How to Survive a Home Remodel

We recently remodeled our entire home. An extremely stressful thing to do on a normal timeline. We did it in 5 months. One of the first things that I am asked by people is if my significant other and I are still together after this time-crunch remodel! Yes, we are still together, but if that question does not give you a clue to the stress that is involved with a remodel I don't know what will. I learned a lot during the process and was given a lot of advice. If you are planning on a remodel of any type, here are some tips to help you with the process. 

 Try to keep life as normal as possible.  Even though your house may be gutted in certain areas, make sure that you have a plan in place to make sure that you are able to function on a daily basis. Make sure that you have a way to get a hot meal, take a bath and a place to have a little peace and solitude. This may not even be in your own home depending on the level of the remodel. Can you stay with a friend or relative? How about a hotel? Some people even move into a recreational vehicle  placed on the property. Everyone has different needs. Prior to starting your remodel make a list of what is important for you and have a plan.  If your plan does involve you not being in the home on a consistent basis, make sure that you are able to stay in consistent contact with  the designer and/or contractor. You don't want someone who is not familiar with your lifestyle and wishes making decisions for you in your absence. 


If you are staying in the home during the remodel make sure that you find a strategy to make staying there a little more pleasant. If you are doing a bathroom remodel do you have a second bathroom to use? Can you shower at your neighbor's, a friend's house or even the gym? A living room remodel can be made easier by converting a guest room or other space into a temporary living room while the remodel is being completed. Our master bedroom doubled as a bedroom/living room for about a week. A kitchen makeover can be more tolerable if you have a place to move the microwave and refrigerator where they can still be used. Stock up on paper plates and such for meals. We made up several meals that were easy to freeze and reheat. Eating out for several days or weeks can add up quickly. Make sure to have some bottled water handy for those times when the water may need to be shut off. Have candles and flashlights if you are going to be without electricity. Make sure that your phone and computer are fully charged.  

Keep it clean. Remodeling is dirty business. Use floor coverings and tarps to keep furniture and flooring that is staying in the home as safe as possible. Keep air circulating and windows open, if possible when painting. Seal off doorways with tarps or plastic. Make sure that you discuss with the contractors who is going to dispose of the waste. We saved a lot of money by disposing of our construction waste with one contractor. Looking back though we should have been much more specific about where they put it and we should have requested that they bagged the smaller pieces. Protect valuables by packing them up and storing them. Electronics are very sensitive to dust. Either pack them and store them or make sure that they are covered completely.


Breathe easy. As mentioned above,  make sure to get good air circulation whenever possible. Ask about possible fumes and such from construction materials and how long they take to dissipate.  Whenever possible, use products that are low in VOC's. Your nose and lungs will thank you and so will the environment! 

Communication. Make sure to communicate your wants and needs clearly. Put things in writing. Ask for the person to communicate back to you what you said to make sure that they understand. Never assume. Most of the issues that we encountered were due to poor communication. Clarifying arrival times and departure times, who needed to order what and such. Even communicating with your family about timelines to make sure that everyone knows how long accommodations may need to be made.

Be flexible. I am not saying to be a doormat and let everyone change timelines on you, but do be understanding that shipments are delayed, people get sick and sometimes a job takes longer than planned. Again, communication is key. 

Once the project is completed. relax and enjoy! You survived.