Seven organizing strategies for a home renovation project

Organizing a home renovation is no easy task. Coordinating with contractors, applying for building permits, and keeping track of all of the bills, invoices, and receipts can be quite time consuming. The following seven tips are things to consider prior to starting a renovation project so it runs more smoothly.

Unclutter. Keep only items used on a daily basis in the space you are renovating. For example, during a summer time kitchen renovation, pack away Christmas dishes and place them in storage. If the renovation is scheduled for your bedroom, place off-season and seldom worn clothing in another area of the house.

Security. There will be times when your home will not be secure, such as when workers are transporting materials in and out or if windows are being replaced. Consider placing valuable jewelry and vital documents (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.) in a safety deposit box for the duration of the renovation. Other sensitive documents, such as receipts and bank statements should be stored in a locked filing cabinet. Sentimental items such as photos, souvenirs, and memorabilia should also be packed away so they will not be damaged.

Safety. Remember that a renovation is a construction site. There may be electrical wires exposed and places where you can slip, trip, or fall. Discuss the risks with the contractor and consider installing barrier gates to keep children and pets out of the area. Small pets such as guinea pigs and rabbits can get into holes and get sealed in. Cats may get curious and get stuck in places they shouldn’t. Dogs may get slivers in their paws from walking through broken bits of wood. Consider having your four-legged friends stay with family, friends, or pet daycare if you cannot be home to supervise them during the renovation process.

Review routines. Before the renovations begin, examine all of the ways the project will interrupt your regular routines. For example, if you have to shower in the guest bathroom in the mornings, will you be able to walk through the house in your bathrobe? You may need to plan extra time the night before to bring your clothes to the guest bathroom. If you will be using another entryway for access into the house, you may need to move the car keys, cell phone charger, and children’s backpacks. Ensure you have a place for incoming mail so that bills still get paid and important documents get filed. If you can’t get to your filing cabinet, invest in a small accordion-filing folder to use during the renovation process.

Create swing space. If furniture must be removed from certain rooms during the renovation process, it should be placed in a way that doesn’t interfere with household operations. You just can’t cook a decent meal with a sectional sofa in the middle of the kitchen. You may wish to clear your garage or basement or consider putting some furniture temporarily into storage during the renovation.

Plan for the unplanned. You should have a back up plan in case of emergencies, such as a busted water pipe or heating/air-conditioning system shutdown. Have a list of local hotels handy in case you need to make a last-minute reservation. It is also helpful to have a list of local restaurants that offer take-out and delivery for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Keep a stash of coins and a large mesh bag in your car in case you need to use the local Laundromat.

Think positive. As my mother is fond of saying, “This too shall pass.” Renovations are a temporary state. Once completed, you’ll be able to enjoy your new space, and look back and smile at your renovation adventure.

3 Comments for “Seven organizing strategies for a home renovation project”

  1. posted by Leslie on

    We were remodeling our condo while also planning a wedding. Because of the extensive renovations, we had to move out, but told the contractor that we would need to stay there the week before the wedding (he had this information in writing and we were calling every couple days). When we arrived, there was dust everywhere and the toilet was sitting in the bathtub. The condo looked like it had been blasted from the inside out. We scraped together whatever funds we had left and checked into a motel down the street.

    Our condo went a month past schedule and we looked terrible in our wedding pictures.

  2. posted by E.T. on

    We did a kitchen renovation a few years ago and while I don’t remember it being quite as traumatic as Leslie’s was (Hat’s off to you by the way), it certainly wasn’t fun. We are going to do a Master Bath Remodel, probably next year. Thanks for the remodel organizing advice.

  3. posted by Sassy on

    We did a major remodel and every contractor said “8 to 10 weeks.” Then we added another huge space to the remodel and the contractor still insisted that it would be 8 to 10 weeks. My husband took him aside and confided that I was great but that I had this issue: if he said a year and the remodel took 365 days I would tell everyone how great he was but if he said 6 weeks and took 6 weeks and 1 day, I would no doubt take out an ad and tell the entire world he was a lying, cheating fraud…so in light of that, did he want to give us a different timeline? He added 4 weeks to make it 12 to 14 and came in at 14 (allowing for changes which I was okay with as long as I was warned along the way).

    16 years later we have called him about another possible remodel. Guess how long he estimates? yep. 8 to 10 weeks. My husband will be having another chat with him.

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