Why we reckon DIY skills aren’t quite dead yet

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

So, have people given up doing it themselves? Over the last week we’ve seen yet another slew of stories on the subject of how young people today simply aren’t interested in DIY. Here’s one of the better ones.

As usual, it seems to be based on the findings of more surveys by organisations with a distinct interest in persuading people that they’re better off paying an expert than trying to tackle a problem themselves.

However, here at AllTheToolsYouNeed.com we remain unconvinced. And here’s why.

Firstly the picture of a generation hunched over their Kindles and iPhones, while accurate in some respects, is nevertheless a pretty incomplete one. It ignores, for example, the rise of the maker movement – a diverse group spanning a wide age range in Europe, America and beyond who are committed to tinkering, dismantling, fiddling, creating and re-imagining.

This takes in computing, electronics, DIY and DIWO (Do It With Others) and even extends out to crafts. And, crucially, many makers are also committed to working with their kids and getting them learning about the joy of practical projects when they are as young as possible.

And alongside makers and their kids come those with a commitment to sustainable living. There’s been a huge surge of interest recently in doing more with less – of which re-using and repairing is a very significant part. Just check out the waiting list for your local allotment site, for example, and you’ll find out just how strongly the DIY ethos is alive and well – just expressed in a slightly wider sense than simply putting up a shelf.

And we wouldn’t say conventional DIY is exactly struggling, either. High-street retailers are organising in-store classes which appear to be very popular with the public – certainly, whenever we mention them we see a large number of people coming to the site and searching for information.

So we think it’s a slightly bigger picture than the surveys might suggest. And we’re quite sure that people will never really relinquish the pleasure and satisfaction of doing things with their hands.

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