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Column: A few good reasons to give DIY a try

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opinion Perham, 56573
Perham Focus
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Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

I proudly consider myself a DIY Pinterest fiend. So I am often confused when asked, “Why don’t you just buy (insert project here) from a store? Why go through the effort?”

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I say, “Why not?”

In fact, I’ve come up with several reasons why I think everyone should attempt a project, whether it’s cooking a new food, knitting a scarf, or something more ambitious -- like starting a garden.

First and foremost, when you do something yourself, you know what you’re getting. You are in control. When baking cookies from scratch, there aren’t surprise ingredients like beta carotene or sodium benzoate lurking in the fine print (both are in some popular store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough as artificial color and a preservative).

Second, your project is a story in itself. Maybe you will brag to an aunt about the fresh sweet corn you grew. Or, you might show off the scarf you knit in your favorite color. Even the classically boring question of, “Where did you find that?” can become a fun conversation starter.

Finally, the more often you try something new, the more you can benefit your health. In a 2012 study by Harvard Medical School, researchers noticed that elderly participants who had “good mental functioning” were often the most educated. Learning small things, even new hobbies, were helpful in preventing memory loss. 

Of course, there should also be some exceptions to the do-it-yourself attitude.

Be practical. Don’t try to take on jobs meant for trained professionals, like electricians and plumbers. Unless you have experience in these areas, you could be putting yourself in danger if the work isn’t done correctly. The same goes for medical situations. Slap a bandage on that paper cut, but don’t use Pinterest for setting broken bones.

Also: know your limits. Are you crammed for space? Then you might want to start with something small and simple. Does the smoke alarm go off every time you boil water? Maybe you don’t want to go making Thanksgiving dinner right away. It’s okay to ease into your new hobby.

Sure, there will be “oops” moments. A project might get thrown across the room in frustration, or not turn out anything like the picture. But when you complete a masterpiece, that’s when you’ll start to think, “Yeah, why not?”

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