If you follow this blog at all, you know that we have been undergoing a major house renovation. Though we are not quite finished, I can already say that I have learned a lot that I am glad to share these insights with you.
1. Realize that it will take longer than you expect. Prepare yourself that things are not going to go as planned. That is the basic concept that everything else hinges to. No matter how much you plan, things will come up that you don't expect and you are going to have to roll with it.
2. Plan Ahead and yet be flexible. Prepare to grill. Buy microwaveable meals. Buy pre-made meals. Make crockpot meals and freeze them so you can have meals when you don't have a kitchen. We ended up doing all of these at one time or another during the six weeks of our remodeling job, and yet we also had to be ready for the idea that even that may not be feasible, and you may have to end up eating out. I planned ahead and set up a mock kitchen in our dining room, using a table to hold crockpots, the microwave and disposable eating-ware. Then, when the remodel began, I couldn't even get into the dining room because it was blocked by the appliances, such as the range, which were temporarily moved there to get to areas of the kitchen to complete the work. Despite all of this, I recommend that you stock up on paper plates and plastic cups and plastic-ware. At times you won't have anything available to you and so you will need something to use at home, even if you do eat out frequently.
3. Prepare yourself mentally for the disruption. I am a introvert by nature so having strangers in my house was particularly hard on me, but it will be hard on even the most social of people. Your routines will be disrupted. I had planned to use this time to hide away from the main center of the work and catch up on schoolwork. With all the noise and disruption, however, we found concentrating an impossible task. Things will come up that you couldn't possibly plan for, such as additional work, may crop up. Some of our choice of materials were out of stock by the time we got to actually ordering the product, so we had to alter our plans suddenly. All of these things add to the family's stress level. You may see the worst traits in all of the family members, especially if the remodel goes beyond two or three weeks. You will have to be patient and understanding of each other.
4. Find things to do that bring you comfort to counterbalance the stress. For some that is exercise or meditation. It may simply be getting out of the house. A picnic lunch in a natural setting can be just the salve you need. Remember that each family member may need a different thing, so you may need to provide a variety of outlets.
4. One thing that was comforting during the whole ordeal was the fact that we cleaned up and did our best to regain some normalcy along the way. It is easy to just give into the disruption and wait until it is all over to do anything. My advise is to not give in, but do all you can to regain control of your life. In the end, these efforts will bring some much needed comfort to the family.
5. Keep your eye on the prize. Remember no matter how extensive the remodel is, it will eventually be finished. Rejoice in all the improvements you see along the way, even if at the same time you have to turn a blind's eye to the messes which are also in the room.