The motivation behind a home renovation is the dream of something better – more peaceful, more functional, more efficient, more beautiful. It’s shocking, though, how stressful the process of making that dream a reality can be. Unexpected delays, surprise expenses, and other hiccups can become an exasperating process. There are ways to avoid common delays, but these top 21 tips will help you avoid renovation stress in general.
1. Choose your contractors carefully.
Do your research before hiring a contractor to manage your renovation project. The best option is one that’s been highly recommended to you by someone you know and trust. If you haven’t been referred to anyone specific, select 3 potential contractors, get quotes, and consider the following:
- Are they insured?
- Will they be responsible for permits?
- Is a deposit required for materials? If so, how much?
- Do they provide a written agreement with clear payment schedules?
If someone you know refers you to a specific contractor, find out if:
- The contractor was readily available to answer or return calls,
- The workers started on time each day,
- They stayed within the budget, and
- The work was completed according to plan.
Whatever you decide, DO NOT base your decision solely on price. The client-contractor relationship is vital to the success of your renovation project and the most important factor in reducing renovation stress. Trust is the key, so choose someone you trust.
2. Communicate effectively.
Effective communication prevents a world of problems. Clear communication with your contractor is a requirement for a stressless renovation, but remember its importance between family members, too.
Keep in mind that a major renovation is disruptive to the normal routine and environment for everyone in your household. Be open about how it’s impacting everyone and support each other.
3. Budget wisely.
We’ve talked about how to keep your renovation under budget in a previous post. The most important thing is to include a contingency fund in your renovation budget so those unexpected issues don’t make or break your project.
4. Prepare and protect.
A renovation isn’t something you spontaneously jump into. Plan your renovation in advance. Be strategic in the timing of your project.
Henry Ford said, “Getting ready is the secret of success.” Getting ready for a renovation involves mental preparation and practical preparation. There are many things you can do to get yourself and your home ready for the remodeling process in advance.
5. Be organized.
Practical ways to be organized during a renovation include:
- Use a shared digital calendar to keep track of family appointments, activities, events, work deadlines, payment due dates, and renovation milestones.
- Pack your belongings in labeled clear bins so you can easily find what you’re looking for even when it feels like your home is completely out of order.
6. Plan ahead.
Especially when you’re renovating your kitchen, planning in advance will save you a ton of stress. Figure out what (and where) your family will eat during the renovation. This involves planning what kitchen supplies to keep accessible, where to set up a temporary kitchen space, and meal planning.
Planning your meals will help you take better care of your body, too. In addition to keeping you healthier during the renovation craziness, “what to eat” will be one less thing you’ll have to think about.
7. Get extra site protection.
Accidents happen. An unsightly scratch in the middle of your brand new hardwood flooring puts a bit of a dark cloud over your renovation dream. Negotiate site protection for the duration of the entire renovation project with your contractor.
8. Breathe clean air.
Seal off the renovation space to prevent dust from permeating every inch of your home. Protect your ventilation system by sealing your vents so you can breathe clean air. Even with these extra measures, it’s a good idea to have your ventilation system cleaned after a major renovation.
9. Set up a temporary kitchen.
Even if you don’t plan to do much cooking during your kitchen renovation, setting up a temporary kitchen space will simplify anything food-related. You can still make your morning coffee, feed the kids a quick breakfast, and have a designated space to store snacks for the inevitable munchies during your evening unwind time.
At minimum, a small makeshift countertop for a coffee maker and a toaster oven will go a long way toward more relaxed eating. A good contractor may be willing to cut a piece of your old countertop down and set it up in your temporary space.
10. Create a sanctuary.
If you’ll be living in your home during the renovation, you must create a space you can escape to, a place to relax each day. Sealing the renovation area will help, but designate an untouched space as your sanctuary. Put some comfy seating and/or a bed in there so you can put your feet up after a long day and rest without the distraction of the unfinished remodel project.
