To Buy Instead of DIY

I’m a HUGE DIY fan. Let me repeat, I’m a HUGE DIY fan. If there’s even the SLIGHTEST chance that I can make something on my own cheaper instead of buying, I do it without hesitation. Now that’s not to say that all my DIY endeavors turn out successfully though. I’ve got enough Pinterest Fails to fill this blog with posts for years to come. Yet, when DIYing, I always remember to keep my expectations a little lower knowing that the homemade option doesn’t always turn out looking exactly like the store bought solution.

Alright now that I put my huge disclaimer, while simultaneously declaring my love for DIYing, here’s my top list of things that I will forever Buy Instead of DIY. Some of these I’ve tried to make myself, others I’ve seen on Pinterest and just saw a disaster coming along.

Cement Planters

I love love love the new trend in the minimalist cement planters that are all the rage right now. And I equally love that when something comes in trend, creative DIY bloggers come up with so many amazing and more affordable DIY options. Now admittedly I’ve never tried one of these DIY cement planters before, I have read the supply list needed to create these. Being frugal by nature, I know that I could buy a ready made planter on sale much cheaper than I could buy the supplies needed to make one. Plus I don’t risk messing up the DIY and spending money on nothing.

Front Door Mat

I always want a fun decorative front door mat that instantly shows my guests how creative and artsy I am. Every time I’ve tried to DIY a mat, the paint never lasts long enough and it seems like buying a neutral mat to decorate costs just the same as a cute one on sale. One last reason why I’m not a fan of decorating mats & rugs …. I use my front door mat, well AS A MAT. That means I wipe my shoes on the mat to get out dirt and snow. I’ve yet to find a DIY tutorial that is durable enough to last when people actually use the mat.

Homemade Dish Detergent

Oh how I’ve wanted this one to work so many times. To my dismay, Joe (my husband) was right. The homemade dish detergent options I’ve tried just don’t compare to the store bought ones. Over and over we ended up washing the dishes by hand after the dishwasher DIY solution didn’t get the dirt out. Or running the dishwasher a second time. Many of the recipes I’ve found have rather unique ingredients that I definitely didn’t have on hand and some weren’t super cheap. So while it might be marginally cheaper to DIY this adding in the extra work and extra dishwasher runs, we’ve probably lost money on this DIY.


There’s lots of DIY ways to make your own confetti and all of them are time consuming, especially if you need A LOT of confetti. Hole punching for hours likely doesn’t appeal to any of us. The Dollar Store has great options for extremely affordable confetti options. While Amazon’s options aren’t as cheap, we found a couple really reasonable packets. Like these, these, and these.

Window Cleaner

Here’s another DIY that Joe pleaded with me to not to try. I marvelled at the idea of grabbing a couple cheap kitchen products and magically turning them in to a completely streak-free window cleaner. The problem? None of the options I tried were ever as streak-free as the tried and true Windex. The biggest problem was that if I tried to re-clean the windows with the DIY solution, the windows would just streak up more. So far, Joe = 2, Lindsay = 0 on the DIY front.

Baby Gate

Yes, baby gates can totally get expensive. Just do a search on Amazon and you’ll find gates that cost just as much as baby beds. So I can totally understand why so many DIY options came about. Many of them are so creative, using plastic piping, curtains, shower curtain holders, etc. But those supplies can also add up quickly. We bought a super cheap bare bone basic baby gate on Amazon before we brought home our little puppy and it’s been working great! i’m so glad we didn’t spend money on one of these expensive ones, but I’m also glad we didn’t try to DIY it.

Wine Bottle Glasses

With the amount of wine I drink, I was obsessed with the idea of turning my wine bottles in to SOMETHING …. anything! I saw tutorials online showing how to cut wine bottles in half to make drinking glasses. I think I must have had blinders on because as I read through the tutorials explaining how to literally light the bottle on fire with lighter fluid to cut it in half I continued to stay as determined to make this as I was before. Fortunately Joe, again, reminded me that risking burning down our home so that I could drink my water out of a wine bottle probably wasn’t worth it. Joe = 3, Lindsay = 0.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about? Here’s a Pinterest search to show you some examples.

If you just love the idea of the wine bottle glasses, you can BUY the completed project (no fire in the house required).

Any DIY Fails that you’ve sworn off??






  1. October 11, 2016 / 11:26 am

    haha this list is perfect. I was just having this discussion the other day. I love a good DIY but I have come to value my time a bit more (a lesson I learned after the cute balloon arch tutorial that was “oh so easy” had a large group of coworkers blowing up balloons for two days and me pricking myself with sharp chicken wire). My two biggest “just buy its” are laundry detergent (I think I saved $1 and spent 2 hours that I will never get back) and grout cleaner (PS lemon did not clean the stains and I ended up spending 4 hours trying to mop up the baking soda mess off the floor… and the grout didn’t look any cleaner to me). I feel most cleaning products are definitely worth purchasing!

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      November 20, 2016 / 12:44 pm

      Emily I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for the tip about grout cleaner. That was on my list to look in to. I’ll definitely buy that one 🙂

  2. October 14, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    You two are too funny. I agree that a lot of the DIY home cleaners just don’t compare to store bought. I tried out homemade detergent for a month and noticed that my whites were dulling. Sometimes it’s best to buy it.

  3. October 18, 2016 / 5:17 pm

    There aren’t too many things I wouldn’t DIY, but I do agree with a lot that you’ve featured. I can get behind most of them!

  4. October 21, 2016 / 10:35 am

    Appreciate your perspective. I happen to DIY and design handmade items for the pure pleasure of it, and not necessarily to save money. I stick with my natural skills and don’t have high expectations when delving into something new. I got a kick out of the wine bottle glass example; I always thought that was a silly idea 🙂 Not sure if you’ve tried every homemade glass cleaner recipe under the sun, but I’m sharing mine with you. A little old lady passed her “secret” concoction on to me many, many years ago; since then, I’ve never purchased window cleaner. Here it is – one part water, one part ammonia and one part rubbing alcohol. Give it a try.

  5. Rania
    October 21, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    lol…I think your attempts were far more dangerous than mine. I think the worst DIY I tried that utterly failed was painting a plywood ikea hutch that just turned out horrible and a sea urchin with the ball base made with non-bake clay which after a while, hardened, cracked, broke, and left crumbs and dust all over my dining table. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s nice to know you’re not alone!!

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