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Home Renovation Survival Guide

April 24, 2017 | Family Life

Home renovations are notorious for being stressful. Whether you’re taking on a large project like a historic house or “just” remodeling your kitchen, home renovations can challenge your relationships, budget, and sense of sanity.

However, it is possible to cut down on the stress and conflict of a home renovation. Here are some tips to help you manage a renovation with fewer headaches and more joy.

Choose a leader.

If several people are trying to lead the project, conflict is likely to ensue. This tension can be especially damaging in a marriage. To help avoid arguments, the couple can decide beforehand who will manage the project. If both you and your partner are strong-willed and want to stay involved, consider relying on an outside person, like a designer.

Hire reliable experts.

DIY projects can be fun, but when you’re dealing with a massive undertaking like a home renovation, hiring experts can relieve a lot of stress. Although you might be able to do some things yourself, it’s important to know your limits. Be honest about your weaknesses, and bring in experts for the rest.

Do make sure the experts are trustworthy, though. Take time to compare reviews, research legalities, and evaluate the contract before you hire. A critical eye during the hiring process can help prevent unpleasant surprises later.

Set aside plenty of time.

Even if you’ve hired contractors to do everything, you’ll still need to spend several hours each week answering questions and reviewing the contractors’ work. A home renovation can easily turn into a part-time job, or even a full-time job if you’re doing a lot yourself. Be sure you’ve reserved enough time in your schedule for this work. Otherwise, you might end up renovating your home for years.

Find an effective way to stay organized.

To successfully manage a home renovation, you’ll need an effective way to keep track of deadlines, expenses, appointments, and paperwork. Before you start the project, find an organizational method that works for you. For example, you can use a bullet journal or an accordion folder with a calendar. Ideally, the method you choose will not only help you stay on schedule, but also give you peace of mind.

Budget for surprises.

Even with meticulous planning and the best contractors, you may still run into problems, delays, and unexpected costs. You can hope for a smooth renovation, but your budget should be prepared for the worst. Then, if you do survive the renovation without any extra costs, you can use that money to hire professional cleaners after everything is done.

Protect your valuables.

Renovations tend to be dirty and messy. The dust alone can get everywhere. You can try to protect your valuables with plastic sheeting, but for complete safety, it’s best to move them somewhere else.

Items you regularly use, such as clothing, can be stored in plastic bags and put into a “renovation-free” zone, like a spare room. Other items like collectibles or artwork can be put into self-storage unit. Then, they’ll be completely secure, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Give yourself a break.

A home renovation is important, but so is your health and wellbeing. To ease the stress and prevent a burnout, take a time-out every now and then. Plan fun activities away from the renovation, doing something that takes your mind off the project. During this mini vacation, avoid talking about the renovation and focus on other activities you enjoy.

Also, try to create peaceful areas in your home where you can escape the renovation. This oasis doesn’t need to be large. If you don’t have much extra space, you can reserve a small corner or a balcony for relaxation. Keep this area chaos-free, and go to it whenever you need a break.

Keep your team’s spirits up.

A renovation is a team effort. Even if you’re the only person continuously working on the project, the chaos and stress still affect other people. Anyone who’s affected is part of your team, from your spouse and children to the contractors you’ve hired. Remember to stay attuned to how these people are feeling. Are they positive about the project or feeling overwhelmed? How can you buoy their spirits?
This thoughtfulness doesn’t need to take much time or effort. A compliment or a glass of wine at the right moment can make a big difference. The better your team is doing, the easier the project will seem. Together, you can turn a difficult renovation into a memorable adventure.