So I realized the other day I really need to update my About page because it says “decorating our new home” and we’ve been here for almost 4 years now! It’s so hard to believe it’s been that long, I remember the chaos like it was yesterday.
I’m convinced during that time I came down with a bad case of crazy. We were planning and managing a major home renovation as well as planning a wedding, all while I worked my 50+ hour a week high stress job. Of course it was all worth it in the end, but some days I think it’s a miracle that we got through it and still wanted to get married! Haha! 😉
There were definitely some major lessons learned and things that we would do differently if we are ever in that position again. I hope these learnings are able to help you or someone you know at some point or another. If I can save one person just a fraction of the stress from our process than I’ll call that a win!
Tips for Surviving a Home Renovation Without Losing Your Mind
Plan, plan and plan some more.
If you’re doing the work on your home renovation yourself (or even if you’re just acting as the General Contractor), plan the order of work very strategically. This is key not only so that you can utilize and inhabit the most important areas of your home faster, but so that you’re not creating more work later. For example, we had all of the painting done first during our home renovation. To be honest, it was only because the painter was the first out of the sub-contractors who could get us on the schedule which is not a good way to strategize a home renovation! The walls needed a lot of touching up later because of all of the other work that followed the painting (let alone the thick coating of drywall and saw dust that stuck to the fresh paint like a magnet). Lesson learned, painting should have been last.
Due to not planning far enough in advance and ending up at the mercy of contractor’s schedules, we ended up living without functioning use of our kitchen for quite a while. Because of not prioritizing the installation of the counters, we wouldn’t be able to use a sink which in essence rendered the kitchen unusable. Blech.
Stick to the schedule.
This can definitely be easier said than done, but the more you can stick to the schedule the less anxious you will feel. Ask contractors for a schedule of when they will be in and out before getting started. Let them know that you will be scheduling around it (a nice way of telling them you will be holding them accountable to it!)
Stay off-site (if possible).
We were able to do this for about 85% of the time that our house was under renovation due to the closing date on my condo being a month after the closing date of the house. Even though it took a lot of time in commuting, it saved a lot of mess and anxiety in living through the biggest mess ever.
If you don’t have that same luxury, some other options to get out of dodge are extended stays, corporate housing, staying with a friend/family member or doing a short-term lease in a house or apartment. If you’re staying offsite, CORT Furniture Rental is a great option for on-demand furniture to make your home away from home feel like a home. They have everything from furniture to accessories and home decor (you can check out one of their beautiful complete living rooms in the photo below). If you do move into your new home as you’re beginning your home renovation, CORT is still a great option if you don’t have furniture picked out yet (or if you want to keep the dust off of your favorite bed and couch and keep them in storage!) Check out this great article if you’d like to further explore the staying offsite idea: Temporarily Yours: Finding a Place to Stay While Remodeling Your Home.
If you’re staying put during your home renovation, you can set up sections of the house that aren’t in shambles and quarantine yourselves there for a feeling of offsite escape. This is what we did for the remainder of that 15% of time after we moved in.
Have you gone through a home renovation? What were your biggest learnings? Your best suggestions? I’d love for you to share in the comments below!