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Scripps Howard News Service

Plan DIY project

Many DIY projects go off the rails because the person doing the project dives right into doing without planning. No matter what kind of DIY project you take on, whether it is a craft or a total bathroom redo, there are some essential steps to ensuring it stays on track:

•Take time to properly plan the project.

Have a clear image of the goal and map out each of the specific work steps you need to take to complete the project. Be as specific as possible. Then divide each item on the list into one of three areas: foundational work, core work, finishing work.

Finally, map out a project schedule and budget. You should schedule appointments with yourself for working on each stage.

•Don’t go to the home-goods or home-improvement store in hopes of getting inspired. It’s a surefire way to spend significantly more than you need to, and to waste time because you will inevitably forget a critical item. Instead, make a thorough list of materials and tools you need to complete the project before you leave the house.

Then set your egg timer for 30 minutes and research where to find each of the items on your list. Check prices with online retailers and see if you can find coupons or discounts for what you need. Are you on or under budget? If not, determine what has to change.

•Before you begin, identify what skills you will need to learn and at what stage you will need to learn them. Then search for relevant how-to tutorials and have them at the ready.

•There’s always a surge of excitement when you begin. That’s why it’s particularly important to follow your project plan carefully during this phase. You don’t want to cut corners in haste or forget something that’s absolutely critical.

•Avoid procrastination by keeping those appointments you set in the planning stage and by identifying key milestones for this phase. If you get off track and are feeling overwhelmed, set an egg timer for 30 minutes each day after you come home from work and make consistent progress. Celebrate every milestone you complete.

– Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore,