Sweat Equity: When your hobbies are useful


This will be the first of a series of posts about home improvement and how it can make you rich, or at least keep you out of trouble in your spare time (hopefully).

Back when the Goodies first became homeowners a little over a year ago, we did not have mad skillz.  Without evidence, we lacked confidence.  Sure, we are engineers: my man here installed new lighting fixtures and fixed electrical issues in the dishwasher like an ace, and I knew the building codes to add a safety-compliant outdoor handrail.

But our land was an unbridled wilderness, the plumbing questions perplexed us, and carpentry was a total unknown.  The good news is that the combination of Youtube and the brave soul leaves no excuse for wimpiocity!  We like to solve problems even outside our comfort zones, don’t like to spend money frivolously, and approach everything in life with brazen chutzpah.  
These behaviors lend themselves to DIY, home improvement, what have you.  I don’t like those terms because to me they imply cheapness, amateurishness, and the possibility that there is something wrong with your house.  I prefer to think of our projects as a useful hobby.  We’re not looking desperately to force equity; it just seems like a better way to spend our time and money than on silly things that have absolutely no chance of returning on your investment.

So in these posts I will show you how we’ve pushed ourselves and each other to test our mettle – and to what end!  The picture at the top was our first project: the modest chicken coop which was no doubt marked up because we got it as a panelized kit.  We were bummed about the special drill bit we had to buy, and weren’t sure we’d be able to screw it together right!  What newbs we were – that thing is like a tank.

So if you like creativity, elbow grease, and epic internet searches in the name of useful and simple living, check out the SE posts.  I will try to provide full bills of material and costs when possible for the curious 🙂

Happy Friday!

6 thoughts on “Sweat Equity: When your hobbies are useful

  1. Your chicken-coop photo reminded me of another frugally-fun British show, “Good Neighbors” or “The Good Life”. A young couple in a posh London suburb attempt to quit the rat-race and live off the land while retaining their friendship with their material-minded neighbors. It’s funny and sweet and I wish Netflix was still streaming it for instant view. And it’s perfect for Ms. Goodie because the lead characters are Mr. & Mrs. Good.

    • Will have to check that too! Funny coincidence. “The good life” idea is kind of what I was going for with Goodies. Thnaks for the recommendations 🙂

  2. ooooh i like this! I’m definitely nowhere close to being a homeowner yet but I agree with the sweat equity idea: so much better to do things yourself (and learn in the process) than to pay someone to do it. i’ll bookmark these posts for the day when I have my own place 😉

    • Hope the posts deliver!!

      There are also ways to maintain and spruce up apartments cheaply with owner/management approval which can increase enjoyment/hominess without dropping tons on home furnishings. I used to get a lot of satisfaction out of fixing toilets and greasing squeaky doors rather than waiting for the landlord to deal with it. I also bought a nasty coffee table from Goodwill for $12 years ago and sanded and refinished it in the apartment. I guess those were the prototype projects to my current adventures.

  3. I’m looking forward to hearing about your projects. I’m always looking for low-hanging home improvement fruit. So far, painting, new light fixtures, and hanging shelves is about as far as I’ve gotten.

    • Thanks! Well we’re not following a particular plan other than being mindful of overall results. And things are mostly prioritized by a) do we think we can do it and b) do we already own the tools. But maybe something will catch your eye, and I hope people will also give me some advice 🙂

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