DIY or Buy: My Shopping Evolution, De-volution and Revolution

by | Oct 21, 2016 | Lifestyle

I used to be hella into DIY. And admittedly, not super-high quality DIY. Really easy stuff like taking XXXL band tshirts and making them ultra-tiny. Spray painting logos onto backpacks. Knitting. I had not one, but two zines. And then, in the past few years, that severely dropped off.

Sure, I did some DIY projects recently. I made sweet coasters and put cyclocross photos onto tote bags for friends. I wrote articles on what projects you could do with old bike parts (like a wallet made of tubes!) for Bicycling. I even tailored a bunch of cycling vests and made changing skirts for teammates. And sure, that put me in the category of craftier than most, but—if you noticed—that crafty stuff was all for other people.

I, on the other hand, had become a consumer.

Maybe it was all the magazines and lifestyle sites that I started reading, and the minimalist aesthetic that I was drawn to. I got more into brands, and the cool stuff I was seeing on other blogger’s sites. Combine that with the fact that training and racing and traveling took up time and took me away from a sewing machine (that, to be honest, I wasn’t super patient with on a good day), and it added up to really missing out on some DIY magic.

This week though, I started to realize that I miss the old part of me. I was chatting with a young girl who wants to start a magazine, and it reminded me so much of myself at that age (and I can’t wait to explain zine culture to her!). It reminded me of that gritty punk rock ethos of building things yourself.

That was great timing since we’re currently building out our van. So, instead of grumping about finding custom-made Ford Transit Connect accessories, I’m embracing the process of putting things together ourselves. Peter has some really cool designs and plans for the setup, and we’re working on it more in the next few days. It’s actually way more exciting to think about how to build it on the cheap than what to buy.

Beyond that, I’m starting to think more about my stuff in general. For example—I’ve been really looking for a very specific size and style of tote bag for everything that I’m always carrying around. Weirdly hard to find since I have specifications for both size and style, and some zippers/enclosure issues. I realized though, that it’s just not that hard for me to make one, if I have the raw materials. So, rather than drop the $175 I almost did on Madewell’s tote that was *almost* perfect, I’m going to hold out and make one (hopefully from some used leather lying around the house) that actually does what I want.

I’m obviously not going to not buy new stuff ever again. Let’s be honest, I love clothes. And bike gear doesn’t lend itself to DIY. But now, I’m going to try to be more intentional, and think about if I can make or repurpose what it is that I’m looking for.

…And if anyone has any great building tips for Ford Transit Connects, we’re all ears.

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