I put my power tools away, hung up my paint brush, and stopped going to the thrift store.

I used to see something cute at a store and my first thought wasn’t, “Oh, cute.  How much is that?”  My first thought is, “Hmmm, I wonder how I could make that.”  Seriously, before I even know how much it cost.  Here I am programmed to spin my wheels figuring out how I can make everything, even the cute thing that costs less than $10.  There is no way it would be worth my time to make something I can buy for less than $10.

What was wrong with me?

Why I Quit DIY | tealandlime.com

You know how some people need to unplug and take some time away from the internet?  Well, I needed to take a gigantic step back from being a DIYer.

For the last 3 years it’s been my hobby, my work, my life.  (Notice the progression to total takeover.)

For the last 3 months, I haven’t made a thing.

Why I Started to DIY

Maybe I should start with why I was a DIYer in the first place.

I was raised a Fixer.  Every single line of the Fixer’s Manifesto describes my view of the world growing up.  And it is a beautiful view.  I still agree with all of it.  But, realize being a Fixer doesn’t mean you have to DIY everything.

Most people label me as “creative”.  I always felt kinda weird about that.  I am actually much more analytical than creative.  But I exercise my creativity muscles a lot.  But more out of stubbornness than creativity.

I have long held the belief that if another human being can do something, then I can do it to.  That is a double-edged sword.  On one hand, how motivating to believe you can do anything anyone else can do, if you put your mind to it.  On the other hand, what a standard to live up to!  Like you’ve got something to prove all.the.time.

So, when I couldn’t find something for the price I wanted to pay or that looked exactly the way I wanted, I automatically assumed I could make something better myself.  I could make it for less.  I could make it the color I wanted.  I could make it what I envisioned.  All I needed to do was a little DIY work.

DIY means a lot of things to a lot of different people.  At it’s simplest form it just means you do-it-yourself.  It being anything.  From a home DIY perspective, I laid out the spectrum of different types of DIY projects. Everything from a quick makeover for something you bought pre-made to building furniture from scratch.

I loved certain kinds of DIY way more than others.  But as a stubborn mule, believing I could do anything, smaller DIY projects gave way to believing I could and should do larger DIY projects. And more projects.  Some I liked, some I didn’t.  Almost always I liked the end result, because I got my way after all, but many times I hated the process.

I DIYed for the same reason most people do.  To save money.  To make it exactly the way I wanted (can we say control issues?).  And to put my personal stamp on it.  There is something beautiful about working with your hands, making something, and having pride in your work.

Why DIY Got Out Of Control

When I started this blog and started sharing my DIY projects, I was doing them out of true desire.  Because I wanted to make something with my hands, because I couldn’t find something to buy that I liked, and because I liked what I was doing.

When I started this blog, I was making over 6-figures at my day job.  I had no financial reason to DIY, other than I still liked a good deal (don’t we all?).  It mostly came down to being stubborn and wanting to get my way.

It is a dangerous thing when you have no financial reason to DIY and you are more interested in the end result being what you want than how you get there.  When you DIY to save money, the trade-off is the time you put in.  When you DIY and there is no money saved, now you are spending the money and the time.

Sometimes DIY is far from cheaper.  Even if you come out ahead in dollars and cents, you rarely come out ahead when you consider the time it took you to plan and do the project, to run around and get supplies, the leftover supplies (sunk cost), and the possible re-work to get it just right.

As my blog grew and my projects got noticed, I wanted to produce more.  I wanted to share more of my great ideas.  That meant doing more DIY projects.  Coming up with more original DIY projects.  Many times putting in the time with no money saved in return.

I was proud of my work, but the mental energy-suck of always trying to generate new ideas was exhausting. You think it is overwhelming trying to consume all the ideas on Pinterest, try feeling like you have to provide all the ideas on Pinterest.

Instead of decorating my home because I wanted to and doing projects because they fueled my creativity, I felt an obligation.  I had to come up with X number of projects to share, I had to make sure they were original, and I found myself looking for places to do things that didn’t need anything done.

I was stepping into over-decorating territory.  Say I needed a project to share, I would look around my house for what needed to be done.  After a few years I stopped finding things that needed to be done.  And since I believe in only doing things you love and will for many, many years, there was nothing that needed to be re-done.  So then, it became a game of adding something new where nothing was needed.  I’d find a small accent table at the thrift store I could makeover and put next to the sofa.  Not that we needed or wanted an accent table there.

It started feeling icky to me.  I was stock-piling “blog content” in the form of things I found at the thrift store to do a project with.  Things I had a great idea for and could do.  But I wasn’t stopping to think anymore if I should do them or if I wanted to do them.

It started feeling selfish, too.  Here I was showing you all these projects I was doing for my house.  You might have liked the eye-candy or inspiration.  But unless you wanted to do something very similar in your house, you probably didn’t get much actual value from seeing my projects.

And my worst nightmare…maybe seeing my projects made you feel inadequate about your abilities or home.  I know how it feels to see something amazing someone else has done and then feel a little less good about yourself.  I never want anyone to feel that way, especially about decorating their home.  I want to build you up and support you in creating a home you love.

And the required originality of a DIY blogger was killer.  A good idea is a good idea, but when you are the one that is supposed to be generating the good ideas, copying someone else’s good idea is no good.  You have to make it original, which means it either has never been done before or at a minimum you have to do it better, cheaper, smarter.

There are seriously only so many ideas one home needs.  And original ideas aren’t always the best, they are just different.  And quickly, “if she can do it, so can I” turns into “if she can do it, how can I do it better?”

Along the way I tried every different type of DIY project, in the pursuit of originality.  I LOVED some types of DIY, but others weren’t for me.  But as a DIY blogger, I felt I had to “be the person that does it all”.  And when people say things like “wow, I am so impressed with all that you do”, it gets awkward to admit you hated doing it.

I had to start getting real with myself.  Life is too short to do things I don’t like, even if someone else likes seeing me doing them.  The perfect example is building furniture.  The idea of it seduces me every time.  I love the idea of building my own furniture.  But 9 times out of 10, I hate actually doing it.  I don’t like using power tools.  I like knowing that I can (remember, if someone else can do it, I need to prove I can, too), but I dot like actually using them.  I don’t like how building furniture (and other complicated DIYs) brings out my perfectionism.  I just don’t like taking a pile of wood and turning it into a piece of furniture.  I only like the idea of it.

