So do you know your p-traps from your u-bends? Are your walls plasterboard or concrete? Do you care? Many of us resort to the local phone book to find a trademan when we need small jobs done around the house, going with the GAMI principle (Get A Man In) rather than getting out the hammer and drill. You could consider giving Home Jane a call instead.
If you fancy tackling some home improvements or repairs yourself but haven't a clue where to start, or worse you're worried you'll make everything even more of a mess, then try Tools for the Terrified. It's aimed at building up your DIY knowledge so that you can confidently approach basic decorating, plumbing and electrics. Londonist was invited along to the last course in Bethnal Green and arrived bearing a hammer drill, tentative optimism and an exceptionally poor track record at putting curtains up.
We covered an immense amount of content over the course of the day, starting with building an essential toolkit and choosing equipment that suits your needs - a supermarket tape measure might be as good for you as the professional one. Within an hour we'd donned safety glasses to start fixing shelf brackets to stud walls. Everyone had a go at cutting wood to size using jigsaws, before moving on decorating basics including paint choices, applying filler and finishing.
Plumbing and electrics were covered after lunch, including taking apart taps to stop drips, by changing o-rings and washers as well as the reasons why you need to find your water stopcock before you actually need it. The tutors all work for Home Jane as professional handywomen, and their teaching expertise comes from years of experience in the trades. Our class was small and they were happy to help with individual issues, and as the attendees variously lived in a Peabody flat, a 30's block and a new-build, it was useful for everyone to hear about various real-life examples.
Everyone agreed that by the end of the day we had certainly learned enough to take on those niggling projects that get ignored, and to do them safely and to a good standard. We'd consider prepping for bigger jobs, and be much more confident in dealing with professionals when getting quotes for major works. In short, no more whistling-through-teeth builders for us.
Book on the next Tools For The Terrified course here.