While I’ve been renovating my home since 2014, I always take my time on each job. It’s not a race and I cannot be rushed along until I get things right. I’m still saving money on each job, so what’s the problem?
And there’s a number of reasons why I think everyone should cautiously work at their own pace:
- I’m always weighing up the risks of what could go wrong on each job
- I’m learning while I work, so don’t always know what the next step is
- Rushing things can lead to costly mistakes or permanent errors I may not want to live with
- I only like using power tools when I absolutely have to as I haven’t had any formal training
- I like to stay safe and I’m not a fan of pain
I also have to rely on tales from more experienced people have witnessed, like my subscribers, YouTube tutorials and my Dad who’s a professional.
So while I’ve been renovating on a budget, I’ve also been slowly building up my safety-wear collection. Each new job comes with a whole new set of risks and I don’t want to face any irreparable damage. If you haven’t got much in the way of safety gear, then here’s a few of my most reached for items since getting started:
- Gloves: prevents cuts, slices, exposure to chemicals (like cement) and splinters
- Goggles: prevents chemicals, sawdust, wood or masonry chips flying in to my eyes
- Clothing that covers all my skin: prevents chemicals, grazes/knocks or even sunburn
- Knee pads or kneeling pad: protects the knee from chemicals or wear and tear on the joints
- Respirator: prevents breathing in dust or toxic fumes
- Safety boots with steel toe caps: prevents broken or painful toes!
No matter how big or small my job is, I also have to wear appropriate attire so that I lead by example. And if I take you back to when I grouted my own kitchen after tiling, I really learnt this the hard way. You really do need to take a lot of what DIY YouTubers say with a pinch of salt.
At the time of researching grouting, I saw absolutely no one wearing gloves for the job. Not even the bigger YouTubers. But, I should have done my own research and read the back of the packet for warning labels. Because what I hadn’t realised (and no one had pointed it out), was that grout has cement in it.
In fact, the other day I was researching cement planters. Most people don’t wear gloves in these videos, and to someone who’s never worked with cement before, they might not realise that it burns the skin.
So, after two very small, but painful burns on the ends of two fingers, I now ALWAYS wear gloves and a mask when handling cement. Oh, and keep children and pets away, too.
One combination I haven’t been a fan of though is wearing a respirator alongside goggles. Yes, it’s essential at times, but it often results in fogged up eyes and restricts my vision. It’s really annoying, actually! So when Dickies offered me a selection of three safety pieces to try, these fogbuster goggles were the first on my list. They’re far more comfortable and less intrusive.
I also swapped my very boyish cheapie black steel toe caps for Dickies’ ladies ankle safety boots. I already love these so much because the style is almost identical to my old faithful hiking boots with ankle supports. So even if I headed to the shops right after a day of DIY, I don’t feel like a woman out of place. Sadly I haven’t found much on the market for women’s safety.
As for trousers, most of you have probably seen how I’ve been slumming it. I mostly pull out a pair of old paint stained jeans (I have a lot) and wear them in to the ground.
I’ve been fairly happy with my waste not want not trouser set up. However, I’ve increasingly found myself needing a multi pocket number like my new Dickies Redhawk Overalls. What you don’t see on camera is me swearing at myself because I’ve misplaced small but important things like a pencil, screw or nail. Or very frequently a tape measure. I could go on?
I recently treated myself to a tool belt which I’ve found a great solution, but had to opt for a child’s one because the only ladies’ one was hot pink. Even I wouldn’t take myself seriously if I wore it. But with these, I love how it’s just one outfit to worry about slipping on. So I was able to put them through their paces last week while my Dad taught me how to make his sawhorses in his woodyard.
However, I knew I wouldn’t be so keen when I’d need to nip to the toilet, but that was a sacrifice I was willing to take. It’s now great to have the option for a more intense day of DIY. They’re also a surprisingly great fit with a cinched waist, zip, velcro fasteners and plenty of room for one layer underneath.
I know I sometimes get a bit of stick for wearing safety gear on the smallest of jobs, but if I didn’t wear them, someone would be even quicker to pull me up on it. After all, people like me tend to watch others’ videos to apply techniques in their own homes.
So while I play things safely, it makes for a much more fun and rewarding learning experience. And it’s also why I never touch gas and electrics.
What’s your go-to safety pieces when you’re working on a project?
A video will be coming soon on how I made my sawhorses. But for now, here’s my latest flower window boxes with gallows brackets while testing my Dickies safety wear!
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Disclosure: I was gifting safety pieces from Dickies which helped my latest (and future) projects. All opinions are honest.