29 August 2023
Going through a home renovation is less than enjoyable. Besides the loud noise, disruption, dust, and delays, there is the basic inconvenience of people moving around your space and the annoyance of missing everything you need to live through a day and night. If you have access to relocate temporarily, you are living out of a suitcase in a hotel or someone else’s home. Still not good. Here are some tips that may make the entire experience more tolerable.
As much as possible keep your living space separate from the construction space. Relocate sleeping areas to a finished basement, “in-law” quarters, or double up. Work in zones or segments so that the entire home is not in shambles. Remember to allow for children’s play areas and for your own relaxation at the end of a hard day.
If you are working on the kitchen, plan in advance about where you will get the water and plug in the all-important coffee machine. Keep access to the microwave, some sort of refrigeration, even borrow a couple of apartment or college dorm sized mini fridges, outdoor grill, electric skillet, or hot plate. Stock up on disposable plates and tableware.
Always keep at least one bathroom available. Create a daily schedule with specific times and open spots for emergencies. Use only the essential bath and body products and electric devices (no matter what your teenagers say).
Completely clear out the room you will be working on…and only tackle one at a time. That way you can store all of your furniture, décor, and other items and won’t need to worry about damage. Even then, you may want to cover as much of the furniture as possible because we all know how dust loves to creep from one room to another.
This can also be a good time to start a box of items to be donated to charity and clear your area even more.
No matter how well you plan, or who you hire, you have no idea how long the renovation will take or what the delays might be. You open a ceiling or wall and voila! A new problem to be solved. Suppliers will suddenly run out of what you need. Materials will be delivered at the wrong time. It is important that you maintain as much momentum as possible or you will never have the project completed.
Safety is the most critical element. If you are doing any of the work yourself, don’t scrimp on protective gear, including glasses, hard hat, and solid footwear. That goes for traipsing through the area on a midnight raid for food. Barefoot or flimsy slippers are no good. Take the time to put on a full pair of sneakers unless you want to make a run to the emergency room.
Small children and pets are harder to handle. Install barriers. Keep them out of the home as much as possible during the work hours. Don’t leave paint cans open unless you want foot or paw prints tracked on carpets or into other rooms.
Turn off electrical breakers for any circuits involved and verify that you have shut the correct one off. Never leave exposed wires. Always cap them and reinstall cover plates.
Strategize doors and trafficways that will and will not be available for use. If something changes, put a very obvious barrier in place with a secure note. Don’t even trust your own memory. It doesn’t take much to become distracted or someone coming home unexpectedly early.
Creativity and flexibility are keys to maintaining as much normalcy as possible. Accept the inevitable chaos and try to see some humor every once in a while.