What I LOVE is taking an existing piece of furniture and doing something simple to make it better.  I like to paint furniture.  I like to cover ugly things with rugs and tablecloths making them amazing.  No big power tools, splinters, and imperfections are easier to cover up.

I discovered I didn’t like most of the projects I was doing.  Most of what I love to do, like sewing pillow covers, aren’t really blog-worthy topics anymore.  The stuff I loved to do gave way to the projects I felt obligated to do to feed my blog, to stay original, to share new ideas.  Meanwhile things I loved to do and needed to do for my home went undone.

Will I Ever DIY Again?

Without a doubt…yes.  It is part of my style, DIY Modern, after all.  And I am a fixer.

But as of now I haven’t done a DIY project in over 3 months.  And I am really happy.  Not so coincidentally, I have shifted my blog focus.  I no longer identify with being a DIY blogger.  That is not why I am here.

I don’t want to be that person that answers your questions about which clear finish to put on your painted furniture.  Because honestly, I don’t know or really care.  Sorry, but true.  Sharing DIY projects and answering your DIY questions does not excite me.

Last October, I spent 31 days blogging about Interior Styling and in the same month I was teaching Define Your Style (my decorating style program).  Blogging 31 days straight was nuts on a different level, but I carefully chose a topic that didn’t require DIY projects.  Instead, it was 31 days of decorating and an opportunity to share more about that passion.  I loved it and I love teaching my Define Your Style System™.

I am here to help the style-confused and decorating-shy find confidence in their inner decorator.

I think we’ve all reached a saturation point with DIY ideas and inspiration, TV shows and magazines, blogs and pins about all the things we could possibly do in our homes.  But no one is talking about what you should do in your home, what is right for you, and how you filter out the noise and get focused on creating a home you love.  Well, now I am talking about it.

I am here to help you connect the dots between all the ideas you could possibly do and what makes sense for decorating your home.  I want to share really valuable how to information to get you where you want to go in your home.

I know I will DIY again.  But only the things I truly want to make, that I enjoy doing, and have nothing to do with whether or not I share them on a blog or social media.  I am only going to do what is right for me and my home.  I hope I can help you do the same.



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106 Responses to Why I Quit DIY

  1. Amy says:

    Great article. We must have the same programming, my life motto has been – I can do that. I’ve also had a number of DIY projects that were not cheaper & totally not worth it…whoops :-)

    • Jackie says:

      Amy, It feels so good to know I am not the only one. I really have to take a step back when I get the “I bet I could do that feeling” and decide if I really want to do it. All we can do is learn from our mistakes, right?

  2. Vanessa says:

    Oh.my.word. Honestly you captured every single thing that I have thought or felt for the last couple of years! In fact, I have a box full of stuff that I’m donating and most of it are things that I picked up thinking it would be great blog content and the project either totally bombed or I realized that I was being sucked into purchases that were completely not my style at all. It’s been humbling and eye-opening and I’m with you that enough is enough. And I really do think we have to stop and examine our intentions because we will quickly realize where our passions really lie and the other stuff we can just let go of, right? Thank you a million times over for writing this Jackie!! Would you mind if I share the link to it on a group board I’m apart of?

    • Jackie says:

      Vanessa, Thank you so much for admitting this has plagued you too. I know we all started this with the best of intentions, but the need for content and the snowball of undone projects and the ones we stockpile for later gets out of control. We lose sight of what we are really doing and promoting.

      I would be honored if you shared this with anyone you think would benefit from it (and knowing they are not alone in these feelings).

  3. Mary says:

    Love the honest reflection, Jackie. I do enjoy reading a lot of these blogs, but I can’t help thinking of how cluttered the homes must be in order to display or store all the DIY items. A molded plastic figurine that has been spray painted the color-of-the-season is very cute and might enhance the display in a photo shoot, but it’s mindful of the clutter that a pre-teen would have displayed in their bedroom. Blog fillers. Clutter. I love the direction that your blog is going, Jackie. Just as quality over quantity is the goal in home furnishing, I appreciate that you are seeking (and achieving) that goal in your blog as well. I’ll admit that I do look forward to daily blog posts, but I recognize that I only benefit and learn from thoughtful blog posts. Daily blog posts become brain clutter because they can’t be sustained without filler projects.

    Keep up your excellent work, Jackie!

    • Jackie says:

      Mary, you hit the nail on the head. Filler projects and filler posts! I don’t believe in space-fillers in your home, so what in the world was I doing generating filler projects to fill out a daily blogging schedule. Because it is so against what I believe, I started procrastinating and dreading doing the projects…totally a warning sign to stop doing it.

      Thank you for your support. As much as I would love to connect daily, I only want to bring you the good stuff.

  4. Charlotte says:

    yes !! you said exactly what I feel..I too realized the time & money DIY takes, I love doing creative, colorful, projects, which I will continue, but, now I’m choosing more wisely. like you say, not everything is better DIY’D….LOL

  5. I havent been blogging that long, but I also found I was doing projects for the sake of having something to blog about. Wasting my time and resources, when I dont even make money off of it!

    Ive stepped back now. I blog less. I blog more about lifestyle than projects. It is much more enjoyable that way! I dont know why I put so much pressure on myself at first

    • Jackie says:

      Casey, I am so glad you recognized it early on. We shouldn’t do things to blog about them, but rather blog about the things we do.

  6. Pamela says:

    Such an interesting and thought out post. I am a reader, not a blogger. I am also older than most of the authors of blogs i read. I often wonder how close to burn out you gals must be and the unhealthy demands a blog certainly must bring. Actually, I worry about all you sweet girls. It was crazy tough when we were raising kids and caring for homes and husbands and now it appears to be crazy tough on steroids. Cheers to you for putting it out there. But honestly since I came to be a subscriber more recently i never thought of you so much as a DIYer but as a teacher of the mechanics of design, an instructor with a map of how to get where you are to where you want to be with decor. That’s why I kept coming back…my daughter is your age and I am trying to help her make informed choices for their home based on how they actually live. And you do that exceedingly well.

