Throw a do-it-yourself party? Here’s one way it could work

BejanepartyAs I was browsing the Be Jane site — where Los Angeles handywomen Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin encourage their sisters to take on home improvement projects — I came across an essay called “Throw a Do-It-Yourself Party!” that suggests you ask friends to come over and help you paint or install shelves or do whatever home improvement task needs doing.

I mulled that idea around. My friends are busy with kids and jobs and pets and the need for rest. Why would they want to fix up my house? I don’t really want to feel beholden to anyone, or make them think I’m using them for my own glory.

Then, I came across an “extreme roofing” posting on the excellent Constant Craftsman blog (you know, the blog that puts “man” back in “crafts”) and the author mentioned how he learned all about roofing and the mistakes you can make by helping his neighbor do a roof. Here’s how he put it:

So if your friend asks if you can give him a hand with repairing the roof of his tattered garage, you say, “Sure, man.” Even though you’ve never messed with roofing in your life. Yes, you’re doing your buddy a favor by helping out and it’s the nice thing to do (especially when you’ve been borrowing his miter saw for over 6 months), but in the end it’s pretty much self-serving. After all, you come away with valuable knowledge, skills, and a ham sandwich – all of which you didn’t have before.

So if I could have a party where my friends could learn a cool skill — like faux painting or furniture staining or making a pond — well maybe it would be worth their while. Unlike the Constant Craftsman’s gig, my friends won’t be getting a ham sandwich out of the deal. But the soy burgers and Arizona green tea will be on me!

How about you? Do your friends come over and help you fix up your home? Do you pay them? Do you feel beholden? Am I just anti-social to balk at this?

(Photo: Be Jane)

3 Comments on Throw a do-it-yourself party? Here’s one way it could work

  1. Kathy Price-Robinson

    Speaking of strawbale, Fritter, I’d like to look into building a strawbale house for myself. Can you recommend a good book on the topic?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. Fritter

    The Strawbale community works like this alot. I call it the “Tom Sawyer business model”.
    Mark Twain would be proud!

  3. sheila

    why don’t you run it up the proverbial flagpole with your friends in the context of “how could we all help each other out?” you may need 4 hours of painting and they may need 4 hours of babysitting or home-office organizing or errands run. there are certain projects i truly dread (filing and purging my belongings), and others i strangely love (doing laundry and painting). i have also paid sisters and friends to help me when they were in need of cash and i was in need of help, and vice-versa, and it worked out great. friends help friends, but not everyone wants the same kind of help…