August 20, 2022
While living in the midst of a major home renovation, things can feel completely out of control. Stuff is everywhere, out of place, and maybe even at times covered with a thin layer of dust. Storage boxes are stacked amidst temporary placement of items you use everyday.
Nearly everything from our kitchen has landed in a neighboring room and is spilling over to the dining room. And, the dining room is crowded with huge appliance boxes. We’re displaced from our bedroom, so we’re crammed into half of the neighboring bedroom (which is also partially demoed). We’re also down a bathroom and kitchen is demoed, so our hall bath is pulling triple duty.
As someone who seeks serenity, beauty and joy and my surroundings, this has obviously been challenging! But, we’re managing. Here are my tips for staying sane when you’re living through a reno.
When it seems like chaos is everywhere, it’s been helpful to focus on a specific, controlled location to create some order. One room that is undisturbed in our renovation is our daughter’s room. Keeping a sense of normalcy in this space has been good, not only for her, but for all of us. We’re also using this period to bolster some good habits, like making the bed, cleaning surfaces and donating old toys. It’s also perfect timing for a deep cleaning (dusting shelves, baseboards and ceiling fan; vacuuming under furniture and inside the closet).
Another area that is undisturbed is our back deck. It’s summertime, so it’s a perfect opportunity to spruce up the space by cleaning off surfaces, organizing storage and repotting our planters with colorful flowers. It’s also really the only true seated dining area we have that’s not in the center of a construction zone! To really make this space feel inviting, I recently swapped out some old acacia wood furniture for new powder coated aluminum as well as a few out door rugs. We’ve been spending more time on the deck than ever!
However you can, it’s important take a break from the crazy. When you’re planning a renovation, plan for this to be a time where you do more eating out because if you’re like us, you may not even have a kitchen. We’re currently shlepping dishes back and forth to the bathroom and I want to do as little of that as possible! Even take out will be a relief (and traveling to pick it up is getting out of the house, right?!).
Museums or outdoor adventures are also great escapes. Best yet, a regular walk around the neighborhood will serve multiple purposes. You’ll get out of the chaos, get exercise, and get fresh air and sunshine, which reduces stress and increases serotonin! (Very helpful for living amidst chaos.)
Now is the time for an escape, and we’ve scheduled vacations and mini trips as frequently as possible. Try to align summer beach visits, plan a romantic escape or a birthday celebration. Renovations are expensive, so if you plan ahead you can apply travel points from credit cards if you have them. In the months ahead of construction, consider making renovation-related purchases on these cards and reap the benefits when you need them. Earlier this year, we took advantage of a really great offer to open a Marriott Bonvoy card. We have been racking up Marriott points and are using them for free night stays, getting us a free mini vacation while getting out of the mess.
I’ll add that if you are financing your renovations I recommend consulting your lender to understand timing of credit checks. You don’t want to open up new accounts within a certain time frame for a construction or final loan as they are considered dings on your score. Six months out from construction would be a minimum timeframe but further out is even better. (P.S. this is not financial advice!)
A fact of construction is that it’s messy and chaotic but also temporary and for the greater good. Remember that saying “don’t worry about the things you can’t control”? Now’s the time to lean into that, because there will be a lot that is out of your control like other people or material delays. So when things get frustrating, I try to visualize the end plan. I reflect on our construction plans or open my Pinterest boards and scroll through inspiration photos. Let yourself get excited about that because the end will come!