    • Jackie says:

      Pamela, Thanks for sharing a reader’s perspective. When you say crazy tough on steroids, sadly I think we did it to ourselves and each other. And it definitely a cycle of trying to keep up with everyone else, not realizing they are all just trying to keep up to. Well, I am putting my foot down :)

      I really appreciate hearing how my recent posts have resonated with you. That is exactly why I am here and what I want to be doing…teaching and encouraging.

  7. Erin says:

    This is brillz. I agree with the “saturation point” of blogs and Pinterest. I am so tired of seeing same, same, same. I have started reading home magazines of the rich & famous (Veranda, Elle Décor, etc.) just to see something DIFFERENT. Rich people have some wacky decorating ideas but all the houses are so unique!

    It seems like there used to be an end point to decorating your home, and now there isn’t. Rooms that were just done a year ago need to be redone because chevron is out and ikat is in, etc. That wall treatment is out and another is in. You start to feel like you’re in this constant hamster wheel of turmoil and change. Doesn’t anyone want to say “DONE! Now let’s enjoy the house.” It’s sad, really. And expensive. The only way to jump off that crazy cycle is to reject the trends and buy what you will love for a long time. So your recent posts are right on the money.

    • Jackie says:

      Erin, I love that…an end point. You are so right. Re-decorating used to be like once a decade or more. Now, it is like all the time. If you see anything trendy in my home, it’s just a coincidence and it was probably there before the trend and will be there long after. I feel like saying, “Done! Now let’s enjoy the house” is exactly what the last few months have been for us. It is wonderful. I tweak or move things here and there, but I am enjoying using the spaces instead of working on them.

  8. Sara says:

    Jackie – thank you for sharing this! I haven’t completely quit DIY, but I have SLOWED the train down significantly. I just moved into my home a few years ago so I have a lot of unfinished spaces that will benefit from a project here and there. But I totally feel you on trying to squeeze out filler content. I just had a bit of a confession-type post on my blog (http://embracemyspace.com/2014/05/07/baby-proofing/), where I talked about how I was going to stop being so hard on myself about posting ALL THE TIME. My philosophy is to share original projects that I do in my home, not to talk about “filler” type things like what’s my favorite thing in the new Target Threshold line this month. I commend you on finding your true voice and going with it! And if you click over to my blog, you’ll see that I, too, and a teal and lime kinda gal!

    • Jackie says:

      Sara, Love it. Slowing the train down is exactly what we all need. When we really think about it there isn’t that much to be done in our homes and none of it needs to be done overnight. Besides just my content being quality over quantity, I want my home to be quality over quantity.

      P.S. Love your bold use of color!

      • Sara says:

        Thanks, Jackie! I haven’t met a color I don’t like – they just don’t all make it into my house ;) Agree totally about the quality over quantity in the home as well!

  9. there has been no DIY’ing going on over at my house either…As you said there comes a time when enough is enough and whether I only spent a few dollars on something at a yard sale or the thrift shop – I really didn’t need many of the things I spent our money on. Congrats on getting off the roller coaster and being true to yourself and your family

    • Jackie says:

      Cheryl, Yes! Too much stuff and all the stuff becomes another item on the to-do list. Enough is enough.

  10. Jackie,

    Thank you for writing this post. It was like you were inside my head writing all my thoughts. I couldn’t agree more. I believe many bloggers share your thoughts. Now the trick is to find the next level. Where do I go from here. What am I truly passionate about. Something I have been struggling with over the last few months. Because, as you said, DIY’s tend to bring out the perfectionist in our personalities, I feel I also need a break. I like things to be perfect by nature and I’m trying to make a concious effort to not be so perfect. Which is hard when you want perfect photos for your blog or perfect end products striving for more views and more pins. Vicious cycle.

    You are very brave for taking this step. Thank you for your honesty!


    • Jackie says:

      Sandra, you are so welcome. I just knew I couldn’t be alone in these thoughts, but no one was talking about them. I am glad I started this conversation and I get to connect with amazing fellow bloggers like you that know their is something deeper they are meant to do.

  11. I love your honesty here! I have felt the same way with my blog’s organizing projects. Because the blogosphere is so saturated, original ideas are hard to come by and brings up the over arching question, should I do this?

    My blog has become a place now where what touches my heart is more important than what projects may or may not go viral on Pinterest. I hope your words penetrate the minds of more bloggers and hope to see a change the in blogosphere landscape.

  12. I actually read this this morning. I can definitely relate! I started my blog when we owned a house. Then we moved 4 times over the next two years. Since we only stayed in each house about 4-5 months I knew there was no point in attempting to decorate it. Especially since we didn’t really have the funds for it. I spent that time in blogging limbo. I turned to crafts and things that, did I enjoy making? Yes. To a certain extent… but I was just grasping on to whatever I could to keep my blog going. I knew I still wanted to blog, but what I really wanted to share was my passion. Refinishing old furniture, decorating my home, fixing things on a budget (because the funds still aren’t there). I want to take people on a journey through my blog. A glimpse into our life and how we make it through each day. I don’t want it to be just about another post. I still struggle with this because as bloggers I don’t think people realize how much extra time you spend to paint that little side table in order to get a blog post out of it.

    I have definitely looked at things that cost dollars… like 3 or 4, and though. I could totally make that myself! Yeah, or I could just stick it in my basket and call it a day!

    I think taking a break is a good thing sometimes. Inspiration comes in the calm a lot of the times, and that’s what it’s all about for me! : ) I love to be inspired! It gives me fuel to get through the day. Rather it’s look at beautiful pictures and getting my hands dirty!

    Hope all this made some kind of sense ; )

    • Jackie says:

      Ashley, Thanks for making the time to come back and share your story. I love that you are focused on finding a way to share your passion. What you wrote here that makes you really tick sounds so much more interesting than craft posts for the sake of craft posts. You have to write your blog for you first and for most…which means it has got to be about the things that fuel you. Unfortunately, there is no credit for the extra time to paint a side table or make sure the picture of it is perfect. So you gotta do what makes you happy and what you don’t need credit for. Thank you again for sharing your story, I am sure it will inspire others in the same boat.

