“If I take this out, will the ceiling collapse?”
I asked Reddit that about a month ago.
I’ve been trying to remodel my home office since we moved in back in January.
This particular room was once a bedroom, and while it has a lot going for it, there is no office “vibe” to it.
Since this is the first property I’ve ever owned, I have been excited to turn this into that dream office that I always wanted: a dark accent wall, floating shelves, and decor 100% picked out by me.
That said, it’s needed a LOT of work.
The first thing I did was remove the second (?) door to the room and drywall over the opening. I’m currently waiting for some contractor buddies to come over and repair the installation of the giant picture window, as it leaks water into the walls every time it rains.
And then there was this post.
Right next to the second door was a post sticking out about a foot from the wall. My plan is to turn this wall into a “gallery” wall with posters and artwork. I also want to put a couch on that wall for the occasional midday nap that I want to/get to take.
That post, however, is smack in the middle of the space.
Sure, I could work around it. But if there’s an opportunity to remove it and make that entire space a flat wall, I wanted to do that instead.
But of course, the question lingered in my head: There’s a reason for it to be there, right?
I asked Reddit…
I hate Reddit.
People complain about how toxic Twitter can be, or social media in general.
But the worst filth of the internet hangs out on Reddit.
However, some communities can be genuinely helpful.
So I dropped into the home improvement forum and posted a few pictures of this post and what I could see from the outside.
After a bunch of insulting comments (because Reddit), a small handful of helpful people gave me some tips on what to look for.
I had to open up that post and see what was inside. There was no way of determining its important any other way.
With a hammer and a crowbar, I carefully knocked a hole into the side of the post.
Peering inside, I saw that it was hollow. A win.
I continued hammering and clawing away, ripping open the drywall and revealing more and more of the post’s contents.
Once I got to the top of the post, I cut into the ceiling to reveal where the post’s 2x4s met the ceiling joists.
To my delight, there were no significant connections. It was not load-bearing.
I opened up all the way to the floor and discovered the reason for the post: an old pipe that connected to a central vacuum system.
The central vac is not hooked up and not functional anymore. So the previous homeowner shoved some joint compound into the pipe and drywalled over it, apparently.
(The word “Why?” comes up a lot when working on this house.)
Even better, once I detached the pipe from the 2x4s it was mounted to, the pipe slide right out, revealing that it wasn’t even connected to the central vac system at all anymore.
The post, as it turned out, was completely useless and could be removed.
And now, a wall in my office that used to have a post and a door is ready to be completely flat and open for my decorating brainstorms.
This would never have happened if I wasn’t willing to take a risk on opening up that post.
There are plenty of reasons NOT to do something
There were real risks associated with opening up and removing that post.
- The ceiling could collapse.
- I could really screw up the drywall and have to fix it.
- My repair jobs could look terrible.
- I could create a lot of extra work for myself.
Many people would just accept the potential risks as unavoidable realities and not bother messing with the post at all.
Is this how you live your life?
Think about building a copywriting business.
There are LOTS of reasons not to do it.
- You could deal with a lot of rejection.
- You could lose money as you learn.
- You could discover that you’re really bad at it.
- You could spend a lot of time working on it and never make a dime of profit.
These are real risks.
I get that.
But are those risks enough to keep you from pulling the trigger on it at all?
On accepting your life as-is and the drawbacks that come with it?
You can still take a chance without blindly jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool of risk.
How to venture into the unknown responsibly
- Focus on the cost of inaction. What happens if you DON’T do this? For the post, I’d have to work around a big, cumbersome post that would limit my ability to decorate the way I want to and the kind of furniture I want in my office. For freelancing, you have to accept the money that you’re making elsewhere and the lack of freedom you enjoy from your current 9-5 (not to mention the ongoing risk of losing your job). Ask yourself: are you willing to accept these issues?
- Find small steps you can take to make progress. Nobody is asking you to immediately quit your job and try to freelance full-time out of the gate. As for the post, I was able to open up small holes in it (easy to repair if needed) that would at least give me a window into what’s going on behind the drywall. For freelancing, figure out how you can build on the side and start getting some traction in some of your free time.
- Do your research. I Googled a ton about load-bearing posts and like I said, I asked Reddit for advice too. I wanted to arm myself with as much info as possible before taking any chances. If you want to freelance, there’s plenty of info available out there, or you can put an experienced copywriter in your corner to help you along the way.
- At some point, you have to take a chance. You’ll never guarantee success. Ever. Nobody can. Like many (MANY) Reddit commenters told me, there’s no way they could guarantee that the post isn’t load-bearing. At some point, I had to just take the plunge and go for it. And if you want a freelance copywriting career, you can only line up so many ducks in a row before you just have to get moving and see what happens.
The best way to mitigate risk and take action is by getting personal support and guidance.
With the right person in your corner, you can move forward with confidence and increase your chances of success.
I did okay on my own in removing that post.
But if I had someone who knew what they were doing standing behind me and answering my questions as they came up, I could have taken it down in 30 minutes instead of several weeks.
Let me help you build your freelancing career, and you can take action immediately instead of waiting around while you try to figure it out on your own.
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