How to... stay sane whilst living in your renovation project

Our kitchen as it currently stands... *gulp*

We are currently entering week four of our #StowRenovation and so much has happened since we started, and thankfully so much progress has been made thus far, although there is still a very, very long way to go.

When planning the project, it was clear that we would need to live at the house during the work, mostly due to financial restraints, but also to keep an eye on things. This has proved invaluable so far, as things change drastically from day to day and being there to ensure every small detail is how we want it has been so important.

But living on site has also been a real rollercoaster and staying sane and upbeat can be challenging, especially when you are without a kitchen and a clean bathroom for weeks on end, builders are traipsing in and out all day and your cat is more freaked out than you about the dust. So today I wanted to share some tips on how we have managed to keep going whilst living on a building site...

  1. Think about your pets. This was a fairly big oversight from us when we moved in, as we thought that if we could endure the mess and disruption, our cat could too. But it soon became apparent that the noise, mess and strange people in the house were too much for her and despite us creating 'comfort zones' with blankets and clean areas to sleep, it just wasn't enough. Worrying about her was almost more stressful than everything going on with the house. Therefore if you are in the fortunate position, as we are, to leave any furry family members with friends or family for a few weeks then I strongly recommend it.
  2. Enjoy the progress. Since the project started, Peter and I have arranged to meet from work and make the journey home together. This way we both arrive at the house at the same time to explore and talk through the progress made each day. It has actually made coming home (to the considerable mess) a pleasure rather than a chore and it helps deal with the mess because each day you see you're a step closer to the end.
  3. Cover EVERYTHING or put it in storage. One thing that so many people warned us about was the dust. There will be dust everywhere, we were told. And we took heed, ish, putting things in boxes, closing doors to rooms with our things in etc. But my god, I can't tell you how much dust there is and how it manages to get into every single crevice of the house. That has been the hardest thing for us, as you can't escape it. It gets on all of your clothes, your towels and even your hair and skin feel clogged up but worse than that, some of my favourite pieces of furniture are being affected and it is a real concern. Self storage experts, Shurgard opened a store near us recently (they have 25 locations in all) and in hindsight I 100% should have used a storage company to keep things safe and clean whilst the work is underway. I am hoping nothing will be damaged beyond repair and recovery but to have them kept safely off sight would have been a real weight off my mind and I would definitely recommend considering this option if undertaking a big renovation.
  4. Tell your builders. Ensure every workman/woman onsite understands your situation and are mindful or your living situation when planning the order of works. We made it clear that we needed the new bathroom up and running and in a good condition before the original bathroom was taken out and because of that, not a single day went by without us having the facilities we need. We also ensured they understood that the bedroom was our 'clean zone' and any work in there was to be limited and as undisruptive as possible to ensure we always had a space to retreat.
  5. Stay on top of things. Although you are living in chaos, if you can stay on top of the work and the budget from a project management point of view, things won't start to feel too much. We have been keeping a very nerdy Excel spread sheet of our outgoings throughout the project, and when things seem overwhelming, looking over that really helps. It puts things in order in your mind and reminds you that things are happening and you are in control, even if it doesn't feel like you are sometimes.
  6. Get inspired. When things have been looking particularly bleak, retreating into other interiors blogs, magazines and Pinterest boards has been so helpful. It just reminds you of the end goal and you can busy your mind away from mouldy ceiling tiles, broken floorboards and dangerous electrics and think about gorgeous paint colours, cushions and rugs. A small thing, but it has helped me so much.
  7. Reward yourself. Eating out every night is not practical from a financial point of view, but on particular down days do not feel bad about it. It is easy to think that all of your money should be ploughed into the house, and luxuries like meals out make you feel guilty but microwaveable meals for days on end will make living in the build all the more awful. It is important to get out and feel like yourself again, at least once a week.
So there are a few things that have been helping me get through the renovation, but it is still very much on-going and I would love to hear any other tips you have to help us reach the end without divorcing, burning the place down or having a mental breakdown. If anyone is going through the same thing at the moment let me know too - would love to share war stories!

H x

This was a collaborative post.

1 comment:

  1. I read your article. It was very nice. Thanks for sharing.

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