An article by: Laura Gaskill
With workers traipsing in and out of your living space, dust and dirt everywhere, and entire areas of your home unusable for the duration, home remodeling projects can be extremely disruptive to daily life. But a little smart planning ahead of time can make things run more smoothly. Here are 10 items to tick off your list before the chaos begins, for a safer and (slightly) less intrusive renovation.
1. Pare down and pack up. Go through the room(s) that will be part of the remodel and pare back to the essentials. When you must go without your kitchen, it makes no sense to have to dig through mountains of stuff just to find your coffee mug and cereal bowl. Keep the things you will still be able to use in an accessible location and pack up the rest in boxes. If possible, move the boxes to a storage area that’s out of the main flow of traffic through the house — it’s going to feel crowded enough as it is with the workers and all of their gear.
2. Put rolling storage units to work. For the things you do want to access during the remodel, consider filling up a few storage carts on casters. This type of cart is lightweight and easy to move, and stores things in plain view so you can quickly find what you need. You could use one for towels and linens, kitchen tools and dishes, food, toiletries or anything else you need but suddenly have nowhere to put.
3. Beef up home security.Having lots of people in and out of your home leaves it more vulnerable to theft — not necessarily from your own team, but from opportunists who notice there is work going on at your house.
Consider adding a programmable lock to your front door that allows you to give your reno team access to your home during the work; and reprogram the lock when the work is done. Some smart-phone-controlled locks on the market now allow you to monitor who is in your house and when. You can also move any highly valuable small items offsite to a safety deposit box or locked cabinet. And if you have a home security system, use it.
4. Protect your privacy. Think about what time you usually shower and get ready for your day — will the workers already be in your home at that time? If you’d like to be able to walk through the house in your PJs without running into your contractor, consider putting up a few folding screens or other opaque room dividers between the work areas and your private zones.
If you’ll be using the guest bath instead of the master bath, move your stuff over now. If you’d like to have your coffee in peace in the morning, consider setting up a coffee-making station in your bedroom. Shift your schedule, move your stuff, do whatever you need to do now, and you will feel less hassled when the work begins.
5. Get your most important stuff together. Once work begins it can suddenly seem impossible to find anything. Get your stuff together now and put it all in one place — somewhere well out of the remodeling zone. If you won’t be using your regular entryway, set up a temporary command center elsewhere with room for your cell phones, chargers, keys, mail and other essentials.
6. Keep kids out of work areas.A construction area is dangerous for children — power tools, hazardous materials, sharp nails and saws, not to mention exposed electrical work and more. Put up child safety gates at every entrance surrounding the work area, and make sure everyone on the remodeling team knows to keep them closed. Kids are curious, so even with the gates up, keep a closer eye on them than usual to be sure they don’t drift into the construction zones.
7. Don’t forget outdoor danger zones. If workers are keeping tools and power equipment in your driveway or backyard, or if the actual work will be happening to the exterior of your home, it’s worth it to do what you can to keep the work contained. Set up safety gates at the entrances to the yard or driveway, and ask your contractor to set up a temporary fence around the area if it is especially dangerous — to your own kids or passersby.
8. Contact friends, family and neighbors who may be able to help. During a long renovation, there may be times when you need to lean on others — for a place to spend the night, do a load of laundry, take a shower or just get a little moral support. Give your close friends, family and perhaps neighbors too a heads-up that you are starting a remodeling project, and they will likely be happy to help if you need something down the road.
9. Think about pet safety. Cats and dogs can be quite frightened by work going on at the house — and work sites can be dangerous for pets. If your pets are skittish, curious or likely to run away, consider having them stay with a friend or relative for the duration, or board them in a kennel. If that is not possible, see if you can rig up a system of gates to keep them safely away from the work areas.
10. Set aside a little room in the budget for a getaway. Really! It doesn’t have to be a tropical vacation; the main thing is knowing you can get away if you want to. Even zipping off for an impromptu weekend at a fun hotel can be enough to make the remodel seem more bearable.