5 Tips for Surviving a Home Renovation

September 23, 2021

No matter how excited you are about it, a home renovation can be stressful whether it’s mostly DIY or you’ve hired people to do the work. For weeks or months, your sanctuary is disrupted. If you have kids or pets, it can be even worse because you’ll feel their stress and discomfort as well as your own. Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of that tunnel eventually, and it’s a pretty incredible one. There’s nothing quite like settling into your redesigned home, but how do you survive in the meantime? The tips below can carry you through.

Talk To Your Contractor

Even if you’re doing most of the work yourself, there are probably elements you’re hiring people to work on, such as the electricity or the plumbing. If you do have contractors, keep the lines of communication open. First, listen to their recommendations. If they’re telling you that they are at a stage in which it will be uncomfortable to stay in your home for a few days, take the opportunity to book into a hotel or visit friends or relatives rather than walking around for three days in dust-covered clothes. Second, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand why they are doing a certain thing or it seems beyond the scope of the work expected, talk to them. Most likely, it is a misunderstanding that can be easily solved with good communication.

Embrace Your Coping Mechanisms

You can’t always choose your timing, but if it’s at all possible, do not try to renovate your home at the same time that you are in a particularly challenging stretch at work, giving birth to twins, recovering from major surgery, or fostering puppies. Pick a time when things are relatively calm, and if you see some upheaval on the horizon, consider rescheduling. Once the renovations are underway, do what you need to do to get through them. Even if your contractor hasn’t recommended that you leave, you might want to spend a few nights at a hotel. Would your pets be happier and safer if they were boarded?

If you’re tempted to pick up some old, bad habits, look for alternatives. For example, vaping is better than smoking, so if you’re feeling an urge to pick up a habit that you quit or to smoke more than you normally do, you might want to look at a collection of vaporizers online that you can purchase. All of the usual precautions about managing stress apply here as well, including making sure that you get some exercise, sleep, and decent food from time to time.

Anticipate Problems

This doesn’t mean you should go into this whole process in a state of pessimism or assuming that everything will go wrong. It simply means that you should prepare yourself for the fact that things are very likely not to go smoothly, and this does not mean that you have made a terrible mistake. It’s normal to run into unexpected issues over the course of a renovation.

This is why nearly everyone who has been through one will tell you to budget for more time and money than you expect. It is just important to keep in mind that while you are daydreaming of what to do with your finished basement you should also realize that you can’t predict or plan for everything. Remember, problems are just things that need a solution and not some terrible sign that your plan is ill-judged, to begin with.

Managing Your Family

From your partner to your kids to your pets, everyone reacts differently to the disruption that a renovation creates. If you have indoor pets, pay particular care to make sure that they aren’t let outside, and consider finding them somewhere safe to stay if you’re concerned about this. Consider their temperaments as well. A friendly dog who loves everyone might be fine as long as the workers in your home feel the same way about canines. A nervous cat might not. As for your children, age and personality play a part in how well they manage, but try to make sure that they have quiet spaces to do their homework and other activities. Whether you and your partner are doing some DIY or just paying someone else, this can be stressful for your relationship as well. Keep talking to one another, and you can even see a counselor if you need to. You may want to consider simply renting a furnished place for a month or two until your home is ready.

Remember the Big Picture

Keeping the big picture in mind can help you avoid getting bogged down in details or overwhelmed by the process. When you’re picking color swabs and cabinets and flooring, it can start to feel like every decision is cataclysmic, but ultimately, if you’re not crazy about the shade you’ve chosen for the living room walls, you can always repaint.

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