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How to Plan to Survive Your Home Renovation or Extension

Are you thinking of renovating or extending but are worried about living in your house while it happens?

Renovating is probably one of the most rewarding, yet frustrating and stressful things you’ll ever do. You don’t want to have to deal with the dust, disorganisation and not to mention the constant interruption to day-to-day life. If you don’t stay on top of things, your house can soon turn into a pig-sty and you’ll be left feeling more overwhelmed and stressed. But, there are some things you can do to make your renovation journey run a little smoother so it’s easier to handle.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Renovations take a lot of patience and perseverance when you aren’t living in the mess and your budget might mean you must accept sleeping, eating, and working amid the chaos. Planning for a renovation can include many things like choosing the right builder (you can read our blog here on why it’s important to choose the right builder), creating a make-shift kitchen whilst yours gets renovated or hiring a portable ensuite (if you’re renovating your only bathroom!) or one we like to recommend, organising your ‘mess’.

Believe it or not but there is such a thing as organised chaos! It all depends on the type of renovation you’re completing, but by going through your possessions before your renovation begins, you’re more likely to save time & money in the long run.

Head down to your local shopping centre and ask around for some cardboard boxes or make a small investment in some plastic containers from your local cheap store. Take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s book and only keep items that spark joy for you. This is a great opportunity to make a little extra cash by selling any unwanted items and cleanse your home! By organising and neatly storing away your items, during construction, you won’t have to concern yourself with living amongst mess. Then when it comes to placing them back into your newly renovated space, it will be done in a timely, efficient manner and you can enjoy your new space rather than stress over what to keep and where to put what.

“But I don’t have the time to plan my renovation?”

Most people think they ‘just don’t have the time’ to plan their project. But in actual fact, yes you do. You do have the time. Every person on planet Earth has the same amount of time every day, the only exceptions are the day you’re born and the day you die.

When you’re planning a renovation, you need to prioritise it. Stop saying you don’t have the time and start making the time, especially when it comes to preparing for it. You’ll thank yourself later when you’ve got a well-oiled machine running and your stress levels are kept at bay. But if you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed during the construction phase, we’ve got a few tips that can help revitalise your energy and stay focused on why you’re even doing it in the first place!

Take a mini vacation. If you can’t afford to move out during the renovation, you’re going to have to find a way to live amid the (organised!) chaos. But there will always come a point in every renovation where you’ll be ready to snap. Maybe it’s justified or maybe it’s over the smallest thing but either way, one way to avoid this is to plan a weekend away mid renovation.

The physical break will help by getting you away from the dust and mess, and the mental break will help with your patience and give you something else to focus on. It doesn’t even have to be a big holiday, a weekend stay somewhere or even a full day excursion, just make sure you’re physically removing yourself from your home for an extended period of time. You’ll come back feeling a little more refreshed, a little more rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next stage.

Help your builder help you. You may wonder what you can do to help the builder without physically picking up a hammer and literally working, but there’s plenty of things you can assist with that will help keep your project running on time and lower any chances of issues arising. Choosing your selections on time, being thorough and honest with your communication and paying your bills before they are due are all things that will actually help you in the long run. Even little things like offering the trades a cup of coffee or some snacks during the project can really set the tone for the entire project.

All of these things will help the builder ensure that your project runs on time and on budget, plus the builder-customer relationship will be strengthened and based on trust rather than inefficiency and impatience. In the end, your stress levels will be reduced and your whole experience will be improved.

Lower your expectations. In stating the above, keep in mind that something will almost always happen which may extend the time of your project so going with the flow and being proactive rather than reactive will ensure a less stressful experience. Keep an open mind and be flexible, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, communicate this with your builder and brainstorm on ways you can help overcome the emotions.

Having a contingency plan goes hand in hand with this, especially if your home is older. There’s no telling what’s beneath the surface or inside your walls so it’s always best to add 10% on top of your budget for variations and unexpected discoveries.

If all else fails, temporarily relocate.

If you are about to undergo a larger renovation, it might be your best option to move out of your home, especially if the size of the renovation is over 50% of your home. Once a renovation of this size takes hold, it’ll be near impossible to get away from the dust, noise and constant foot traffic in and out of your home. Your electricity or water may be compromised for a period of time during construction or your kitchen or bathroom may be out of action for longer than you’d hoped.

See if any family members may be able to take you in during the contracted period or if you can afford it, find an Airbnb that will allow you to live there for an extended period of time. It will help save your sanity and avoid unnecessary stresses.

If you can’t afford to relocate, create a separate living space in your home and cordon it off from the construction area with sheets of thick plastic and masking tape. This one goes hand in hand with our first tip on organising the mess. Organising and setting up your home prior to construction beginning will heavily reduce your stress levels during and after the renovation.

As the renovation process drags on, so can the impact of the negative but putting these tips into action can help you minimise how much it affects you. Remind yourself of all the positives, think about the dream space you’re creating and visualise the way you’ll live in your newly renovated home.

To help you begin your renovation journey, we’re going to share with you the Number 1 Thing To Avoid When Designing Your Custom Home Extension, Renovation or Addition, you can download your copy of our guide, right now.

1 thought on “How to Plan to Survive Your Home Renovation or Extension”

  1. This was such an apposite article we’ve forwarded it onto a relative in Geelong. He’s just bought a federation home.Sadly you don’t operate there!


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