If “Location! Location! Location!” is top of mind when buying a home, then “Hassle! Hassle! Hassle!” is certainly unavoidable throughout its renovation. Whether contracting a small job or large one, your family must tolerate the inevitable disruptions from dust, noise, and a steady stream of workers temporarily trudging through your home. Entire living and working spaces become inaccessible as your everyday lifestyle is forced to adjust until the whole job is done.
Although the ends gloriously justify the means, the process can be challenging — especially if you need to live in your house (LIYH) while it’s being renovated. The good news is that a little bit of planning, creativity, and flexibility go a long way to help transform an otherwise uncomfortable and inconvenient situation into one that’s manageable and even memorable for you and your family. So here’re 10 proven tips that years of experience have shown are useful and effective.
LIYH Tip #1: Work with a Calendar
The antidote to “Hassle! Hassle! Hassle!” is actually a simple one: “Plan! Plan! Plan!” Partner closely with your trusted contractor to capture start, middle, and end dates for your renovation project, designating significant milestones every step of the way. Remodeling is complicated with many moving parts, so a detailed yet flexible timeline creates a foundation around which you can effectively coordinate everything necessary to make things as smooth as possible.
That level of transparency and communication throughout the project will enable you and your family to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances with a minimal amount of inconvenience. By determining where and when work takes place throughout your home you can isolate noisy and dusty areas, redistribute essentials, and keep your loved ones out of harm’s way. Creating proactive bathroom, kitchen, and outdoors strategies will also make life easier from day one.
LIYH Tip #2: Designate Work, Live, and Play Areas
Once your schedule is in place, make sure the areas under renovation are clearly identified and sealed off as best as possible. Temporary barriers, alternate routes, and substitute facilities will help keep you and your family away from the dust, noise, and dangers of an active work site. Talk to your contractor about their containment and clearing procedures, which can include HEPA vacuums and air filters, plus protective equipment for workers to keep them and you safe.
On the flipside, you can repurpose non-renovated living areas to perform multiple functions including substitute eating and resting spaces. While your kitchen or master bedroom is “under construction,” take this time to discover new local restaurants and move beds to quieter and cleaner places better suited for a good night’s sleep. Bathroom out of service? Use the spare and establish designated times so your spouse and children don’t fight for limited availability.
LIYH Tip #3: Move Food, Supplies, and Distractions
Inaccessible rooms will deprive you not only of their utility, but their storage capacity, too. Before work gets started identify essential items you’ll need and take them to separate rooms where they can be put to good use throughout the project. Don’t forget to remove anything else that will get in the way or could get damaged during the renovation; make sure things you’ll need most frequently are easily found. Now’s the perfect time for getting rid of things you don’t need.
Creativity and flexibility will help you retain a sense of normalcy. If a renovation or home addition knocks out your main living room, for example, then create a temporary but comfortable alternative by relocating and setting up your home entertainment system elsewhere. Kids’ bedroom unusable? Have them bunk downstairs and throw slumber parties. Impossible to cook in the kitchen? Convert your dining room into a full service prep, storage, and eating space.
LIYH Tip #4: Protect Kids, Pets, and the Elderly
Amid all this commotion don’t forget to prioritize the safety of the most vulnerable in your family. A straightforward and effective way to do that is by assigning separate work and traffic spaces for them and the renovation team. If possible, devote the back door exclusively for workers and the flow of all heavy equipment, materials, and fixtures. Contain and clean those areas, and keep your children, their grandparents, and your pets in other rooms and using other entrances.
Children get restless, and seniors need distractions, too. Repurpose rooms solely dedicated to keeping them entertained and separated from the commotion elsewhere in the house. Fill these spaces up with toys, reading material, electronics, and games. Pets need love and attention, so kill two birds by letting your dog or cat roam free but within limits. If necessary set up temporary barriers and schedule times for “no fly zones” when the renovation work is going full steam.
LIYH Tip #5: Create Bathroom Strategies
Bathroom renovations result in their own complexities, especially in larger households when the demand for them can be acute. Simple survival techniques work well, but everyone needs to be on board: If possible, renovate only one bathroom at a time to keep at least another one available. Then create a daily schedule where everyone is given specific times to prevent traffic jams. Make sure there’s enough room by using only the essential bath and shower products,
Adding a caddy or carry-on can help make the most of limited bathroom area. For overflow a nearby bedroom or living space could be made to accommodate what doesn’t fit. Moving mirrors, lights, and electrical appliances like hair dryers and electric toothbrushes free up space, and give family members more breathing room and comfort. If the situation gets particularly tight or uncomfortable showering at your gym could even be an option. It’s all about making do!
