Anyone who knows me knows that this is typically the time of year when I break out the Wickes voucher codes, Homebase special offers and B&Q money-off coupons and really ‘go to town’ on improving my home for the New Year… even if I do sometimes end up getting things wrong and just leaving it to a professional in the end! 

As a matter of fact, there are some things that you really must leave to a professional, as they’re just too difficult and dangerous otherwise. The DIY tasks I mean, not the professionals! If you really are determined to ‘Do It Yourself’ in 2016, however, I would really, really, really, really recommend the following tips: 

Plan everything carefully!

We’ve all had those times when we’ve been retiling the kitchen only to run out of the tile we need right near the end, or found ourselves rushing to get all of the wallpapering done by the end of the day as we underestimated how long it would take – leaving loads of creases in the paper as a result.

What’s the moral here? To plan, plan and plan again! Decide what exactly you want to do in advance, what you will need to do it – including all materials and equipment – and how much it will cost. Leave yourself enough time to get everything done, and be sure to follow all safety instructions!

Put together a good toolkit!

With the right toolkit, you will be able to plough ahead with your home improvement projects without any undignified rush to B&Q or Wickes to buy something you missed! It should contain such items as a 5m tape measure, set of screwdrivers, Stanley knife, spirit level and small adjustable spanner.

If you are worried about making sure that your toolkit really does contain everything, just buy one of the ready made ones available from stores like Argos. If you’ve got a bit more money to spend, you might also want to throw in some paintbrushes, a large adjustable spanner and stud detector. Those are the extras I find most useful, anyway!

Use a ladder correctly!

Stepladders can make such a difference to your ability to do DIY safely and reach those hard-to-reach spots – so step make sure you have a decent one before getting to work!

Lightweight aluminium ladders are the best type, but make sure you engage the locks when you open yours, and when using it, avoid leaning out sideways too far to prevent yourself toppling over with the ladder. 

Make sure you’re definitely safe!

Again, this is something that I really can’t emphasise enough – “better safe than sorry” and all that! Whatever you are doing, but especially when you are working with glass, spray paint or other possibly hazardous materials, you will almost certainly need some protective clothing, including a dust mask, safety goggles and gloves.

There are some other great common sense tips to remember – such as always cutting knifes away from you rather than towards you, and always switching off the power and removing the fuse or circuit breaker (MCB) before checking or fixing electrical appliances or connections. 

I can’t cover absolutely everything here (not least as I’m not a professional), so please, don’t be afraid to look up safety advice from a reputable and professional source before doing DIY work in 2016.

Don’t be too scared off by all of this advice – it’s only there to help you to really get into it, while keeping yourself safe! Join me by spending all of those lovely DIY voucher codes that you can easily find online, and you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing it earlier! Good luck!!