  13. I know I can relate to your feelings. I feel like Pinterest has killed some of the joy of DIY. I need to stay off Pinterest or I get those same, “I need to make it better…” feelings. Recently, I’ve been focusing on projects that truly improve my home or make me happy. I even failed to post on my own self-imposed schedule last month and no one noticed. It felt very freeing (and slightly rebellious!) hee, hee.

    • Jackie says:

      Brittany, I love it. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt: “You wouldn’t worry so much what others think of you, if you realized how seldom they do.”

  14. Whew, Jackie, you have nailed it (quite literally) with this one! It is a giant hamster wheel that seems never-ending, and I too made a conscious choice in January of this year to step off the hamster wheel of craziness that I’ve been on for the past few years. I thought my blog could replace my salary as well, but that ain’t happening, either. So, while I still choose to DIY because I truly love it, I refuse to blog about daily fluff just to have some filler content each day. But who am I kidding? I have never been a daily blogger. As a mom of a young son with a full time job it’s physically impossible to keep up with the demands of it all. Like the other commenter said- “crazy tough on steriods” just about sums it up. And in the meantime, our kids are only getting older and leaving our nests that we work so hard to make cozy within the confines of a camera lens (I dunno about you, but at my house the place is chaos just 2 inches outside of that lens).

    Anyway, good for you for putting your foot down and putting this out there. I agree wholeheartedly about the whole thing. It’s freeing to step out and say “no”. Nobody will be an advocate for yourself except for YOU.

    • Jackie says:

      Beth, Thanks so much for telling your experience too. Like I said before I think in part we all put these expectations on ourselves and maybe when more of us that stand up and say, “wait a minute…what are we doing” then we can collectively lift some of the pressure. You are so right that the precious time with our little guys is fleeting!

    • Jackie says:

      Oh and yes…the chaos off camera is so true. I shared that on the blog a few months ago. I am definitely over cleaning and perfecting the 5-ft square space I am photographing while everything else is in ruins.

  15. cindy says:

    Thank you for being so honest. I am a diy junkie. I don’t have a blog, but I do wonder sometimes when I visit blogs, if they are just “going through the motions.” I have learned I have to “ration” my trips to the thrift store, otherwise I have so many “projects” that I feel overwelmed and guilty that I have spent money on items that are forever in limbo. I am just starting my rehab…
    I bought a dry erase board ($5 at the thrift store) lol, and made a list of all the projects waiting to be completed. Therefore I can see it and when I want to go thrifting, I can look at it and remember, there are projects waiting to be done… Thank you again for saying what many of us do it yourself creative thinkers feel guilty about and letting us know we’re not alone!

    • Jackie says:

      Cindy, Yes…that is where I was getting to…going through the motions. Anytime life starts to feel like that it is time to reevaluate.

      I love you rationing idea and as much as a big whiteboard to-do list of projects would give me anxiety, it would totally deter me from adding anything more to the list. I guess I was just keeping that list in my head…and it started to seem never-ending.

      Thank you for letting me know I am not alone. I thought for a long time I was the only one with the “thrift store problem”…an alternate title for this post could have been “Why I Quit Goodwill”.

  16. Hi Jackie- I really enjoyed this post. I know I have been feeling that change for me was needed back in Sept. I love to DIY and enjoy creating, but the pressure of Pinterest and social media numbers takes the joy away for me. I am working on getting back to my original goals with my blog which was to share all the things I am passionate about, not just DIY. I find I get a much bigger response when I don’t post DIYs all the time. It will be interesting to watch where the DIY blog niche will flow. I think we each have to find a way to take what we have accomplished so far and take it to the next level each in our own unique way- that is where we will find the joy again.

    • Jackie says:

      Diane, Beautifully said! I love that you are finding people engaging more when it isn’t all DIYs. As overwhelmed as the blogger is, maybe the reader is too.

  17. Chelsea says:

    I started reading your blog right before your interior styling series and that is what got me hooked! I love your approach to blogging and that your goal really is to help people. I look forward to more posts geared that way. :-)

  18. Lauren H says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I really love the direction you are going, Jackie! And, I get so excited when I see people discover and excel and what they do best…and it looks like you’re on your way.

    Like you, I am also a “fixer” and considered creative but I think more analytical. Probably why I love all of your stuff!

  19. jessvii says:

    Yes, definitely, I totally agree with your post! I have found this same principle to be true for my crafting endeavors. Before, I used to consider myself a general crafter. Now, I am focusing on only the crafts I “love”, which are paper crafts (like DIY cards), painting, and cross stitch. There are many other crafts that might be fun for me, or challenging for me (e.g. clay, sewing, floral arranging, yarn and crochet…), but I’d rather get really good at a few things, and I frankly don’t have the space to store all of the supplies for all different kinds of crafts anyway :).

    I also agree with Erin, who said, “Doesn’t anyone want to say ‘DONE! Now let’s enjoy the house.’ It’s sad, really. And expensive.” – This is so true! I bought a fixer-upper house, and honestly, there are enough home projects to do that I will be busy until I sell the house (even if I do not sell the house for 20 years, I will still have enough “someday” projects to keep me busy!). But, I also want to find a balance… I need to keep reminding myself that my house does not need to be “done” in order for me to enjoy it!

    And regarding Pinterest, I am slowly reorganizing my Pinterest space. Eventually, other than my general “Homes, Rooms, Yards” board, which is about appreciation of other people’s ideas (and not necessarily something I want in my own home), and a few community boards that I am a member of, all of my boards will be things I actually want in my own home or want to create myself. I wanted to do this because I had noticed, after pinning a ton of stuff, that it had become really hard for me to find the few posts on Pinterest that I ACTUALLY intended to do or make that will work for my current house.

    • Jackie says:

      Jess, Great point about focusing on the skills you love instead of being a crafting or DIY generalist.

      Love your new approach to Pinterest.

  20. Diana says:

    Great post, Jackie . Also love the picture!!:)

  21. Dena says:

    Thank you for this. I have been “making” all my life and blogging since January – not very long and already feel a little burned out. For the past week I have been toying with the idea of writing a post called “How Blogging Ruined My Life”… I love the things I do, or I wouldn’t do them, but looking at other’s spaces makes me covetous and I HATE that. Before blogging, I was so happy to have what I have and I loved every bit of it. Trying to get back there. Again, thank you.

