Home Projects

Ditch or Double Down: When You Should (or Shouldn’t!) Give Up on a DIY Project

updated May 4, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Henry Happened)

We’ve all been there: it’s two in the morning and the DIY project you casually started at 8pm is looking worse than ever. You’re tired and frustrated and so so ready to dump the damn thing in the trash. So is it a lost cause or a case of “everything will look brighter in the morning?” How do you know when to call it quits? Here’s our humble opinion:

Follow Topics for more like this

Follow for more stories like this

Ditch. Ditch it now:

  • You’ve uncovered something unexpected that you did not bargain for (and can’t handle).
  • Your original out-of-pocket cost was under $20.
  • You’ve discovered this project requires skills you just don’t have (consider hiring a pro!).
  • This project was more about the process than the end result. You’re doing some DIY trial and error and that’s okay.
  • You’ve run out of time — your houseguests will be there in a day and you need some functional furniture.
  • Your project is causing some relationship or housemate stress. Let’s get our priorities straight!

Don’t give up:

  • You can clearly see the steps it will take to get your item back into shape.
  • You can alter your original vision to accommodate your new circumstances.
  • It’s one of those “looks worse before it looks better” projects.
  • You’ve tackled something permanently attached to your house.
  • Your item was expensive or has sentimental value.
  • You thrive on a “it’s always darkest before the dawn” mentality. Stress only motivates you even more.
  • You know you’ll never find anything like this again.

Bottom line: it’s completely okay to let a project go if it’s just not working, but sometimes it’s worth it to get a good night’s sleep and make an informed decision in the morning.

When do you call the DIY quits?