DIY Time

People begin DIY projects for many different reasons.

Posted Apr 16, 2013

Many people are starting to plow through all of the do-it-yourself (DIY) home projects they’ve daydreamed about during the winter months – others get to their lists around the end of October, but procrastination . . . we’ll cover that topic some other time.

DIY can range from room painting to room construction, and there are nearly as many psychological reasons for starting these projects are there are tasks to be accomplished. Some people love to do-it-themselves because they can create places to live that are unmistakably different from all the other homes in their neighborhood or sometimes from all the other homes on the planet. Others relish DIY because it gives them more control over their world; they are closely involved with the design and construction process. Some DIY-ers are motivated by the desire to create spaces that they feel send the right messages about who they are as a person – which may be that they live an environmentally responsible life or that they are concerned about physical fitness and need an open space indoors for exercising on cold or rainy days. DIY-ing can also be a family or cultural tradition or a way to save money. Completed projects can provide the DIY-ers with a feeling of satisfaction with a “job well done” that becomes almost addictive.

Risto Moisio, Eric Arnould, and James Gentry investigated DIY-ing and have written a paper on the topic that will soon appear in the Journal of Consumer Research. A press release from the journal about this paper reports their findings: “For upper class male consumers, DIY home improvement offers the means of unleashing the inner suburban craftsman who relishes physical labor. In contrast to their day jobs, upper class men enjoy the process of toiling away on various projects and feeling self-fulfilled in the process. For lower class male consumers, a different pattern emerges. Work around the house allows lower class men to assert their identities, and in particular, construct an identity of the family handyman relative to their female partners. In this way, lower class men find meaning in their DIY home improvement projects as a masculine form of caring for their families and providing them with better homes than otherwise possible.”

DIY-ing is clearly important to many of us - the Saturday crowds at home improvement supply stores certainly seem motivated.