How to Be an Imperfect DIY’er

How to be an Imperfect DIYer by The Decor Guru slinky Contrary to popular opinion, I am not perfect. (Shocking, right?) I'm definitely a perfectionist, though. You may recall one of my past posts, When the Mystery Smell is Your DIY Project. The failed project that inspired that post taught me a lot... and yet, after another recent DIY fail, I found myself frustrated. So, I resolved to turn around that negativity. During the process, I learned a few things about how imperfection can be a wonderful tool. Read along for my tips on how to embrace imperfection and how it can be beneficial.

Know that the feeling of perfection can be fleeting. For instance, I enjoy decorating each living area of my home and sharing it with everyone. But this year, I decided not to decorate my outdoor space with the gusto I usually have. Why? Even if I created my fantasy patio space with every piece of furniture, plant, and accessory perfect—it wouldn’t last. First, the seasons would make the perfect patio a temporary pleasure. Second, the elation I’d feel would also be short-lived. I’d either soon get bored with it or get so used to it, it wouldn’t feel perfect anymore.

Once we achieve that “perfect” feeling, then what? We’ll probably enjoy it for a bit, but as time passes, we may forget about it or even determine a new way to achieve perfection. Thus, perfection is an illusion.

Embrace the imperfections. If the mistake is not one that renders your project unsafe, doesn’t harm the structure, or doesn’t make it unusable—then learn how to be OK with those imperfections. After all, those flaws make your project one of a kind!

Make lemonade. Sometimes it takes a DIY mistake to allow a better project to come forth. Consider how the Slinky came to be. Richard James, a naval engineer, was trying to create a spring to help transport fragile instruments on ships. When he accidentally dropped the spring, it performed its now trademark “walk” across stacks of books, the table and then the floor. He saw the potential in his accident for the spring to be a toy, marketed it, and the rest is history.

Even if your project or mistake ends up not meant to be, you still received an important lesson through the process. Consider it a gift.

If life was easy and never challenging, we wouldn’t learn. Life is meant to be lived and the brain is meant to be worked! Studies show that mental exercise and activities that step outside your comfort zone can create new neural pathways in your brain. So when that DIY project ends up being a bust or taking way too long to finish, consider it a workout for your brain.

How do you work through DIY mistakes and failures? Are you also a perfectionist? What are your tips for embracing the imperfect?

Thanks for visiting! Let’s stay connected!

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14 Comments on How to Be an Imperfect DIY’er

  1. Happily I have never been afflicted with a need for perfection! Good enough is always ok for me. I love slight imperfections in things that are made by hand too as it gives things a unique touch. Actually one of my pet hates is when you see obviously mass manufactured things in shops that have been artificially distressed or made imperfect to fake the handmade look. When you see them on the shelf in a row with their identical imperfections I feel someone somewhere has missed the point!
    My nan, one of my biggest craft inspirations, was a terrible imperfectionist – she had no time for worrying about little mistakes so I like to channel her “no one will even notice” mentality!

  2. meaganbrockway // 07/07/2014 at 7:01 AM // Reply

    This is why I leave the beer fridge stocked in my workshop – DIY’ing is NEVER perfect. Great tips!

  3. Those are great reminders. Over the years I have had many DIY failures that later led to successes. Even the ones that stay failures are often learning experiences.

  4. Crystelle Boutique // 07/08/2014 at 1:25 AM // Reply

    You have no idea how much lemonade I have had to make over the years!! hahaha! Thanks for giving me hope!!! Hope your Fourth was fantastic…. 🙂
    XoX, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  5. One of the motto of Sweetwater Style is to not wait for perfect! This has served me well along with the motto of “just do it”! Thanks for reminding me that the imperfections are not “failures” but surprises. What could be more boring than the “perfect” room that never changes!

  6. Carrie From Carrie This Home // 07/10/2014 at 6:15 PM // Reply

    If a DIY project doesn’t turn out the way I expect, that can sometimes bring out the worst in me! Nice to see that I’m not the only imperfect DIYer!

  7. Just wanted to let you know that this post will be featured at The Pin Junkie Pin Party this Thursday!

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