Remodeling projects for your home are rarely pleasant at the time but usually worth the trouble once they’re done. My husband and I have done LOTS of projects, big and small, and we’ve learned a few things along the way that have helped us survive the process without losing our minds. Of course, it’s easier now that we have an empty next but most of our projects were done while we had a full house. Here are some things we learned:
Clean as you go. The temptation is to let everything go because it’s just not worth the trouble! That’s a BIG mistake. If you do that, your environment gets messier and messier and you get more and more frustrated and frazzled. We are currently refinishing the floors in our living room, office, bedroom and hallway. All the furniture from those rooms has been moved to the garage, the family room and the kitchen. But even with every room full of furniture, I am continuing to clean the kitchen, vacuum, sweep, tidy and cook meals. I admit that sometimes it seems silly but having a measure of order within the chaos keeps us sane. So clean as you go!
During the process, especially if it’s going to be very long, set up work stations or areas that resemble the areas you had before. For example, my desk area is out of commission but I still need to pay bills and do other paperwork. So we set my desk area up in another location. The new set-up is not perfect but it’s good enough that I can still do what I need to do and my supplies are mostly in one location.
When we remodeled our kitchen, we did the same thing. My husband set up a make-shift kitchen in the garage. The temporary “kitchen” had the old cabinets, the microwave, a toaster oven and countertops. We went to the basement to do dishes. We stored our food in the garage refrigerator. And through the kitchen remodel, I continued to cook meals every day. I chose simple recipes that could be done on the grill, the George Foreman, the toaster oven or microwave. I was actually quite impressed with how well we ate under the circumstances. That temporary kitchen kept our lives sort of normal during that process.
Put up barriers to keep bad stuff out. On our current floor finishing project, my husband hung plastic over the doorway from the living room to the kitchen. When he sanded the floors, it kept most of the dust out of the rest of the house. He also put fans in the windows to pull the dust toward the windows. Later when he applied stain and polyurethane, the fans also pulled the smell outside. The chemical smell in the house was barely noticeable.
We also put a large wood barrier between the living room and the rest of the house. That kept the dog and cat out of the work areas. Without a barrier, we would have spent a lot of time trying to keep the animals out of there. Having the barrier made it easy. Plus, just in case I forgot what we were doing, it kept me out of there, too!
So I can tell you from personal experience that it’s possible to remodel and thrive! If you incorporate these tips into your next remodeling project, you can remodel and thrive, too.