Now hold on, I hear you cry, aren’t ALL one’s parties DIY parties (unless you pay squillions of pounds for an events organiser that could never be as good as this site)?! Well, my dear friend – ye have misunderstood the premise…
We’re coming up to the summer bank holiday, people have moved from student accommodation to houses, and there are lots of people going “oh crap, I’ve got annual leave left!” and deciding to do a bit of home improvement. Having had several conversations with people over the weekend, the consensus seems to be ” x job really needs doing, but I don’t know where to start and it’ll take forever.” This is a problem, but its one that is easily solved – as most problems are – with a party!
This scenario reminded me of a party I once went to with my family. We went to stay with friends in Taunton, and lots of other people did too. They had a fab old coachhouse with a garden backing on to a canal, but at the bottom of this garden was a big old shed that had been there since the dawn of time (at least). It was riddled with various giant thorny plants, and most of the wood had rotted. It really wasn’t your average Argos shed – it was HUGE. However, with so many friends on hand, the weekend became known as the “Taking down the Shed” party. The thing was cleared in a weekend – something one or two people couldn’t have managed in a week.
I was pretty young at the time, but was entertained by helping with little tasks here and there, and a trip to a travelling fairground further down the canal with some of the older children. Much excellent food and drink was had (including curry for breakfast at one point), and the Taking down the Shed party has gone down as one of the greatest weekends in the history of Mankind. Or Taunton at least. It was always planned to be followed up by a “Putting up the Shed” party – called for by the workforce who had taken the first one down because everyone had so much fun. Sadly, that party never came as our friends moved, but we still talk about that one.
SO! This party idea works – we have hands on experience. It also saves much time, makes a boring job a lot of fun and saves a fortune in labour costs – I don’t think I could love it any more. Here be some tips on how to take advantage of your mates this opportunity!
Keep everyone well fed and watered. You’re not paying them, so keep them happy with tea, coffee, snacks and a meal at the end of the day to say thank you. Pick some easy things that can be prepared in advance so you’re not skiving in the kitchen all day!
2. Be Prepared
You shouldn’t have to be prepared for the death of the king as the picture suggests, but the hyenas (your mates) definitely have a glimmer of potential here. They just need the right tools. Buy the paint/wallpaper/decking beforehand – you’ll waste loads of time if you don’t, and as every girl knows, you just can’t shop efficiently in a group.
3. Have a cunning plan
Your workforce is assembled, paintbrushes at the ready. Now is NOT the time to start faffing over which shade of puse you want to paint your feature wall. I’m a big culprit of starting a job thinking one thing, then changing my mind half way through. Fine if you’re on your own, but this will nark people off – especially if you want them to undo a morning’s work because of your whims. BTW – Puse? No. Just no.
4. Too many cooks…
Now, the Taking Down the Shed Party required many hands, as may many big garden jobs will. If you’re decorating your spare room, however, think about how many people you can realistically fit in there for manual labour, along with a wallpaper table and umpteen cans of paint. More hands = faster work = not really if there are 17 of you in a box room. Maybe you could have a designated cook for the day though! Have tryouts, American Idol style.
5. Remember – it’s a party!
Yes, you’re all there to get a job done, but make sure you have fun whilst you’re doing it! Put some music on, take some snaps, have a laugh. No one wants to work in exam conditions, and some of the best banter is borne of people pulling together and working as a team. Good god – I sound like a motivational poster – shoot me now.
So, there you go! A cheap workforce that you can trust not to steal your family heirlooms. Probably – I have one or two friends I’d keep an eye on, but they’d be more likely to form some kind of impromptu union and strike for more tea breaks than anything else. This is a great way to accomplish something and bond at the same time – so go to it, guys! Go forth and IKEA-ise…