The DIY Dichotomy
Yet many people want to use the extra downtime the pandemic has imposed to tackle household improvements, maintenance, and repairs. Fortunately, purchasing materials, tools, and other supplies needn’t take you inside the store. Businesses are now making it much easier to get your home-improvement products without contact. Here are 10 ways to reduce your risk while still working through your to-do list.
If you need a wide variety of supplies, head to the website of one of the big-name home improvement centers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware. These have-it-all centers maintain their own delivery trucks and will deliver almost anything the store sells, including lumber, drywall, paint, fencing materials, appliances, and tile right to your doorstep within a day or two. For many products, you can even request a delivery time that works with your schedule.
Pick It Up at the Curb
Many large retailers, including all big-name home improvement centers, now offer curbside pickup for items that are in stock at your local store. The process is simple: Place an order and pay online as usual and then choose the curbside delivery option during checkout. Typically, you’ll receive an email when the order is ready–often within just a few hours. Drive to the store, call their main number to let them know you’re waiting (most retailers offering curbside delivery have signs with the phone number prominently displayed in front of the store), pop your trunk, and within a few minutes, a store associate will bring out the order and you’ll be on your way.
Hire a Shopper
If health issues or other concerns make it unwise for you to shop in person, you can hire someone to do the errand for you from a website like TaskRabbit. A “tasker” can do both the shopping and the delivery, or simply pick up and deliver an order you placed yourself online. You’ll need to enter the details of your task, including the supplies needed and the store(s) where they should be purchased. You’ll then see available taskers in your area, along with their hourly rates (rates depend on area and task, but average around $18 to $25 per hour for simple shopping chores) and reviews from previous customers. Once you choose your tasker, you can set your desired delivery time–often that very same day. The tasker will pay for your supplies, and then invoice you for the cost plus the hourly rate. All payment is handled entirely online.
Fill Your Toolbox at Amazon
For the homeowner or renter hoping to tackle a few projects around the house during quarantine, but is new to DIY and lacking basic tools, Amazon sells everything you need for a variety of tasks and repairs, often at lower cost than home improvement centers. Load a virtual cart with power tools, basic hand tools such as hammers and screwdrivers, sealants, glue, drop cloths, and work gloves, and expect delivery to your door in a day or two.
Find Flooring Contact-Free
If new flooring is on your to-do list but laying traditional wall-to-wall carpet, tile, or hardwood is beyond your skill level, consider simpler-to-install materials that you can order online. If carpet is your preference, check out Flor for ingenious carpet “tiles” that attach to each other with adhesive tabs–no glue, pads, or nails required. There are dozens of designs to choose from, including colorful and neutral options, and you can create an area rug or cover the entire floor. Fans of vinyl tiles or click-together laminate flooring can find materials and supplies available for delivery from most large home improvement centers. However, if you’d like free samples, bargain prices, and flat-rate delivery or curbside pickup where available, then check out the huge, affordable selection at LL Flooring.
Pick Up Some Paint
Painting is perhaps the best bang-for-your-buck project a DIYer can undertake. A one-gallon can, often well under $50, can give a whole room an entirely new vibe. But choosing the right shades can be tricky online, as colors don’t always look the same on a computer screen as they do in real life. The solution? Forward-thinking paint companies–including Behr, Clare, and Backdrop–now offer large peel-and-stick sample swatches. Order samples online for home delivery, whittle down your color choices, and then order paint, brushes, and other supplies for prompt home delivery.
Welcome New Wallpaper
Wallpaper is enjoying a resurgence for good reason: Not only have patterns moved far beyond your grandma’s fussy florals, today’s wallpaper isn’t the same hard-to-hang, harder-to-remove material of the past. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the vast array of designs to suit any decorating style, many in peel-and-stick formats that are easy to put up (no messy glue!) and take down (no damaged walls!). So why not order samples and bargain-priced full rolls of wallpaper from most of the biggest manufacturers at Wallpaper Warehouse. If you prefer a more boutique selection, try Lulu and Georgia or Jungalow. Whatever wallpaper you choose, orders will be promptly shipped to your doorstep.
Shop the Virtual Lumber Yard
Ready to build a deck, put up a fence, or create a bookcase for the living room? Lumber will be at the top of your list. Big-name home improvement centers are a good source for basic woods like pine and cedar, as well as engineered woods like MDF or particleboard. But if you’re looking for finer woods, including walnut or cherry, or want exotic lumber, such as mahogany or purple heart, find them contact-free at Woodworkers Source. Keep in mind, however, that lumber is heavy, so expect to pay steep delivery fees.
Ideally, you’d purchase buy live plants in person at a nursery or home improvement center, but you can satisfy your green thumb while sticking to your stay-at-home policy. For small shrubs and colorful perennial flowers, Proven Winners sells a wide range of healthy plants for your outdoor garden. If you’re pining for houseplants, try Amazon, Etsy, or Bloomscape. Veering toward veggies? While famous for seeds, Burpee also offers vegetable plants ready for a new home in your garden. Be aware, though, that shipping can be pricey when buying plants online, and availability is often limited to certain times of the year.
Related: The Best Places to Buy Plants Online
Minimize In-Person Contact When It’s Necessary
Pandemic or no pandemic, there are still times when in-person shopping is required. Maybe you have questions that aren’t easily answered online, or you need extensive advice on choosing a product, designing a project, or making a repair. Or perhaps you wish to patronize a small hardware or home improvement store that doesn’t have a comprehensive website or offer quick delivery. Whatever the situation, when shopping in person, reduce contact and risk of exposure by maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet between yourself, fellow shoppers, and salespeople, wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose, and visiting the store during off-peak hours. Remember to use hand sanitizer after paying for your purchase, and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you are able.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!