Renovations can be a major source of stress, especially if you decide to stay in your home through the construction process. Home improvement projects frequently exceed projected timelines and budgets, and can come with a whole host of surprises and challenges.
By preparing yourself mentally, and being organized from the start, you can help make the process significantly easier on yourself, and your family. See below for my top tips on how you can handle your home renovations without losing your cool:
Order in Advance
I was surprised to learn that the lead time on items like tiles, fixtures, and hardware can be weeks or even months. Do your best to select and order all of your materials well in advance so your project can keep moving forward. It’s also important to open and inspect packages as they arrive to make sure your order is correct and nothing got broken or damaged in transit.
Plan for Contingencies
Save yourself stress and pad your initial budget by at least 20% to account for change orders and unforeseen circumstances. You should also make sure to budget for meals out and hotels or rentals if you need to leave your home for some or all of your project.
Pack Like You’re Moving
Construction dust can be pervasive and hard to clean. Declutter your living spaces and pack up all non-essentials to protect your belongings from dust and grime. You’ll thank yourself later.
Set Up Makeshift Kitchen
We were fortunate enough to be able to use our stove throughout the renovation process, but if you have restricted access you can set up a makeshift kitchen in a hallway, basement or other clear area. A coffee maker, microwave or cooktop can go a long way when you get tired of takeout.
Be Available + Support Your Team
Speak directly with your subcontractors as often as you can and make sure someone in your household is available to answer questions and help troubleshoot as challenges arise. Good communication will help expedite your project and make sure that your expectations get met. Above all else, support your team and treat them with respect. Lemonade or a cold beer goes a long way toward building good will, as well as expressing gratitude for a job well done.
Always make sure to keep perspective. If you have the good fortune to be able to improve your home, do your best to enjoy the ride and be grateful that you have a home to call your own.
Images: Vivian Johnson Photo