LIYH Tip #6: Create Kitchen Strategies
Second only to the bathroom, your kitchen is the area in your home you truly can’t live without. Compounding the challenge of a renovation there is the reality that most homes only come equipped with one, so using a spare or backup is typically not possible. But good old fashioned American ingenuity goes a long way, as does a willingness to improvise meals. For starters, adjusting your menu from heavily prepared to lightly processed foods will go a long way.
To that end stock up on nonperishable items, disposable plates and silverware, and recipes best prepared with the appliances you have at hand. In lieu of a functional stove, oven, big fridge, or sink, switch to meals cooked on electric skillets, storable within a mini-fridge, and cleaned in a bathroom or out in your yard. Winnow down what you need and stay focused and functional. Most importantly consider the experience an adventure, and use it as an excuse to order in.
LIYH Tip #7: Create Outdoor Strategies
Now’s also a great time to make the most use of your backyard and outdoor areas. Depending on how much land you have and what the weather will be like, incorporating habitable spaces outside could be an important part of your live at home approach. Free of dust and distant from the workers and noise, you and your family can enjoy eating, resting, and playing outside. Taking advantage of your grill also brilliantly solves your kitchen makeover cooking challenge.
So before renovation starts, survey what you’ve got and see if you can make use of what you have and what you can create. Playground for the kids, mini-dog park for your pets, patio and other lounging areas for adults, BBQ pit for hearty meals, and shaded areas for seniors all help make an otherwise stressful and inconvenient renovation project palatable and even fun. Let the air out of your dusty, noisy, and crowded home renovation project with the bright outdoors!
LIYH Tip #8: Create Mental and Physical Health Strategies
If “Planning! Planning! Planning!” is your best bet for the smoothest and least stressful LIYH renovation experience, then “Attitude! Attitude! Attitude!” is the mindset you’ll need to succeed. Staying focused on the vision of your future home will help you overcome the many challenges you and your family will face seeing it through. After all, your home is your sanctuary, the place where you go to get away from it all; a renovation turns it upside-down, at least until complete.
Another proven way to get to the finish line is by simply making the most of the disruption and chaos. Accept the inevitable, and embrace the improvisational. Organize games, indulge in distractions, and take the pressure off. Rather than fighting against the mess, find fun things to do you otherwise normally wouldn’t. If nothing else, LIYH renovations force quality time with your family, and create endless valid excuses for just wasting time and enjoying yourself.
LIYH Tip #9: Partner with a Trusted Contractor
As you can tell, figuring out effective ways to survive and hopefully flourish during a home renovation demands an experienced and empathetic contractor. Ensure your contractor listens to your needs and anticipates your expectations. They should come prepared with an LIYH plan that’s succeeded with other clients while being customized to your specific circumstances. Most importantly, they should be as creative and flexible as they expect you and your family to be.
Especially nowadays, safety is of paramount concern. Qualified contractors should be able to describe and substantiate protocols they have in place for containing and cleaning their work areas, keeping their employees and your family separate and secure, and ensuring a minimum level of dust, noise, and disruption to your home. They should be your trusted partner every step of the way, and be responsive to your concerns and answer all of your questions throughout.
LIYH Tip #10 Choose Blackline Renovations
Founded and personally managed by Chris Black, Blackline Renovations is a dynamic design-build residential remodeling firm exclusively specializing in residential work. They routinely tackle complicated projects with clients living in their homes, and are eager to ensure you and your family are safe and comfortable from start to finish. Blackline also offers the latest innovative designs; take a look at some of their visionary projects in homes near you.
Still have concerns about LIYH renovation? Effortlessly ask for a free personal design consultation. Having earned a reputation for excellent communication, quality construction, and outstanding customer service. Blackline is eager to apply their proven process that brings efficiency and economy to your LIYH renovation!
Join hundreds of satisfied Greater Dallas area homeowners who continue to enjoy award-winning projects done safely, smoothly, and with minimal hassle.