How to save a marriage or a friendship
My grandfather could do anything. He built the home that he raised his family in. In fact, he and my great uncle built three homes. Two of which, sixty years later, are still occupied by family. His daughter lives in one, and his brother-in-law is in the other.
He and my great uncle worked blue collar day jobs at a chemical factory on the northeast Ohio shore of Lake Erie. After a full day’s work, they would stay up half the night working on one home after the other. It took less than two years to build all three brick homes. To this day, you cannot find a crack in the foundation or a sinking spot in the floor.
My grandfather and his generation were imbued with a different kind of strength than the one we possess today. I could not physically match up to what he accomplished as an amateur athlete, a sweat covered employee, or a handy homebuilder. But grandpa also couldn’t change a diaper. He was not nearly as emotionally strong and present as even the most average of parents today. A different kind of strength.
I think of him often when a DIY project comes up. Or should I say, what used to be a DIY project? See, today we live in a time when it has never been easier or more affordable to hire quality help. And when you add in the true cost of doing it yourself –– when you consider the health and injury risks involved in yard debris removal or in clearing out the storage garage –– you begin to see that we have created a system that is built by a different kind of strength. Today, we work together to accomplish what was once done at the expense of lost sleep, poor health, and sheer exhaustion.
Grandpa couldn’t have imagined the sharing economy we have today. Companies like Uber, AirBnb, or Go Trashy, where people help people accomplish things in an affordable and timely manner, would have sounded impossible.
A few months ago, it was time for my family to move from the shores of the Columbia in the Oregon Cascades to the heart of Portland. I thought a lot of my grandfather while I was junk hauling, clearing brush, installing the new dryer vents. The problem was, I wasn’t thinking enough of my family. I lost dozens of hours away from them and away from my work just so I could clean up messes, make trips to the dump, or drive cross town to sign papers.
My spouse was kind enough to pull me aside about three weeks into the moving process. “We can afford to have someone do this,” she said. “In fact, we cannot afford not to have someone else do this.”
The last part stuck. What had I spent the last week on the van rental, the trips to the dump, and the time I wasn’t able to be at my desk? Over a grand. I spent almost $1,500 on these things, and I still hadn’t fixed up the yard or actually moved homes. This was the cost of cleaning and junk removal. What was the move going to cost?
And then I tried to figure in the exhaustion and stress I was putting on myself. I am no math wiz. I couldn’t quantify this number, but I could say unequivocally that I was unable to do the work that pays the bills because I was so stressed and tired. So what was the true cost of my DIY project? Why was I paying more to do it myself?
We all want to prove our worthiness. Though I barely knew him, I always wanted to live up to the legacy of my grandfather. But it is a different time, a different culture, and a very different economy.
There is another added benefit, other than saving some expense, physical exertion, and mental stress. When I hire a pro to do the yard debris removal, the job gets done well, it gets done on time, and best of all, I am putting a little money into the pocket of a neighbor who is working hard at his skill. There is a altruism to the people helping people nature of our sharing economy platforms, and you have every right to feel good about taking part in it.
So where have I learned to hire, and where do I do it myself?
I hire help when I’m selling my home. I don’t have the time and money to prepare, stage, and then actually sell my own home.
The same is true with the act of moving. Once I moved from the bachelor life to a family life, I could no longer save money by doing it myself. It’s easier, faster, and actually more affordable to hire movers.
I always hire help for junk hauling, yard debris removal, and other heavy, difficult, and sometimes pricey endeavors.
I still DIY when it comes to cleaning. Until it becomes more affordable to have someone else do the dirty work, I scrub my own toilets and clean my own windows. It’s nice to stay in touch with my self-sufficient side.
I also do my own lawn work. I’ll hire help for downed trees or to remove all the leaves once I’ve raked, but I cannot give up the meditative act of mowing the lawn. At least not until someone makes it more appealing and affordable to do so.
When do you DIY, and when do you hire the professionals?
Go Trashy is on-demand junk removal
You snap a pic of the stuff you want gone
You get upfront prices from background-checked Providers
You select your Provider and your stuff is gone within hours