We have a very apt guest post from Free To Pursue given all my recent DIY work! I’ll keep the introduction short and sweet and will just say thanks again to F2P for writing such a great post (the first one is here, in case you missed it!). Over to you, F2P…
I moved a lot growing up. I moved eight times by the time I was fourteen years old. In that time, I lived in everything from a 300 sq ft home to a 4,000+ sq ft home. Some homes were dumps, others castles, and others still were in some state in between. As a kid I really didn’t much care because I always had a relatively comfortable place to sleep, food to eat and loving, hard-working parents.
The reason I moved so often was that my parents decided to make additional cash flipping homes. They’d buy a home in need of some TLC, fix it up and sell it at a profit. So, like clockwork, we moved every two years or so.
House flippers know only one reality: how to live in chaos, because by the time a home is nice and liveable, it’s time to look for the next project. From an early age, I learned that we sometimes need to resort to “plan Bs” in life, such as using the local restaurant’s washroom while a bathroom’s being renovated or doing dishes in the tub. I also learned that it’s possible to create a makeshift bedroom at the end of a hallway (in fact, as a ten-year-old I thought it was pretty cool to live like that for a while).
I learned a lot living in this state of flux. By watching and helping my parents (mostly by staying out of their way, really), I learned:

1. The value of hard work. The satisfaction my mom and dad derived from taking something from ugly and broken to beautiful and functional was priceless.
2. That moving regularly is not that big of a deal, though I was thankful that I didn’t have to change schools every time.
3. That some families have to live in run down homes and apartments, which is much different than what my parents were doing—choosing to live in them temporarily to restore them for others to enjoy.
4. That habitable spaces come in all shapes, sizes and styles and that you can make pretty much anything work, at least for a while.
5. That a living space doesn’t define who you are. Building materials are just building materials and that the finished product is only an illusion of perfection. Knowing how the “guts” work makes me look at all home finishings in a different light: a sink is just a sink, a light fixture is just a light fixture and, soon after you’ve made the all-important purchasing decision, it just blends into the background.
6. Gratitude for all that homes do for us—you really get to be thankful when the basics are sometimes missing or offline (plumbing, heating, windows, electrical, open floors or roof, sewer connection, front steps, walls, cupboards and counters).
7. The value of self-sufficiency. A great deal of what they did in each home was a learning process and they were never afraid of trying to fix or build something and that the end result was always better than not having tried at all.
8. That very little thought seems to go into home design and layout and that there’s much room for improvement. One of the first things my parents worked on was usually redesigning the home’s floor plan to match the natural flow of daily life.
9. That making home improvements doesn’t require a loan. Pay-as-you-go is much more effective when you do things yourself in your spare time because you can only work so fast. Purchases always outpace progress.
10. That bigger and newer is not always better. In fact, it’s often worse. The home I liked the least was the last ones my parents built. This was not a flip. It was built from scratch and it was big, it was showy and it was worse than any place I’d ever lived, despite the fact that I had all the space a girl could ever hope for (large bedroom, my own bathroom and a walk-in closet).
As a result of learning the above, I truly believe that what matters far more than the look and features of the building that houses my family and friends at any given time is who I share the space with and what memories it can help me create.
It’s easier to build a house than it is to make a home but the latter is far more rewarding.