DIY Calendar: January - Planning Your Home Improvements

This is the first in a new series of blog posts, helping to guide and inspire you to  undertake some home improvement projects throughout this year. Each month for the rest of 2013, we'll be letting you know what tasks you could be carrying out (both inside and outside of your home), depending on the time of year and of course the weather conditions!

Read on for January's post...

child with brush Spring Clean

January is traditionally the time when people go on a house-cleaning spree, throwing away old and unwanted possessions, taking down decorations, and giving their homes a thorough cleaning.  Sadly, for many people this enthusiasm for cleaning and decorating doesn't last long, and by February any new-year's resolutions are forgotten. This year, why not take your spring-clean to the next level and start the year the way you mean to go on by preparing yourself for a year of successful DIY.


January is a Month of Planning

Resist the temptation to try to start tackling all of your indoor jobs in January.  If you rush in to doing lots of jobs right away, there's a good chance you'll burn out and get sick of spending your weekends surrounded by screwdrivers and paintbrushes.  Instead of rushing to get jobs done in January, let yourself relax after the festive season, and ease into the year's projects by spending your time off doing some research.

Make a list of all of the jobs that you want to get done this year (include stuff like re-turfing the garden, or fixing the roof, even though those jobs will have to wait until the warmer months).  Try to find out which jobs you can tackle yourself, and which you will need to pay a professional to do for you.

writing in a notepad Make a List

Using this list, put together an annual budget for your DIY projects, and work out how much you'll need to set aside each month to afford all of the jobs you'll be doing throughout the year.  If it helps you to divide your finances strictly, you may want to consider opening a second bank account or instant access savings account online so that your DIY funds aren't sitting there in your main bank account, easy to access for impulse spending.

If any of the jobs on your to-do list require planning permission, call your local authority and find out how long the application process takes.  Make sure that you start the application process early to ensure that you have a nice time buffer to work with in case there are delays or problems with your paperwork.

Practical Shopping in the Sales

painting tools Tools of the Trade

The January sales can be a great time to pick up cheap tools and consumables.  While everyone else is rushing to the clothes, gifts and electronics aisles, take this opportunity to head on over to the DIY section.  You may find cheap gardening tools, paint brushes, rollers, trays, and other handy items.

That sort of shopping might not be as exciting as shopping for a new TV in the sales, but you could save a fortune.  You can always pick up some shiny new electronics later in the year, when new models have been released and you've finished your renovation work.

We’re running a January sale too – visit our sale page here.

Spring Cleaning

Your DIY projects will go much more smoothly if you have time to work.  It's a good idea to try to find some time for de-cluttering and spring-cleaning.  If you have a lot of clutter to sort through, consider trying the Fly Lady approach - break down the cleaning into lots of small tasks, doing a few minutes each day rather than trying to clean an entire room in one go.  Once you have tackled a room, make a point of trying to keep it uncluttered.  It's easier to tidy up after yourself each evening than it is to clean up a week's worth of mess in one go.

Photo: Sean Freese, Dr Stephen Dann, Keith Williamson

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