don’t understand. (Speaking for myself, that didn’t work out so well in high school chemistry.)
In fact, saving money is near the bottom of the list of reasons people say they want to tackle home improvement chores on their own.
Studies say that the more tech-oriented our world becomes, and the farther away we grow from doing any kind of daily physical labor, the more our ancient, pre-programmed biological imperatives raise their heads in search of a kind of inner satisfaction that only comes from doing “stuff” – such as designing, building, fixing and improving.
When a DIYer steps back to admire her first completed project, she will experience a sense of reward and personal accomplishment that can only come about when confidence, creativity and disciplined practice are manifested through physical action. (“Wait, did you just say that you replaced the kitchen faucet and P-trap by yourself?” “Why, yes, I did. Would you like another mimosa?”)
Then, of course, there is the fact that – unlike our Neanderthal ancestor who was the first on his block to paint the walls of his cave only to have his work hidden from public view for 40,000 years – we can share our creations on YouTube, Pinterest, or a hundred other online venues.
Communities gather around interests, and interests blossom into tens of thousands of variations on what were once plain vanilla products. For example, have you checked out how many styles of backyard chicken coops you can find online? (Hint: it’s over 25,000.)
DIY is here to stay, in large part because we humans are at our best when we are imagining, making or fixing things. DIY brings family and friends together, it helps build real and virtual communities, and, OK, yes, sometimes it can help you to save a little money.
Robbie Benjamin specializes in tile, wood and carpet floors at Rick Bent Flooring on Hilton Head Island. rickbentflooring.com