Imagine the scenario: armed with a plumber's wrench, you square off with your leaky water heater resolved to fix it in time to make your dinner date. Several hours and obscenities later, you are in the same spot, overwhelmed with frustration and rage. Instead of calling a professional, you abandon it for your date (who, incidentally, has the personality of a water heater), only to return to a flood in the basement.
It's the plight of every fallen Jane—committing a deadly sin (or in the abovementioned story, several sins) of home improvement. It's confession time: what kind of sinner are you? The shopper who spots a sale and buys every power tool in sight? The painter who starts on the living room and never finishes? If this is you, there's no need to hang your head in shame—we've all been there. Read on to learn more about home improvements cardinal sins and how to avoid falling victim to them.
- Lust—We encourage all Janes to get the home of their dreams, but when your lust for that perfect faucet has you obsessed, you're in for trouble. Definitely try to get as close as possible to the look you are seeking, but within reason. If your mind will not rest until you have acquired the countertop you saw at a showroom, then you'll never move beyond that particular project. Moreover, if a new bathroom isn't in the cards for you financially, your best move is to save up for it rather than charge it. Remember, true lust waits.
- Wrath—Tempted to take a sledgehammer to that gilded 1980s-era mirror hanging in the hall? We get it—the thing is hideous, it just made you look fat in your best outfit and you can't take it anymore. Still, that's no reason to let your emotions get the better of you. The demise of the mirror is imminent; don't do it out of haste. Wrath is a common emotion in home improvement, since sometimes everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Keep your temper at bay by taking deep breaths, frequent breaks and adopting the philosophy that this bad situation is temporary.
- Gluttony—Despite popular belief, bigger isn't always better. It's a common mistake to buy oversized furniture and way too much of it. One of the hallmarks of design is proportion, something that is easily overlooked when you see furniture displayed in a giant showroom. Next time, take careful measurements of not just the room but of other furniture, remembering to include length, width and height. A room with smaller furniture will look and feel bigger because it is scaled to the right proportion. And when you do find that perfect couch, don't commit the cardinal sin of decorating by littering it with too many pillows! A few carefully selected spots of color is much better than a rainbow of a dozen different pillows.
- Greed—Have you ever walked into a home improvement store, spotted a sale and walked out with more tile than you'd ever need in a lifetime? Well, you wouldn't be human if you'd never fallen victim to a great bargain, but it's important to consider if it has become a habit. Over-consumption for the sake of saving a few bucks or worse, from preventing the next guy from getting a piece of the action is bad news. Remember the rule of 10%. When picking out flooring, shingles or any other such product, buy 10% more than you think you'll need. That way you can make up for any mess ups that can (and eventually will) happen.
- Sloth—We've all experienced bouts of laziness, frustration and general disgust when tackling home improvement projects, but the key is not succumbing. Allow yourself to wallow in your defeat or procrastination only temporarily before jumping back in or else you'll have to live half-completed-project purgatory. If you are stuck, ask for help. Looking for excuses? Check out these tips on how to shake off procrastination.
- Envy—Similar to greed, envy can have you feeling as if nothing in your home is ever good enough. After coveting your neighbor's cabinets, you set out to get the same ones. Then it's the marble bathroom you saw at the showroom. Soon you'll discover that your entire home is revamped and you still aren't satisfied. Taking a moment to give thanks for what you do have is more productive than dwelling on what you think you lack. Besides, someone out there is probably envying you.
- Pride—Ah, pride. How many times has it gotten in the way of asking for some much needed help? Failing to recognize that you may need assistance will only result in wrath and maybe, sloth. So, don't be afraid to wave the white flag and call in a professional or a friend if you discover that you are way over your head.
Alternatively, if you have a catalog of successful projects under your tool belt, pass your knowledge on to less experienced Janes and don't forget to bestow them with encouragement and praise. After all, you were once at their level, skill-wise.
Now that you are in the know, repent for your sins and move on. There are a ton of projects out there just waiting to test you.