With so much uncertainty in the housing market at the moment, it seems more of us than ever are undertaking home renovations instead of moving, and many of us are having to live on site to save on costs. Nancy Jones of Serene Spaces has been there… so what better person to give us some guidance on how to organise your home and life in readiness for a renovation!
Having lived through two major home renovations, what have I learnt?
Declutter well before building work starts:
Sort your possessions into three categories:
- Keep – limit items to the essentials for everyday living. Store items you think you might need in a dry garage or perhaps a room which will remain untouched during the build. Do remember, though, to keep items accessible – avoid having to climb over a mountain of things to find batteries, for example! Have a designated area for daily essentials such as keys, mobile phones, wallet, etc. and keep valuables safe, ideally off-site.
- Store – put items you know you won’t use or need for the duration of the build into storage. Despite the cost, this is especially true of bulky items as it will save you the time and effort of having to lug things from one room to another, not to mention avoiding the dust which finds its way into everything! The less you have on your building site the better.
- Donate/sell/discard – when looking through your items, consider your current and future space. If you are having a modern renovation, it is likely that some of your current possessions will not work in the new space/s and you may decide to donate or sell them instead. (You can find useful information on where to donate your edited items in this recent post!)
Basic living is key:
Get your kids (and yourself!) excited about indoor camping. It is best if you can plan your build over the warmer months as the BBQ will become your best friend. Picnics become the daily norm. With limited storage and space, meal planning is crucial. Plan a weekly menu. Remember, it will not be forever so don’t feel guilty if you need to resort to some microwaved meals.
Keep calm and carry on:
Expecting to keep a tidy clean house during a build project is not feasible and trying to do so will put unnecessary pressure on you. As long as the house is safe, a bit of dirt never harmed anyone!
Keep your remaining rooms multi-functional:
The more you can keep your usable rooms flexible, the better. Go with the flow – you may find that at certain times of the renovation, bedroom and living room merge and furniture (or a well-placed sheet) may need to become a divider for your space.
Consider future storage needs:
Many of us struggle with a lack of storage in our homes. Renovating is the perfect opportunity to be clever with storage and make sure that you are getting the most out of your space. This will help ensure that everything has a place and there is a place for everything.
Consider your current and future possessions (for example, when we finish the renovation, we are planning to get bigger bikes for the kids) and plan your storage accordingly. Think about items which you only need now and then (for example suitcases, Christmas decorations, etc.) and plan how these might be stored in some of those awkward spaces which don’t need to be accessible every day such as under-stairs cupboard, spaces in the eves if you are having a loft conversion, and so on.
Keep the end goal in sight:
It is normal for your enthusiasm and momentum to wane during renovations. Collect pictures from Pinterest, Houzz, home magazines, etc. of how you would like your space to look and keep them in the forefront of your mind. You will get there, and it will be worth it in the end!
Lastly, deep breaths and relaxation time help too. And if you need some help, you can find your local professional organiser here.