    • Jackie says:

      Dena, I am so sorry to hear that, but I understand. Maybe you should focus your blog on gratitude and appreciation for what you already have.

  22. Runt says:

    I totally went through a “I’m not buying that ready made thing because I can make it” and it didn’t matter that the “thing” was $7. And then I would get really mad at myself because three months later I still hadn’t made it, finally decided I would just buy it, and it wouldn’t be there anymore. I think I got too caught up in exactly what you said – “she made it, I can too” that I felt like buying ready-made things was wrong. Or it made me feel less creative. Or even lazy. I still go through that sometimes but I think I’ve gotten a little better at telling myself it’s okay to buy ready made things. I DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE EVERYTHING.

    • Jackie says:

      Runt, Such a good point. It does feel like we are being programmed to think buying something is lazy or less creative. I think that is why I am so drawn to decorating, because it is more about how you use what you have and what you buy in creative ways.

  23. MB says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I don’t have a blog but I liked reading them, as well as Pinterest, Facebook, etc. I recently cut out Pinterest and FB and only look at certain blogs every once in a while. They were making me feel bad about myself and my home. I came to the realization that I would be much happier saving up for the Pottery Barn table than trying to make it myself or shop around to save money. It never turned out the same, or else it just plain didn’t get done. Instead, that energy is now spent on my family and, as far as my home goes, I just try to keep it clean…while 2 little kids live there! Turns out that makes me happier than any of those ‘projects’ I told myself I NEEDED to do. The simple things, huh?

    P.S. I think there are lots of bloggers out there like you who won’t admit it ;)

    • Jackie says:

      MB, I feel honored to be one of the blogs you check in with periodically. You are so right…sometimes it would be better to save up than to DIY. Especially if you are a perfectionist, because unless you are very skilled for the type of project, the result won’t be the same. I definitely know I have DIYed things and then continued to long for buying the real thing. Bottomline, we each have to do what is right for us and our homes.

  24. Lindsay says:

    Interesting post! I have always toyed with the idea of starting my own DIY and more type Blog, especially since we just bought a house in October and it needs a lot of work to get it back to the way it should be! However, I am so busy just getting the projects done, I forget to take before and after photos or the project is so simple that there is no point in posting a DIY…just posting more before and afters and a quick synopsis of what was done.

    There have been so many stories about the backlash of over the top children’s parties that the DIY blog world is probably next and rightfully so. It used to be fun to go thrift shopping or to Estate Sales, but now they are so picked over that the treasures are harder to find! Probably because so many of us are hoarding potential projects! =)I still love a great new idea or great new trend or fun new way to do something, but it is much better for it to be authenticate, even if that means you won’t be producing content and projects daily. I have often wondering how many of these bloggers keep it up…when do you sit back and read a magazine or go for a walk or do whatever you enjoy if you are busy with all the projects, blogging on top of possibly working a formal job, taking care of a family, etc. On the flip side, who has time to read all of their favorite blogs EVERY.SINGLE.DAY and really absorb and value the content? I personally get stressed out trying to stay caught up on the blogs I follow…for fear of missing out! It is a vicious cycle on both ends!

    I commend you for making this statement and look forward to what lies ahead on your blog and others that might transition from constant DIYs to sometimes, but useful & practical DIYs.

    • Jackie says:

      Lindsay, Congrats on the new house and getting projects done. Before and after and during pictures slow all that down.

      I love your point about keeping up with blogs. I definitely started to feel selfish in a way expecting my readers to keep up with daily posts. I couldn’t do it myself for the blogs I followed.

      Thank you!

  25. Kathryn says:

    You could have been writing out of my own brain. This is the reason why I switched back from DIY blogging to blogging about the cakes I make and cake tutorials.
    I do miss some of the DIY blogging, but honestly, I’m happy with my home and I don’t want to just do things so that I have something to write about.
    In the future I’ll probably do a little bit of DIY blogging but for right now, we’re sticking to cakes and family.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jackie says:

      Kathryn, Thanks for telling your story. So great you have your cake passion to go back to. Stick with what you love.

  26. Thank you for this post! As a blogger, mom, and teacher, I had to get real with myself and my readers this spring – fewer DIYs because it’s not worth it to DIY just for the sake of a blog post. AND my first priority has to be my family and all the chaos that comes with that. Our online spaces are our own and if we can’t be “real” there then shame on us. Bravo, my dear, for your honesty and starting a conversation that needed to take place!

  27. […] this week I read Jackie’s post on why she quit DIY, and Kim and Scott’s post on hiring out, and both really struck a cord with me.  I get so […]

  28. Lisa says:

    thank you for such an honest post. I’m so proud of you for figuring out what you’re most passionate about right now and what you want to focus on (even if it means losing readers). It’s very obvious to me when a blogger is just going through the motions to crank out their posts. I would much rather read quality over quantity, especially if it means that you’ll be blogging longer. I’m not much of a DIYer, but I’ve always loved your work. You’ll get no complaints from me if you start up again. My passion is interior design and I’ve learned sooo much from your posts and classes over the years. I look forward to more from you!

    • Jackie says:

      Lisa, Thank you so much. I feel like you’ve seen my whole journey, so this means a lot coming from you.

  29. Connie says:

    Wonderful post. I have noticed the trend that many people,including myself,have become dissatisfied from comparing themselves and their homes. My parties,cooking, home, decor, SELF is never on par with all that I see. This NOT a good place to live. I am beginning to love blogs that have posts about epic fails, and like your post “I am going to stop being crazed.” I purged most of my “projects, materials, and tools” in a downsize and it as though the windows were opened and I can breathe again. Congrats to you. Keep blogging when it is real and when you want to….this keeps us coming back.

    • Jackie says:

      Connie, Yes, it is true…comparison is the thief of joy. It is amazing how happy you can be with everything you already have when you stop looking for something else or at what someone else has. Great idea to purge the supplies you don’t plan to use anymore…that is what I need to do this summer.

  30. JACKY says:

    I am soooo glad you admitted this! I felt the exact same way. Other than rehabbing a dresser, I haven’t done a diy project in over 1-1/2 yrs. And of course, have not posted on my blog in a very long time. You totally hit the nail it on the head. You find yourself making things that you don’t even really like or need just to keep up with blog content.

