There are a number of reasons why you might choose to take on a DIY project. You may decide to do something yourself because you think it will be an easy project, or because you enjoy working with your hands. You might even consider doing a DIY project because you think it would save you a lot of money over hiring a professional to do the same thing. Regardless of your reasoning, there’s one thing about DIY that a lot of project guides and instruction sets leave out: what to do with everything that’s left over once you’re done with the project.
DIY waste can be a real concern, since depending on the project there might be a lot of waste produced. Given the nature of the materials involved with most DIY projects, you shouldn’t just throw away everything that you didn’t use in your project. Here are some things to think about regarding how you can reduce the amount of waste that your DIY projects produce and what you can do with those waste materials that are produced. By changing the way that you think about DIY waste, you can change the way that you approach projects, and maybe even save some money in the process.
Planning Away Waste
One of the first things you should do when trying to reduce your DIY waste is to stop for a moment and rethink your measurements and calculations. If the project involves wood or other materials that are cut from a larger piece, make sure that your cuts are efficient and made to preserve as much of the surrounding material as possible. If you’re going to need single-use items that come in a lot of packaging, consider whether you’ll have use for similar things in the future, and if so, buy a multi-pack if available so that you’ll have one on hand without even more packaging waste. If you’re going to paint or stain the project, select colors that you’ll likely be able to reuse for future projects. You can probably see where this is going.
Basically, spend a little bit more time during the planning phase of your DIY project to make sure that you aren’t creating excess waste that could otherwise be avoided. Ideally, you’ll end up with larger pieces of scrap that can be saved for the future, as well as other materials that either you or someone else might have a use for. Even if you only manage to reduce your project waste by a little, every little bit helps, and those waste reductions can really add up if you end up doing a lot of DIY.
Reusing Waste Materials
When it comes to reusing scrap material from past DIY projects, you aren’t always going to get a perfect match to what your current project calls for. Sometimes you’ll have different types of wood on hand, or a color of stain that doesn’t quite match what you’d planned on. That’s okay; if what you have is a good substitution, then you can use it and save some money on your materials. If it’s not, don’t try to force a match and end up creating a substandard result. Just save your scrap and excess materials for a future project, because if you’re active in DIY, then there’s always going to be another project.
One thing that’s important to remember is that you should keep your scrap and waste material well organized. That might even be a DIY project of its own. Create an organization solution to hold scrap wood, piping, paints, and other materials that you kept out of the waste bin, so that you can always find what you’re looking for.
There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from doing something on your own as a DIY project. Not every project is ideally suited for DIY, though. If you don’t have the time or experience to tackle a project correctly, keep in mind that there’s no shame in calling in some help to get it done.