A new year is upon us and 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 experience . 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. While some people choose to find alternative housing until the project is completed, many choose to remain in their homes during the renovation, when the renovation is only in a portion of the home. 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 to help get you to the finish line of your project and not the end of your rope.

1. Contractor, Calendar, & Communica-tion

The first part of any project after you have completed the design layouts and selections with your designer will be 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. If you have a home alarm create a separate entry code for your alarm system to minimize issues.

2. Define & 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. You will also want to make sure you move everything out of the space being renovated.

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 the separate area of your home and create an organized system for storing and accessing it.

If you plan to renovate your kitchen, think about where you can set up another make shift kitchen in your home. Will it be in the basement or somewhere else? and does that area allow a sink for you to use. Bathroom sinks are usually the go to when renovating a kitchen, since all access to the kitchen will be unavailable until the renovation is complete.

Because you won’t be used to the location of each item, labelling containers or creating an organized area will help ensure that everything you need is identifiable and is easy to locate in your new space.

4. Clear Yourself of the Unnecessary

When you’re used 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 & 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 clean up will be done at the end of the project?

We always recommend having your furnace cleaned at the end of a renovation to ensure all the dust is removed from your ventilation.

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 contractor 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. This is especially true if you are embarking on a kitchen renovation, a BBQ will be very beneficial to use during that time.

If your renovation will be ongoing for a few months. Plan a quick getaway to a hotel near by or even just get out of town for a few days, this will help take the stress off and allow you to enjoy some free time away from the renovation.

8. Make Friends With Chaos

There will be plenty of things that can 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.

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