    I feel stressed just reading diy blogs and thinking they’re working too fast, what are they going to do when they finish remodeling? They won’t have anything to blog about. I really don’t understand how they can post a new project every day. They must not see their families or even sleep, lol!

    I recently did some spring cleaning and found myself donating or throwing out most of the stuff I had diy’ed for my blog. And I actually felt guilty, is that nuts?

    Anyway, good for you. You have to do what feels right and makes you happy :)

    • Jackie says:

      Jacky, That is not nuts at all. Did you see the video I posted recently on the blog about the Endowment Effect. Part of it is that if you put your hands to something and work on it, then you value it even more. That is why you felt guilty.

      I hope you find an opportunity someday to get back into blogging, but maybe on a topic you love instead of DIY :)

  31. Hi Jackie! I so relate to this. In fact, its been a few months since I’ve posted on my own blog for some of the same reasons (the whole feeling obligated to produce thing, I still love to create but hate feeling pressured to do it). I’m the opposite when it comes to building/painting, love the power tools and despise my paint brush, lol.
    I LOVE your new topic direction. I’m decor challenged I guess, I know what I want but can’t seem to bring it all together cohesivly in a room. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to finish my girls’ playroom that I’ve been trying to put together for almost 2 years now. Best of luck with your new venture, I look forward to reading :)

    • Jackie says:

      Meg, Thanks for speaking up. Isn’t that funny how we each have our own favorite types of DIYs and the ones we despise? Thank you for the support on the new direction. I definitely want to share what I know about pulling a room together and then going on to enjoy your life and your little ones :)

  32. Amy says:


    Congratulations on 1. Knowing your passion and 2. Having the courage to follow it!!!! I enjoy reading blogs and often wonder about the challenge of constantly coming up with new ideas. Good luck as you continue on your journey!!!

  33. Gwen says:

    Why I got all teary eyed I’m so proud of you!! I feel like I’ve been around awhile. You may think its clutter but I really think some high end places and designers were reading your blog even when it was little DIY and big DIY !! Remember the painted toys when your boys were sooo little? Then afterwards high end shops started showcasing them about a year later…. Hmmmm…..one of my fave accessories!!! I might do one with my grandson. He fell in love with a hot pink chicken that he said was sooo cute (and Red!) at a shop at the coast so I’m copying that some day!!! Your white deals did they drip??? Saw those at another trendy store TWO years after you did it. Wood flooring sideways on that wall in basement??? Hmmm…a couple years later to now instead of this certain designer belittling ‘paneling’ and making fun of it and other decorators insisting it all had to go or be painted white–/I see them showing a brand NEW idea. Use flooring crossways on wall. Again I think, Ahem….I’m getting suspicious here. Pillows made at home. Entire article devoted to it in a popular magazine. Stuff you’re saying in your seminars: showing up very similar in magazines I’ve been reading.
    You know what you are??? A trend setter!!!! And I’ve told you all along
    “I’m so very proud of you I have tears. ”
    And don’t you dare write me back. You know the routine :-).
    But I still love Pinterest!!! It relaxes me.
    I do not drive so I do not go to Goodwill. I need to purge all that’s left of these little junk dolls of a little pot and dish and teeny teapot etc to make a girl or boy. Made three. Need to donate back. Did all my flowers with plates but gave away 20. Kept a few. My idea was to have a garden along winter bare fence but now I think oh well. That was good brain work then and fun with a couple friends to do. But if I stay out of GW I’m not spending $ there. I instead have bags always going there. Before my friend and I couldn’t shop til we’d dropped off three or four bags!!!!
    Off the subject. You’ll grow older. You’ll realize you filled many disabled people with glimpses of fun!!! And new ways to look at old things–like I don’t have to polish my old brass candlesticks I drag out every now and then!!!
    And so proud you have made so many like me.

    • Jackie says:

      Gwen, I am breaking the rules…how can I not write back to a comment like this?! You will never fully know how much I appreciate your support with all your amazing comments, emails, and stories. I know you must have been an amazing teacher…so caring!!!

  34. Thuy says:

    Hi Jackie,

    Congratulations on being true to yourself. I know that takes a lot of courage to quit DIY and frankly, i like your new direction. I still think your blog as a DIY design blog and the reason is I wouldn’t be able to DIY design without your guidance. Your tone on your blog is so genuine that if we were to ever meet in person; i think we’d be fast friends. :)

    Your blog is slowly teaching me confidence and while your mood board for our house gave me lots of idea to make my home more me; it’s also liberating the interior designer in me because, I’ve picked up on what i like and why i like it from your design tips. Your blog teaches people like me (not gifted creatively) that they have it within them to make their home more representative of them. So, thank you for sharing your genuine voice with us.

    • Jackie says:

      Thuy, Thank you for such a lovely and supportive comment! I agree we’d be fast friends…if only I lived in sunny CA!

      Funny that you still think of it as DIY, because you are right. I was just mentioning in a private group today that instead of do-it-yourself, it’s decorate-it-yourself :)

      • Thuy says:

        Decorate-it-yourself is perfect!! Why didn’t i think of that?! Also, our home is open to you if you and your family ever decide to come for visit. Our boys are the same age so they will have playmates. Come for a visit!!

  35. Kay says:

    Thank you for your honesty!!! I recently moved a garage full of DIY projects to a smaller house – some for myself and some I hoped to sell (even though I have never sold a single project. I think I started doing these projects because I could rescue something, could make it cheaper, would keep busy, or some other motivation that I have yet to discover. What I really want to do is relax, enjoy being 71, enjoy my 17 year old grandson before he leaves to start his own life, and just BE, not be a DIYer or a rescuer of things that I don’t need, enjoy the friendship with my daughter, read the books I enjoy so much and the many other things I postponed during my career. You have given me to incentive and courage to empty a messy garage and enjoy these years. Thank you!!

