Seven tips for living through a renovation

Living in the same house you are renovating can be exhausting and messy.

We’ve been doing non-stop dusty projects for the past 6 months and have found a few things to keep us sane during the process.

1. Pack up anything you don’t need

We had to pack everything up before we ripped out our kitchen our of necessity (definitely don’t want to destroy all of your kitchenwares along with the cabinets!) but we went one step further and packed up a fair amount of our kitchen to put in storage. We kept the essentials out in our main space so we could still have a semi-functioning kitchen while the renovations were in progress. Packing up the things we didn’t need helped reduce the clutter that comes along with the frustration of not having a home for everything.

2. Carve out a space to keep calm amidst the chaos

Try to designate an area of the house as a project free zone. We kept our power tools out of the main bedroom and shut the doors to that room the keep the renovation dust to a minimum as well. Having a little sliver of your house that feels under control and peaceful helped me feel like our entire house wasn’t a giant mess. It quite literally helped me sleep better each night.

3. Clean as you go

This was an annoying but crucial step. I made it a point to clean up every. single. night. Why? Because the dust that a renovation produces needs to be managed — especially if you are living in it. During heavier work days I would also take breaks to clean mid-day to keep the mess under control. We took frequent trips to the dump to prevent discarded building materials from piling up in our yard.

4. Keep a schedule with deliveries, timeline, etc.

Keeping a schedule for managing your project keeps you accountable to get done what needs to be done and keep your project on track. We wrote down when we could expect each large delivery (cabinet boxes, fronts, etc.) so that we could be at the point in the project where we were ready to use each thing right away. We don’t have a garage or basement to store our large building materials, so planning the project around that helped prevent our living space being completely taken over. Plus, keeping a timeline always gives you something to look forward to!

5. Take your time with each step

Contrary to the timeline advice I just gave, I’m also going to stay that being realistic about what you can accomplish is also important. Taking time with each step has helped us do higher quality work and not feel pressured to get everything done all at once. A kitchen renovation (or any renovation, really!) is a marathon. Don’t feel like you need to sprint the first mile!

6. Take the day off

My husband and I are the workaholic type and scheduling time away from our project was necessary to prevent project fatigue. If we weren’t renovating during a pandemic, we would likely have taken at least one night a week to go out to a local restaurant and explore our city a bit, but we found the beach to be a welcome socially distant respite throughout our renovation. It’s an hour drive from us, but the mini getaways were so refreshing!

7. Celebrate the little things

In a long project it can be easy to feel like you’re never going to be done. We broke our project down into several phases and celebrated little milestones along the way. We had our friends over for cocktails when we didn’t even have a sink and got takeout when our oven was out of commission. You don’t have to save the finer things for life after your completed renovation.

Have you lived through a renovation? Tell me your best tips for staying sane throughout the process!

This post was written for the  Collected Eclectic blog.

Collected Eclectic was a passion project focused on recording the process as Grace and Michael van Meurer transformed their builder grade home in to something special.

124 blog posts were published between 2018 and 2021. Explore the complete Collected Eclectic archive here

Learn more about the project here

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