11. Take care of your body.
Stress takes a toll on your body. Naturally, during a renovation, you’ll be busy trying to keep your home and family organized. But don’t forget about yourself. Stress seriously affects your physical body, so do what you can to support your immune system and protect your mental and physical health during the renovation.
This is everyone’s least favorite tip, right? The last thing you feel like doing after a long or stressful day is exercise. But exercise is proven to significantly reduce stress. Treat it like your daily medication. Feed your body those feel-good endorphins and enjoy the emotional boost.
13. Stick to your routine.
It’s stressful to have your normal environment dismantled and in disarray. Change is really hard sometimes, even if it’s good change. Reduce this stress by sticking to your normal routine as much as possible. Keep a consistent wake-up and sleep routine. Try to eat at regular times each day. Stick with weekly events that benefit you and your family.
14. Put your renovation in a box.
Compartmentalize the renovation process. Even though it’s a big ordeal, don’t let it take over every aspect of your life. Set time limits and deadlines on thinking about, talking about, and dealing with the renovation. For example, when you’re out with friends, talk about something unrelated to your reno. Give yourself a “renovation curfew” each day, then shut off your “renovation mind” and focus on something else.
15. Stay Inspired
It’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub of the project. When you’re overwhelmed, remember the end goal. Create a concept board or a vision board and display it where you can see it every day. This will help you power through the tough moments by reminding you what it’s all for. It’s worth the effort!
16. Remember your reasons.
If you’re not renovating your home for the benefit of your family, then what’s it for? Keep your “why” at the forefront by making time to work and play together. Let your kids be involved in part of the process. Maybe they can have input on paint colors or choosing the room you’ll use as your family sanctuary, for example.
17. Be realistic & stay flexible.
Dreams are good, but keep your dreams realistic. Expect delays and stay flexible. If you’re mentally prepared for those inevitable hiccups, they won’t cause so much stress. For example, if that tile you wanted for your backsplash is on backorder, your flexibility and willingness to go with your second choice instead will reduce stress and prevent holding up the completion of your project.
In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember what’s really important and what your goals really are. Everything else is malleable.
18. Keep the kids entertained.
Renovations can be stressful for kids, too. Though they’re not involved in the budgeting and designing and hard work of the renovation itself, the change impacts their lives, too. Reducing their stress will reduce your stress.
When you make the decision to renovate, put a bin of toys aside for the kids that will be special for them to play with when the house is under construction. Create a collection of books and movies they can enjoy during that transition time, and be sure to designate a safe place out of the renovation zone for the kids to play and relax.
Schedule play dates so they can “let their hair down” at someone else’s house for a while, and don’t forget to spend some valuable one-on-one time with them yourself. It will be good for both of you!
19. It’s all about perspective.
Put a twist on things. Instead of “My kitchen is in shambles so there’s nowhere to enjoy a nice meal around here”, make it, “Our kitchen is busy transforming into something fabulous, so let’s have a picnic outside!” Turn the tough stuff into fun stuff. Let the kids eat Pop-Tarts for breakfast and get creative about things.
20. Take care of your pets.
Pets get stressed, too. Keep them out of the construction zone. Ensure there’s a cozy spot where they can nap and retreat. Take the time to get the dog out of the house for a walk or a romp in the yard. Consider giving them a new toy to play with.
A relaxed pet will reduce your stress, too.
21. Get out of the house.
Leave. Just get out for a change of scenery. Go visit a friend. Meet someone for coffee. Go window shopping. Go for a leisurely walk in a local park.
If you can manage it, plan your vacation during your renovation. If that’s too much, consider a night or two at a local hotel for a mini staycation. Any kind of break from the construction zone will work wonders toward reducing renovation stress.
You Can Avoid Renovation Stress
While there’s no such thing as a stress-free renovation, there are practical things you can do to experience a renovation with less stress. For help in planning, preparing for, and managing a stressless renovation, contact the renovation experts at Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations today.