    • Jackie says:

      Kay, sounds like you’ve earned a little relaxing. There are so any things that could be rescued, that you would never finish. You only need to rescue the things you need and really love. Right now it sounds like your time would be better spent with your grandson :)

  36. Knowing who you are is one thing, but *being* who you are takes an entirely different kind of guts and courage! Congrats, Jackie! I love that you are proclaiming who are you, who you aren’t, and what truly makes you happy. I think it’s so easy for bloggers to get sucked into the idea of what they should be, instead of just being who they are. I do hate having to “label” myself… I guess I’d rather be called a lifestyle blogger than a home decor/diy blogger because my blog is really a reflection of me and the life I’m currently living!
    I can’t wait to see where following your passion will take you :)

    • Jackie says:

      Emily, Thank you! My hubby put it too me wisely a long time ago and I was to stubborn to listen or “busy” to take the time to understand. He said, “are you a blog that has a business or a business that has a blog?” Huge difference on so many levels…and what he was saying was irregardless of what type of blog. When I started to listen and understand, I realized my focus was off and I had built a business around what I loved, but built a blog how I thought I was supposed to. He was just trying to help me see the disconnect.

  37. Just had to tell you how encouraging this post was to read. I had my third baby in December and have, for the first time in four or five years, felt completely unmotivated to blog. I’ve been working on creative projects around the house and enjoying them. But I haven’t felt the urge to photograph them, edit photos, write, publish, and promote the content. I felt the same as you…I was at the point where I was feeling obligated to post. I guess you could say having the baby brought me back to reality. I can’t blog 5 to 7 days a week anymore. And I’m okay with it! :)

    • Jackie says:

      Amanda, Congratulations on baby #3! Those little cuties sure have a way of putting everything into perspective. I hope you enjoy this time …and enjoy doing a few projects without making a whole blog production out of them. When you do projects without the before and after photos and all the tutorial writing, it’s amazing how different and carefree the whole process is…I think it is good for the soul every once and a while :)

  38. Lauren says:

    You totally just hit the nail on the head. (No pun intended…har har) I’m starting to notice the over-DIYer in myself too. When the hardware store receipt for all of the supplies ends up costing more than what the darn thing would have cost ready-made at the store, there’s a problem. But I’m starting to learn. Glad I’m not the only one who has made this self-discovery. I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the pride of creating something fabulous that we lose our rationalization. Take a step back, live life, and do something because you enjoy it, not because you feel obligated to. Thank you for posting this. I needed it. :)

  39. Jena says:

    Jackie, it always seems like you post exactly what I’m thinking! I too have long suffered from “if they can do it so can I”. It’s definitely one of those blessing/curse things. Sometimes I just have to sit back and realize I don’t have to DIY everything, or what I’ve started realizing even more, some of my spaces/things/furniture/etc are just fine the way they are. I like what Beth said about blogging being like a hamster wheel. I know I feel like that sometimes!

    • Jackie says:

      Jena, That is a really good point…some things are fine just the way they are. I think we have been programmed to think they aren’t…that there is something else we need, or something better, or something un-done. As another reader said…it seems like their is no end point to decorating anymore. But I think there should be. Sure, no room will last forever, but there should be a point where it is done and you just enjoy it for a while…a long while.

  40. Bev Smith says:

    Thank you for the insightful post, Jackie! What you have to say about DIYing and blogging, etc. is certainly true, but you have also brilliantly spoken about our human natures. It takes courage to do an honest,introspective study of yourself and even more courage to share it with the world. What I take away from your post is that it is important to be honest with yourself and then honor your essential self by living what you believe.Unfortunately, I believe there are many, many folks who haven’t even thought about this. They are hampsters on a wheel. Your post will inspire some to step back and take a look!
    While I have always enjoyed your blog, to me this is the most important, helpful piece you have ever written. I have had the same feelings as you – not necessarily about blogging – but all the same, we reached the same conclusion. The only difference is you did it about 25 years sooner in your life that I did in mine. I sort of mourn those lost years, but I am now forging ahead with a new simpler, more pleasant life. I wish you the same, for all of your many years.

    • Jackie says:

      Bev, Thank you so much. This is the most thoughtful comment. My hubby and I keep saying to each other, in all areas of our life, that we need to simplify our life. Cutting DIY was just the start. Having my boys home with me all summer was the next step :)

  41. […] my down time, I read (again) Jackie’s post on why she quite DIY, plus all of the comments.  I think what I found most interesting about that post is how different […]

  42. I needed to read this, just now. I’m an “on-the-side” blogger, who was literally just trying to map out what writing new content everyday would look like on my blog, and honestly, I started feeling like I needed to fuel Pinterest myself, even as small and lesser noticed I am as a DIY blogger.

    I was just about to jump on the “what random, cool project can I DIY right now, that would generate traffic to my blog, because it is the business thing to do” wagon until I read this. You helped me remember that I’m blogging to: 1) Document the change in my home and self,
    2) Share what I do to inspire others to give it a try too,
    3) Save money (and maybe one day make a small income)

    I’m going to stick with DIYing spaces based on our needs and style, and sharing that, instead of trying to contort myself into a mold that does not serve me or anyone around me. Thank you so much for reminded me to stay grounded. :)

    • Jackie says:

      Yvonne, Your new plan will resonate better with your readers. The “what project can I do to generate traffic” is nearly impossible to predict. I never knew coloring dresser knobs with a Sharpie would be the number one traffic driver to my blog for over the last year. And then projects I put so much more work into and thought were way better, got hardly any traffic. I think the only way to find true joy in blogging, and in turn an audience that loves you, is to be true to yourself. If you love it and it’s in you to do it everyday, then have at it. If not, just know that before you feel “trapped”.

      Best of luck!

  43. Beth says:

    Love this post Jackie! The birth of our number three kiddo has squelched our desire to DIY these days. It’s a time/money balance game, and we are realizing now more than ever that our time is so much more valuable. We take tremendous pride in the projects we’ve tackled during the last few years, but the instant gratification that comes from using a store bought product as is with no extra tweaks is sure nice, and etsy is a great way to support artists and have a home made look at the same time!

    As for bigger projects, we are being amazed at the cost and turnout of professionally hiring out work on our house as well. We recently had our deck power washed, sanded, and stained for under $300. Taking into consider supply and time costs, it was a steal with professional results we didn’t achieve on our own the last time out deck needed staining! And we had a family fun weekend instead of a staining weekend!

