First published on Her Canberra, 29 APRIL 20
It started with the need for a productive work-from-home space. But if I’m being totally honest, I really just wanted a better backdrop for when I’m on Zoom.
I knew friends were peeking over my shoulder to get a glimpse inside my humble little home—I do it too. So I decluttered, rearranged the furniture, hung some art and it wasn’t long before I was dreaming of painting a feature wall and installing a rainforest.
My friends have all got some type of DIY project happening too. Some are doing it for necessity—they need an office, or space for their children to do their home-learning. Others are tackling the projects they’ve been putting off years, or are happily pottering around the garden. They tell me it’s the only thing keeping them sane in isolation.
Turns out they’re not alone. The COVID-fuelled surge in DIY is nationwide and it’s being nurtured by groups such as the (unaffiliated) Bunnings Mums Australia Facebook Group.
The Group’s Founder Sharon Edman might live in Coffs Harbour, but her influence is felt across the country.
Bunnings Mums Australia is a group set up for women to share DIY hacks, advice and inspiration. While it was created in 2017, long before anyone could imagine staying indoors for months on end, Sharon says there’s been a surge in the popularity of DIY.
“Within about a week of the social isolation coming into effect, the page just went nuts,” she says. “We had a 430% increase in posts. Instead of four or five, maybe ten posts a day—it’s hundreds of posts”.
As for what people are building, there’s a hint in the name of the group.
“There are a lot of study nooks, study desks and that sort of thing.”
As of publication, the group had almost 130,000 members and Sharon’s getting three or four hundred new member requests each day. She’s the first to admit she never thought it would get this big but says the name of the game was always inclusion.
“I made it for women to have a place where they could ask for advice and show off their skills in a safe place.”
Having started as a group of Sharon’s friends renovating their houses and sharing ideas, the page grew from there.
Sharon now has a team of women moderating the Group and they’re determined to maintain a positive, supportive and inspiring virtual space for women to share their experience and empower each other.
“There are a few benefits of DIY projects,” says Sharon. “We get to design and build a solution to fit our homes, we get that feeling of accomplishment seeing what we’ve created with our own hands, and it can also be good for our mental health.”
“In this time when anxiety and depression can get on top of you, having something like a DIY project is important—it keeps your mind busy.”
Many people will already have the tools and supplies they need to bring their project to life, but if you do need Bunnings, a representative assured us that there are a range of options and measures to help with social-distancing:
- Use Click and Deliver
- Use contactless Drive and Collect
- Plan ahead so you’re more efficient
- Shop alone
- Observe in-store social distancing
- Observe social distancing if you’re in a queue outside
And no, there’s no sausage sizzle. Sorry.