In a perfect world, the word "improv" wouldn't be inside Home Improvement. After all, improving a house takes time, money, and, above most, patience. However, in the hustle and bustle of every day lives, with guests dropping over on 24 hour notice, family stopping in for a week's stay unexpectedly, and spouses volunteering your house for the annual, and large, Christmas party two days before it's scheduled, home improvement must sometimes be done with quick thinking.


So, how do you do it? How do you take something that involves so much time, planning, and management and condense it into a few hours worth of work? You might think that the answer is, "ya don't," but sometimes it is possible. All you need is a little help and a lot of preparation:


Invest in Home Improvement Books: Hardware stores, book stores, and even libraries are filled with do-it-yourself manuals. Some of these manuals are specific, such as how to install an electrical outlet, but some are all inclusive, such as Home Improvement for Dummies. Because you aren't sure what problems will arise unexpectedly, it's good to have a collection of both. The books with specifics can help you with the details of your projects, while the all encompassing ones will help improve your chances of finding at least some information on your house's ailment.


When all else fails, research your problem on the Internet. However, keep in mind that anyone can post anything on the Internet: the facts might not always be straight. If a webpage states that you need to hire their company's plumber to fix a shingle on your roof, you might want to try another site.


Know which of your Friends Know what they're doing and which just think they do: Friends are great for calling in a pinch; the problem is that certain ones can make your pinch a little tighter. Instead of relying on just any old friend, learn what friends are good at which tasks. Just because one of your friends is an electrician doesn't mean he knows anything about fixing your sprinkler system. Because he probably won't admit this, you may find yourself, as he tries to fix your sprinklers with duct tape, worse off than you were to begin with.


Have the right tools: Fixing things can be hard, fixing things when you don't have the right tools can be impossible. Instead of waiting for that impending disaster, the one that finally makes you decide to upgrade your tool box to one that holds more than just a wrench, a screw driver, and a hammer, be prepared ahead of time. Even if your house is in perfect condition right now, it won't always be. Investing in an extensive tool kit helps you invest in your ability to perform home improvement. If you don't have the money to purchase a tool kit with all the bells and whistles, then become friends with someone who already has one.


Call for Help when you Need it: Sure, you may take great pride in knowing that you fixed something all by yourself, but this pride can come at a cost: time, money, and the something you fixed being worse off than before you touched it. If you can't fix something without help, or can't fix it quick enough, then call a contractor (one that you trust). You will find asking for help doesn’t hurt: swallowing your pride isn't so bad, it tastes just like chicken.