If you are doing major home remodeling, you need more than a good construction plan and reliable professionals. You need a strategy for surviving the disruption of the work while it is going on all around you.
Big jobs can take several months. And when the renovations involve your kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces – simple day-to-day tasks can become difficult. But don’t panic or give up on your big plans! Read our home remodel survival guide instead and get ready for your next adventure.
1. Create zones of safety and sanity.
Major renovations can turn your home into a construction site – and like every construction site – safety comes first. So have your contractors erect plywood walls and temporary doors that will help keep pets, children, and adults away from dangerous areas. These walls will also help you keep your sanity. After a long day of jobs and family, being able to close a door on the work zone will help you relax and recharge.
2. Pack up like you’re moving out.
Rooms need to be empty before renovations can begin. Furniture, electronics, kitchenwares, clothing, towels, linens, knick-knacks, and possessions of all types have to be moved to other rooms, the garage, or storage.
The best way to keep your stuff safe and make moving it out of the way easy is to pack it up like you are leaving your house. This is also important if you are storing your things in your home. Sturdy packing boxes sealed up tight will help protect your stuff from construction dust and save you from cleaning it all later. Which just so happens to bring us to our next topic...
3. Get ready to deal with the dust.
The best managed home addition or remodeling is still going to create dust. Which is a nuisance for many people, and more than a nuisance if you have family members with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems.
Consider well-sealed, heavy plastic sheeting with zippers to help control dust. The zippers allow your contractors easy access to their work and they do a better job of keeping construction dust contained than flaps held closed with tape. We also recommend vacuuming, mopping up, and wiping down your “zone of sanity” every day to fight the dust. It’s neater and you will breathe easier, too.
4. Cook gourmet in your temporary kitchen.
When your renovations include your kitchen, you are going to need to set up a temporary cooking space in another room. (This is a good time for that kitchen reorganization you’ve been putting off!) A coffee maker, toaster oven, and microwave are all essential equipment. But our absolute best tip for surviving a kitchen remodel is a slow cooker.
Slow cookers are perfect for making complete meals in one pot. You can eat well using fresh ingredients rather than buying a lot of prepackaged dinners. Their recipes are easy to prepare and they don’t use large numbers of pots, pans, and utensils you have to hand wash. It’s simple to cook for a lot of people and the leftovers are easy to reheat. A slow cooker and disposable cups, plates, and silverware will get you through a lot of meals.
5. Making your home office work.
Noise and distractions are two challenges of working at home during renovations. If you spend a lot of time on phone and videos calls, you are going to need to find a quiet place inside or outside of your home. Earplugs or headphones can help block out construction noise and help you concentrate.
Another thing to consider is that when you work at home, your contractors know you’re available to answer questions about what you want (which is great). But they might ask you seven times a day (which is a little less great). Let your contractors know when you are available and when you are not, just like you would coworkers in a regular office. And know where the quiet coffee shops with good Wi-Fi are in your neighborhood for those times you could use a breather.
6. Plan breaks and vacations from the construction.
If you have friends and family willing to have you over for dinner or host you overnight, say “yes” when they offer. Giving yourself regular breaks from your home during the remodel will help reduce stress and keep you happy. Especially look for opportunities to give kids and pets breaks. When your animals are high energy or high strung, think about boarding them during the construction. And if you can plan vacations during the construction, or schedule the work for times when you and your family are away from home, that will help you survive, too.
7. Look at a short-term rental in your community.
There is one more way to survive major renovations. That’s to move out of your home entirely while the work is taking place. However, it’s not that easy on your bank account and you’ll need to build the cost into your budget. Ideally, you’ll want a place that has flexibility on the lease because sometimes construction takes longer than planned.
So now you are ready to take on that project...whether you want to build an addition for your growing family, remodel your home so you can live in it as you grow older, or cook in the kitchen of your dreams.
Wondering how much value a renovation might add to your home? See our post on maximizing your home improvement ROI.