Worth the Effort: 10 DIY Skills to Finally Master This Year

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Chris Perez)

To truly master all the skills of maintaining a home is an exhaustive list and frankly, out of reach for many people. But even if knowing everything about home repair and DIY is not on your list of life goals, there are still a few skills worth knowing. This year, consider finally mastering a few from this list of ten — they’re skills that will come in handy in just about any home and not that difficult to learn!

Now of course, there are ton of other things that you could add to this list. We chose simple skills nearly anyone could master without a lot of work, and the types of things to know that could be useful in just about any home you might live in. This year, consider learning how to…

1. Restore and maintain your furniture

Whether you’re a vintage junkie or just treat your newly-bought furniture a little rough sometimes, nearly all furniture needs a little repair and re-freshening every now and then. Instead of learning everything there is to know about furniture repair, stick to learning about the furniture you have around — learn a few tricks for getting scratches and water rings out of wood furniture or how to clean your upholstery.

2. Make your own cleaners

Not only will it save you money in the long run, making your own cleaners is healthier for you and your home. You don’t have to replace all your favorite cleaners all at once; as you run out of each bottle this year, try out replacing a product with one you make instead and see if you can work toward total replacement by the end of 2015.

3. Get stains out of your textiles

From clothes to curtains to carpets and more, the softer the homes the more comfortable our home lives and the more of a chance of stains. As with the furniture suggestion above, don’t fill your brain with how to remove wine stains from silk if you never drink wine and don’t wear silk — focus on the textiles you are surrounded with and learn those stain fighting specific tricks.

4. Sew simple items

Now hear me out, non-sewers of the world. You don’t have to go out and purchase a sewing machine and never buy new again, but having some simple sewing skills will make life surprisingly more delightful. Start small with curtains or hemming pants by hand. Even if you don’t tend to lean in the direction of DIY projects that involve sewing, knowing at least how to handle a needle a bit will help you around the house.

  • 10 Sewing Projects for Every Room in Your Home

5. Make your own bread

Actually it’s not just bread. There are a ton of food items that we purchase that could be made cheaper, easier and more healthfully by being made at home. So look at your weekly grocery habits and pick a food you eat a ton of and buy a lot of — maybe it’s hummus, granola or something else — and focus on finding a way to make it at home from scratch this year. Not everyone’s favorite food will benefit from an at-home attempt, but it’s worth an examination.

6. Replace a showerhead

Few things can wash away the day’s stresses or the night’s sleepiness away quite like an invigorating shower…that is of course unless the rental you moved into has the crappiest showerhead ever. Don’t stand for it. Replacing showerheads is usually quite easy and thanks to the array of them available today, you can find one that will transform your shower into a spa if you’d like.

7. Paint properly

From walls to furniture to accessories to porches, patios and more, paint can transform nearly every inch of your home. Especially when you paint properly! Practice all the elements of proper painting, from taping off, using the right tools, to using enough coats, and research each project’s (and material’s) needs before diving in.

8. Switch out a light switch or electrical outlet

Another one of those “seems hard but is actually pretty easy” tasks around the house that can make life surprisingly better. Learning how to switch out regular light switches to newer ones like dimmers will make your light more pleasant.

  • How To: Change a Light Switch

9. Prevent bug infestations

Being outnumbered in your home by bugs is NEVER a fun experience, so stay on top of this home task by preventing bugs before they get in. There are basic bug-beating tricks like sealing up your home the best you can so they can’t get in the first place, but then there are also seasonal tips to try to keep infestations from happening. The time to think about bugs is before you see them! And by keeping infestations from getting out of hand you can sometimes prevent having to use harsh chemicals.

10. Unclog a drain

There are plenty of times when calling a plumber is not only wise, but advised. And then there are the plenty of other times that simple fixes can unclog a drain before calling in the big guns. Familiarize yourself with a few of those tricks so that the next time the waterworks get clogged you can keep your cool and get the water flowing again.

What have been the most useful home DIY skills to learn for you? Let us know in the comments below!