451615304_2a360659bcFrom Eugene, Ore. to St. Petersburg, Fla., friends and neighbors are joining together in do-it-yourself and home improvement project clubs. Sort of like a modern Amish barn raising, small communities gather at the homes of the club members to take on projects big and small.

The Monthly Improvement Collective of Eugene meets 10 times per year, twice at the home of each of the five couples who belong to the group. The host family ensures that tools and supplies are available and provides breakfast and lunch and everyone pitches in on projects like building a retaining wall, installing a fence and replacing flooring.

When everyone chips in on labor, the obvious tangible benefit is a cost savings. The intangible could be just as important – neighbors and friends feel supported and part of a unique community that can come together to accomplish projects for each other.

Want to start a home improvement club of your own? Some things to think about:

  • How often should you meet? 10 times a year is less than once a month, but still a considerable time investment. Other clubs meet more frequently (monthly) or less (quarterly). Make sure everyone is on board regardless of the schedule you choose.
  • What projects will you tackle? Do members of your group have particular expertise that you can tap into? If no one has expertise, be careful not take on more than your group can handle. That’s a real morale breaker.
  • What’s the plan? For each project, it might be worth spending a Friday evening over dinner and wine to come up with a plan and a supplies list before the project begins.

Of course, most importantly, have fun!

A recent article on home improvement clubs can be found via the Hartford Courant.

Photo by tiswango via Flickr