8 Tips for Living Through a Reno Project.
In the new year, many of us will not only be thinking about the changes we want to make to ourselves but also to our homes. With the significant investment of time, money, and labor that goes into renovations, they can be both an exhilarating and exhausting segment of our lives. Beyond hiring a contractor, creating a budget, developing a timeline, and working alongside your designer on decisions, there is also a great disruption to our daily lives. Today I am sharing my top 8 tips for living through a reno project.
While some people choose to find alternative housing until the project is completed, many others choose to remain in their homes during the renovation. The entire experience can quickly go from manageable to mayhem if you’re not prepared for what is coming. So, what can you do to ensure the process is smooth? You’ll need a plan, some patience, and a bit of flexibility.
To prepare for the best possible outcome, here are eight effective and manageable tips from our experts to help get you to the finish line of your project and not the end of your rope.
1. Contractor, calendar, and communication.
The first part of any project will start with choosing a contractor that you trust. Agree to a start and end date that is feasible. Also, allow for some flexibility because we all know that no project is without delays. Communication will be key as you move forward and need to discuss the details of deadlines, subcontractors, tradesmen, changes, and challenges. If possible, identify a separate entrance and exit for the tradespeople to decrease the amount of intrusion and mess to your livable space. At the very least create a separate entry code for your alarm system to minimize issues.
2. Define and strategize.
Talk with your contractor about the places you can be and where you can’t be as well as when spaces will or will not be available to you and your family during renovations. Chances are that you will need to carry out the activities of daily living without some of the amenities you need so be prepared to be creative. Come up with a strategy and schedule for the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, and bedrooms if they are accessible.
3. List your needs.
Make a list of essential items that you’re going to need while you’re living in a separate area of your home and create an organized system for storing and accessing it. Because you won’t be used to the location of each item, labeling containers or creating a detailed floor plan of the space will help ensure that everything you need is identifiable and fits comfortably.
4. Clear yourself of the unnecessary.
When you’re relegated to a certain amount of space within your home, chances are good that there are going to be plenty of items already there that aren’t considered essential to your day-to-day activities. Before you move yourself into the transitional space, clear out the stuff that you won’t need so that you can make room for what you do!
5. Protection and Patience.
Renovations can be exceptionally difficult for children and pets. While they may be able to communicate their expectations and emotions during different phases of a renovation, it’s difficult for them to express subtle issues, such as dust from particle boards and the lingering smell of paint. Talk with your contractor about how they plan to keep the mess contained in the work area on a daily basis. Will they be covering your floors with a protective film? And what type of filtration sweep be done at the end of the project? Above all, give yourself grace as the dust accumulates faster than anticipated. And make sure that you’ve counted cleaning supplies among the “essentials”.
6. Amenities not accessible.
Chances are that you will not have any access to portions of your home for days or weeks at a time. In the case that you’re prevented from accessing the shower, laundry room, or kitchen during this time due to lack of water, plumbing, or strictly access, plan to carry out these activities in alternative places. Most homeowners can work around difficulties with meal prep and weekly laundry, however, if you are without a shower and toilet for even a week, it can pose a challenge. It is critical to outline your strategy and have a frank conversation with your interior designer to draw up a timeline and a game plan on how to navigate this tricky time.
7. Get away.
If you can, plan for renovations in fair weather when you’re able to plan activities or relaxation outdoors. Kids will enjoy having designated play and sleep spaces to help with routine. It’s a great idea to identify and utilize places that aren’t noisy for children and pets.
8. Make friends with chaos.
There will be plenty of things that go wrong, go slowly, or simply go uncomfortably throughout the process but the end result will be exponentially worth it. Work on accepting the mess, the noise, and the intrusion to your life by simply remembering that the outcome will justify the sacrifice. Prepare your family by outlining for them what can be expected, make an adventure out of the process, and rely on the great communication you have with your contractor and tradespeople.