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9 Tips for Living Through a Home Renovation

If you're considering a home renovation, you know that there is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into it! But beyond choosing tile, lighting, and plumbing fixtures, there's a whole set of logistics that you need to think about as well.

With a little preparation, you can mitigate the effects of the renovation on your daily life. Below are nine ways that you can prepare (and live through!) your home renovation:

Expect the unexpected.

Without fail, there will be some sort of surprise once you begin. (Note that this is a “will,” not an “if.”) Whether it’s plumbing, electrical, or hidden past water or pest damage, you can avoid some of the stress associated with these surprises by having enough savings tucked away to cover these costs. Plan for 10% - 20% of your overall budget for contingency costs.

Throw away everything.

I’m sort of kidding. Now is the time to Marie Kondo both the space that is getting renovated, and the space where all of your things are going. Haven’t used it in 6 months? Toss it or donate it. Not bringing you joy? You know what to do. Consider cleaning out all of the accumulated but rarely used things as a secondary benefit of your renovation!

Leave if you can.

I realize that this may seem out of reach, but hear me out. Most folks can’t pick up and leave their home for a month or two, but, consider take a “mini-break” during the most disruptive portions of your renovation project. Consider a nearby hotel where you’ll avoid the noise and dust of your project- and bonus points if you can find a place with a free breakfast!

Rent a POD or a storage space.

If you don’t have enough storage, or you’re having a lot of work done at once, you may consider renting some temporary storage space to store your things. A portable unit like a POD is ideal because they drop it off in your driveway, and you don’t have to make a ton of trips to a storage unit. Just make sure to plan for this ahead of time since these units can book up weeks in advance.

Order and receive everything early BEFORE you start demo.

The supply chain disruptions that we’ve all been feeling extend into the home improvement and construction industries as well. That bathtub that was supposed to arrive the first week of October is now not going to arrive until mid-December? That’s typical during these times. It’s critical to place your orders for all of the items for your renovation well in advance of the start date, and make sure that they’re onsite before your crew starts swinging a sledgehammer.

Prepare for noise.

Renovations are loud! Between the demo (which actually takes longer than the 3 minutes that you typically see on HGTV) and the installation noise, nothing about a renovation is quiet! If you’re typically working from home, try and find somewhere else to work. Your basement, a coffee shop, or a coworking space that you can rent are all options for escaping the renovation site.

Create a secondary space.

One of my clients set up an entire mini-kitchen in their basement ahead of their full kitchen renovation. A few minor investments, like an inexpensive mini-fridge and no-frills microwave can go a long way toward saving your sanity during the upheaval of being without your kitchen for the duration of your renovation. Using alternative appliances like a grill instead of your oven is another creative way to cook up meals when your kitchen is out of commission!

Prepare for mess.

A lot of the annoyance with remodeling is in the daily living with the dust and dirt. Even with the most meticulous contractors (and please note, they should clean up each day!), there's going to be a level of dust and dirt in your home. Cover everything that can be covered with drop cloths and plastic sheeting, put away anything fragile, and protect your flooring and stairs. A little extra time in preparation can go a long way to reducing the accumulated mess.

Plan for Fido.

Renovations are disruptive for us humans, but at least we understand what’s going on! Think of your pets during this time, and make a plan to keep them safe and as calm as possible. During the day while the crew is there, try and keep them contained in a room, either with you if you're able, or separate from the contractors. Add their favorite toys and blankets, and maybe an extra treat or two. This will give them a sense of their own space, plus keep them safely away while the crew is going in and out of your home during the day.

With a little foresight and planning, these tips will help to make sure that your renovation goes as smoothly as possible! Do you have a favorite reno tip? Add it in the Comments below!

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