I’ve seen a lot of things in my time as a building developer with my company Servant’s Hands Construction. We’ve built houses from the ground up and done our fair share of renovation projects. So I know a thing or two about getting through a reno without losing your sanity – though I’ll admit, I learned most of those things BECAUSE I lost my sanity on some reno projects in the old days. Sometimes, you just have to learn the hard way, but I find the lesson usually sticks a little better that way!
So, if you’re thinking about renovating, the first thing you need to establish is: Are you going to live in your home while you’re doing your renovation? If the answer is yes, well, let me first just say, bless your heart. Because it is a challenge. But I think it’s one you can handle!
Of course, you don’t HAVE to stay in the home while you renovate – maybe you have friends who are nice enough to loan you their guest bedroom for a while or you can afford to stay at a hotel for an extended period of time. Both are fine options if you can manage, but I’ll tell ya, it’s difficult to manage a renovation when you’re not physically there. You may find that the back and forth is more of a hassle than just staying in your home and dealing with some inconveniences while the project is ongoing.
What inconveniences you ask? Well. Here’s the nitty gritty part. Because renovation projects can be complicated, challenging and major upheavals to your schedule and daily life – especially when we’re talking about kitchen and bathroom remodels. You are almost definitely going to stress cry at some point. You are very likely to have an argument or several with your partner about it. And you may regret it once or twice through the process, because it’s a lot of chaos to take on while you’re also trying to just do life. But I’ve always found that a little bit (okay, a lot) of preparation goes a long way when starting up a renovation project. So here are a few tips to get you started and hopefully lessen the impact of a reno on your day-to-day living!
Stay On Schedule
I know this might seem impossible when you’ve demolished your home and are trying to put it back together again. Obviously, the process of a renovation is going to disturb your lifestyle a bit. But it’s important to, as much as possible, stick to a schedule and hang onto some semblance of normalcy.
In addition to trying to maintain your regular routine as best you can, you want to make sure there’s a schedule for the renovation project – when is the flooring getting done, when are the light fixtures being replaced, when are the new appliances getting installed? You don’t want to leave questions like that up in the air, because you could end up stalling a bit if the right people aren’t showing up at exactly the right times (or worse, they’re all showing up at exactly the SAME time!). Keep in mind that you need to schedule in the design process, hiring, pulling permits if needed, etc. Those will all bump your project if you didn’t plan for them in the first place.
Generally speaking, a full home remodel could take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to complete. This largely depends on the contractors you’re working with and how well you’ve scheduled it out!
*One thing to remember when scheduling your renovation project is that there may be some projects you would like to do yourself instead of hiring a contractor, which is totally fine if you feel you can do it! Just make sure to factor those times into your schedule and allow yourself a little more time than a contractor might take, simply because you’ll be trying to complete those tasks while also juggling your job and life in general!*
Keep the Chaos Contained
If you’re living at home while renovating, you really want to make sure that there is space in your home that isn’t impacted by the chaos of the project. As best you can, try not to let the crazy escape the workspace so that you can still have some feeling of normalcy through the process. This will be especially helpful in keeping you sane, because it won’t feel like you’ve totally blown up your life if you can just sit down and relax somewhere without seeing dust (so much dust!) and building materials and displaced things.
Okay, so you’re probably not going to be able to be TOTALLY organized while you’re renovating. And that’s okay. Get used to that idea now. But, if you can get at least a little organized before you start the demolition, you’ll feel a lot better (and you’ll find it a lot easier to contain the chaos as I just mentioned!). Put anything you don’t immediately need in storage for a while. For example, if you’re remodeling your kitchen, you’re not going to be doing a lot of cooking there, so box up the pots and pans, dishes, utensils – whatever you’re not going to use – and put them in the attic or the basement or the back of your closet – anywhere that’s not piled up in the corner of your office or covering your couch. You need to still do life while all this is going on and organizing will help you do that.
Don’t Get Attached to Your Budget
I’m guessing you’re not super excited about this one. I know, it’s not what you want to hear. When you start a renovation project, you have a number in your head of what you plan to spend, and anything that goes over that number can feel like a gut punch. But, the thing about renovation projects is they often don’t go exactly as planned – you may hit a few snags along the way – and instead of setting yourself up to be disappointed if you do encounter one of those snags, it helps to have a little wiggle room in your budget. Set a budget, yes, but just make sure you have a little extra budget cushion to fall back on. Just in case. You don’t have to spend it, but you’ll be glad it’s there if you get an unpleasant surprise from one of your contractors!
Trust Your Contractor
Speaking of contractors, this is probably the most important thing you can do to maintain your sanity during a renovation project. You have to trust your contractors. This doesn’t mean that you just hire someone and let them loose in your house because they’re a contractor and you don’t want to make them feel like you don’t trust them. What I mean is, you have to hire someone you trust from the very start. This comes from doing your research, getting the recommendations of friends and having several conversations with your contractors before you start the renovation. They are going to be in your home for a minimum of several weeks, depending on what you’re doing and you need to build a trust with them that will allow you to relax – or at least try to relax as much as one can while someone is making a ton of noise and blowing dust all over the house! There are lots of great resources online that can help you find the perfect contractor for your project – this is not a decision to make quickly or without research. Do the prep work here and make sure that whoever you hire can be trusted to treat your home as if it was their own.
I know I probably didn’t make renovation sound fun with all of this, but even considering all the craziness that a reno project brings, I still absolutely love it. It’s exciting to make things new and fresh and to express yourself through the style in your home!
I’d love to hear about what you’re workin’ on – feel free to share in the comments and let’s talk reno!