Home Style || Collaborative Post
When we moved in to our home a whopping ten years ago now, we were child free living on two salaries and totally oblivious to all the work we had ahead of us, but we were lucky to have a rental home to stay in for the first couple of months and no children or pets running around to keep safe. This meant we were free to make a mess, have builders in around the clock and shut the door during renovations to return back to the peace of our rental property. Now though, any work we have done has to be done amongst the chaos of our busy family life, with pets here and there, limited space and very few working hours when a) we have energy and b) the kids are safely out the way.
Needless to say, renovating whilst living in the house does have its downsides, but it's not impossible. With a little planning beforehand and some slightly adjusted living arrangements during any work, you can soon achieve your dream home without even having to leave the place you love the most. There are some advantages of staying on site during major works though too, as it keeps your property safe while it's vulnerable, saves you money from renting elsewhere and best of all - you're right where you need to be for the builders when they need a chat or if any problems arise, which they tend to in an old house like ours!
If you're planning on living at home while your house gets spruced up, then here's some useful tips to help you survive the stress of 'live in' renovating, especially with kids and pets in tow.
Plan, Plan, Plan...
As with most things in life, good planning is key and although with a renovation of any kind there are bound to be hiccoughs along the way, we can prepare for these in advance and be as ready as we can for the works to begin. With any renovation to the home, the planning usually needs to be done quite far in advance to ensure your builders, plumbers and electricians can be available on the right days in the right order. Usually, your builder or project manager can help with a timeline so you know roughly when to book in the right people, just be prepared for some jobs to take longer than expected, so if possible leave a bit of wiggle room before appointments to allow for any extra works needed.
Declutter & Utilise Storage
Again, like every tips post relating to the home we need a good declutter and clear out of the spaces we are working in, as well as any others that will be used more heavily during this time. You could start by donating any items that will be replaced with new for the new room/space, as well as any items that won't suit the style of the new room or are simply not needed. For most of us, space is at a premium as it is, so having to temporarily store more furniture around the house from the room being renovated can be tricky at best. If possible, remove any furniture temporarily and consider outside storage for your items until the work has been done. There are storage facilities all over the country just for this, such as the Shurgard self-storage city airport and much more that can offer safe affordable storage for your bulky goods while you have the work done, without compromising on space elsewhere. This gives you time to get the work finished and rooms decorated, but also prevents these items getting covered in dust too.
Prepare For The Dust
Talking of dust, you need to prepare for the fact that it literally goes everywhere - everywhere! With small children in the house this can be quite dangerous for them to breathe in, so it's best to try and contain it as much as possible. The main things that will cause the dust are taking off old plaster and later on when re plastering, so when these jobs are being done, you could give the builders some old sheets to block gaps under doors, cover furniture in dust sheets or even pin some to your door frames to prevent the dust making its way around the house. Plaster dust can easily escape through floorboards and the tiniest of gaps, so just think of any areas that may be vulnerable and how you could reduce the dust escaping through. Also, if you clean the dust up as you go, it will be less overwhelming at the end when the work is complete. The last thing we want is to have to clean the whole house before we can enjoy our newly renovated area, so with a little prior planning we can prevent it spreading too far.
Keep Work Spaces Separate
It's easy for the building materials and tools to takeover the house, but it's important for your own sanity as well as achieving normal every day living, to keep some areas completely clear of tools, plans, building materials and anything else related to the build. You and your family need a space to relax in that gets you away from the stress of the building or decorating work without reminders in every room. You may also want to provide builders with their own cups and kettle etc so that when you're home your space is your own and you're not making endless cups of tea!
Take A Break
As tempting as it can be to work work work through your spare time and weekends, it's important to take a break as although we want the job done quickly, it can soon tire you out mentally and physically. Taking some time between jobs means that you can make the best choices for the long term and also still have that much needed family time away from the home. As much as we want the work over and done with, not running ourselves into the ground is far more important.
If for example it's your kitchen you're renovating, then set up a 'mini kitchen' in another part of the house. Although not quite as luxurious as the real thing, it's amazing how quickly you can adjust to a mini kitchen, with a simple toaster, kettle, microwave and single stove - if you're lucky! Have a couple of baskets with everyday essentials and a temporary fridge freezer nearby. It's not the most perfect way to live, but it's much easier to have a mockup of the real thing than nothing, or starting to use your new kitchen before it's ready! For building work such as adding an extension, you may not lose as much home, but you may need to section off some areas so just think about what you may be missing from the areas that aren't accessible and see if you can set these up elsewhere. For a bathroom renovation, it's much harder to have a mock up room, but your kitchen sink will now be used for tooth brushing, washing etc so just keep it squeaky clean and try to keep bathroom items very separate from kitchen ones. When it comes to being without the bath/toilet or shower, it's all about planning your builders and plumbers so that you are without these for the shortest time possible and have access to them quickly when they are installed. Maybe on the bathroom fitting days you could have a day out, trip away or at the very least have neighbours or friends on hand that won't mind you nipping in for a quick loo stop or shower! Remember that it's all temporary, so however stressful it is it won't be for long!
Keep Children & Pets Safe
The most important thing when we are renovating is to keep ourselves, our family and our pets safe throughout. There are so many things to consider depending on what work you're having, but again with a little planning we can all keep safe in our homes during all renovations. There may be time where chemicals are being used that could be harmful, so just ask for plenty of notice if there will be any times to leave the property completely so you can make arrangements in advance. You may need to bring out the stair gates again as a reminder to children to not enter certain spaces, but also show them the progress to make the less curious and less likely to investigate on their own. If there's any danger with things like electrical wiring, you should be given notice to stay clear, so if your children are at an age where they are likely to wander, then it may be best to go for a long walk, or visit friends while these jobs take place. With pets, they are mostly unaffected but you may need to change a few things. With indoor cats, you'll have to close doors, possibly relocate litter trays or give them an alternative exit if they venture outdoors. Dogs can be kept at bay with a stair gate, but if they're likely to get stressed by the noise or you don't have anywhere safe for them to stay out the way, then it may be best for them to stay with a friend or even get them booked in to a kennel until the work has been done.
There's no doubt that renovating your home while you and your family are living there can be super stressful, but it can be fun, cosy and exciting too. You can save money along the way, be on hand when needed and keep a close eye on the project from start to finish which can never be a bad thing.
Are you planning any new home renovations this year?