    As you said, just because we can do it ourselves, doesn’t mean we should! Enjoy your new found freedom from constant DIY!

    • Jackie says:

      Beth, I love your perspective. Etsy is a great source and an amazing to way to get handmade without hand-making:)

      You must refer me to your deck guy! I have all the cleaner and stain, but no desire to tackle that project. The price you got is amazing. Seriously, email me the info!!

  44. Kelly says:

    I think this is a great article. Even though it is about DIY, I think this relates to a lot of things in life. It’s easy to get so carried away with something that you forget the reasons why you did it in the first place. I know I felt that way about blogging last year and took a break because of it. I wasn’t blogging for the reasons I initially started and was feeling miserable because of it. I’m still not sure if/when I’ll get back to it, but I can definitely relate to what you wrote!

  45. […] her, you should start), and she mentioned Jackie from Teal and Lime, and a post she had done about why she quit DIY.    She talked about doing projects just to have blog content and that she didn’t enjoy it […]

  46. Julia says:

    I only came across your blog when searching for a quick tip to refresh my memory on squaring off the corners of pillows to apply to a custom project I was doing (a padded flat screen TV cover for my boat)but when I saw the title of this post, it intrigued me as it was shocking and in contrast to all your posts. I’m impressed that you were able to sit back and self-reflect but in the end, you should just do what you love and know that you are helping others by sharing. I think its great when people take the time to share on the internet – whether they are tutorials or reviews – they help other people and make the world a better place. There’s very few things that are free in the world, after all.

    • Jackie says:

      Julia, Sorry about the shock value. I am truly proud of my catalog of DIY tutorials, but continuing to grow it wasn’t sustainable for me. I think I can be of better service to more people focusing on what I am really good at. I hope you’ll enjoy my free decorating content, too.

  47. aduke says:

    Looks like I stopped by just in time. I’m newly married and have spent the last couple of me my months trying to figure out how to style our apartment on a low budget. I’ve found that my problem is that I dont even know my taste or what I feel looks good. I’m glad I found your blog and I hope I can learn a few things about styling our apartment. Thanks.

    • Jackie says:

      Welcome Aduke. Be sure to start with the Decorating Style Crash Course video series. Sign up at the top of the page.

  48. Colleen says:

    Look at all of these responses! You hit a nerve! This really struck me, as I’m struggling to find an identity for my own blog. I had been reading certain DIY blogs forever, and 2+ years ago decided to try it out for myself. I quickly discovered that I didn’t feel like creating another project for the sake of the blog because it felt fake. Then I started to feel differently about some blogs because it was obvious that they were just creating projects for content. So I stopped reading because it felt like the spark of creativity and authenticity was gone. I think you spoke a truth that so many bloggers and blog readers were feeling. So before I plan to write a post I always ask myself if it is a project I would be doing if I didn’t have a blog. I’m trying to keep it authentic and not just create content. Oh, and on the flip-side, there are still a handful of top bloggers that consistently dish out amazing, unique projects that blow my mind. And each time I think, that’s why they are so successful.

  49. Gina Amante says:

    I’m not much of a DIY-er since to me, it never looks as good as what I chould just buy. And I’m not saving much other than frustration. Actually, when you had some DIY projects on a design project you did for me…I’ll admit it. I went to Etsy and bought them…LOL! (It was a $10 item.) But with that being said, I love how analytical you are with your life, feelings, etc. You are very “in tune” with yourself.

    • Jackie says:

      Gina, Thank you. I am totally with you. Being a perfectionist myself, I think it made DIY more overwhelming for me…redoing and perfecting.

  50. Anneke says:

    Love this Jackie and love the direction you are going with your blog and services! I’ve definitely felt this on the backside of blogging too – outsourcing is such a sanity saver!

  51. Anne-Marie says:

    I feel guilty for all the half completed DIY projects in my basement… I can’t imagine the pressure you felt to constantly churn out more and more blog posts full of DIY projects. Good for you for stepping back and realizing that what once made you happy turned into a burden. Good luck in your transformation!

    • Jackie says:

      Anne-Marie, Doesn’t that stink? The backlog of projects, whether you are a DIY bigger or not. I am learning to let go and learning not to take on so much. Thank you.

  52. Elizabeth says:

    Hi there! I’ve been popping into your blog here and there, and I love it! I also love this post….I am quite the amateur DIY-er, and the definition of a Craigslist Addict, but I have forced myself to separate from it because it is definitely consuming. And at some point, it becomes less financially savvy and then….what’s the point? I have one last project in my garage to finish and I’m hoping that I can focus on finishing that and also getting some projects done around my house that DON’T require purchasing new materials or making my schedule around Craigslist transactions.

    Thank you so much for sharing. This reminds me of why I need to simplify. :) I will definitely be revisiting your blog much more often! You are awesome!

    • Jackie says:

      Elizabeth, wow. You are a braver woman than me. I had to work myself up to thrift store shopping. I have never purchased from Craigslist. I just couldn’t get into all the legwork required. I applaud you for realizing you wanted to take a step back when it became too consuming (great word). I hope to you see you back around here :)

  53. ananda says:

    dear jackie, i so appreciate your wisdom and courage!!! i have been thinking a lot about how to truly have fun diy and not turn it into a blog production. i will be revisiting your words often. thank you so much!! x

  54. Gwen says:

    Hi Jackie,

    I love this post so much. Recently, I started blogging full time. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it happen until I took a very good look at my life and my finances. I came up with an editorial schedule that changed my life. I’ve incorporated several “features” that aren’t DIY and it’s opened up my blog in a way I couldn’t have imagined. Now I can take the time to do the DIY I want to do, when I can and it works with my budget and life. So, although I really imagined my blog beind a total DIY/Home Decor type blog, it’s now much more of a lifestyle blog. It makes me happy, because I’m looking at it from more of a “how can I help people and give them great value” rather than “look at what all I can do, yo.”

    Thanks for sharing your story. I know it’s resonated with SO many!

  55. […] was a shift that I had been feeling for a while and then I read this post about why I quit DIY and it really verbalized a lot of the things I was feeling. This part in […]

  56. […] nails it in this post about why she quit DIY. I feel like I could have written it myself. I think we can all identify to some degree with what […]

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