Do it yourself
Do it yourself or DIY means that rather than buying something, a person does it themself.
An example is home improvement done by the householder without the aid of paid professionals. The term was in fact not coined in the 1960s by British TV presenter and craftsman Barry Bucknell although he is often credited with its invention.
This is applied commonly to home improvement but also applies to other areas. Do-it-yourself has obviously had a lengthy history around the world, since through the ages of camp life, and later village and town life, the most common situation has been for the people living in a home to take care of it themselves (and, for most of the centuries now past, even to make their own tools, clothing, etc.). In recent times, rural and small-town people have continued the old tradition, which is why small-town hardware stores were traditionally so important. However, in North America and much of Europe, population has moved increasingly into city and suburban environs.
DIY in North America
The DIY scene we know today is actually a re-introduction (often to city and suburb dwellers) of the old pattern of personal involvement in home or apartment upkeep, or the making of clothing, or maintaining of cars, computers, or any material aspect of living. For decades, magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, and The Family Handyman offered a way to keep current on useful information.
In the 1970s, DIY spread through the North American population of college- and recent-college-graduate age groups. In part, this involved simply the renovation of older homes. But it also related to some extent to various projects expressing the social and environmental vision of the '60s and early '70s.
A young American visionary named Stewart Brand, working with friends and family, and initially using the most basic of typesetting and page-layout tools, created issue number one of The Whole Earth Catalog in late 1968. It was subtitled : Access to Tools.
The first Catalog and its successors used a broad definition of the term "tools." There were informational tools, such as books (often technical in nature), professional journals, courses, classes, and the like. And there were specialized, designed items, such as carpenter's and mason's tools, garden tools, welding equipment, chainsaws, fiberglass materials, etc. – even early personal computers. (The designer J. Baldwin acted as editor for the inclusion of these items, writing many of the reviews himself.
The Catalog's publication both emerged from and spurred the great wave of experimentalism, convention-breaking, and do-it-yourself attitude of the late 1960s. Often copied, the Catalog appealed to a wide cross-section of people in North America and had a broad influence.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the publication of how-to books and widely distributed magazines for the handy amateur increased. When home video (VCRs) came along, the potentials in demonstrating processes audio-visually were immediately grasped by DIY instructors. As with television programs, presentation could be dynamic and was not limited in the ways that still photos and written text might be.
The DIY industry has grown markedly since the 1980s as DIY has become a popular weekend pastime for people wanting to improve their living conditions (and the value of their house) without the expense of paying someone to do it. There are many DIY shops to supply materials and tools.
The term "DIY" itself is generally less commonly-used in North America than it is in the United Kingdom. Speakers of American English usually say or spell out "do-it-yourself" without acronymizing the word.
Common DIY tasks range from:
- putting up shelves.
- fitting wardrobes
- general repair and maintenance
to more advanced tasks such as:
- DIY Audio/video equipment.
- DIY furniture making.
- adding rooms
- rewiring houses – mains power or Cat-5.
Most DIY tasks are within the range of most people who can read and follow instructions, although DIY has been responsible for an increase in injuries at home.
- HomeownerNet DIY Gateway
- DIY Audio A web sited devoted to audio (and some video) do-it-yourselfers
- repair and upgrade instructions for laptops and notebooks
- repair and upgrade instructions for PDAs and handheld computers
- repair and upgrade instructions for mobile music and video players
- repair and upgrade instructions for mobile (cell) phones
- An active DIY forum