Moving, renovations, major appliance breakdowns – anything that disrupts our home lives can cause a lot of stress. One way to avoid some of the strain? Plan with care. If you can maintain a little control over the situation, it can make a big difference in how you experience the situation, and renovations definitely give you enough lead time to make this happen.
If you’re headed into a major home renovation process, these 4 steps can help you and your loved ones navigate it without feeling like the walls are literally crumbling around you, even if the repairs mean they actually are.
Set A Budget
Renovations and repairs are stressful not just because they disrupt our daily routines, but because they’re expensive. That’s why, before you confirm any part of a home renovation, you need to set a firm budget for the project. Be clear about how much you can spend and which parts of the project are priorities. The fact is, even with careful planning, you may not be able to do everything you’d like to do. Based on your budget, then, you’ll also want to outline what needs to be done first and what can wait until later.
If you are staying in your home during the renovation process, don’t make the conditions worse than they need to be. For example, once you’ve packed up the room that’s under construction, what will you do with the boxes? You could move them to another room and spend the next several weeks or months shuffling them around and having them in the way, or you could rent a storage unit for the length of the project. Your things will be kept safe, you can reclaim them whenever you’re ready, and you won’t be forced to live in clutter, which can cause higher rates of anxiety.
Have A Survival Plan
Back to that point about daily disruptions – one reason that people tend to get stressed, and that couples and families fight, during the renovation process, is that they failed to plan for alternative arrangements. Where will you cook? If you’re renovating your bathroom, where will everyone shower? Many people plan to stay with friends or relatives during the worst of the work, but that just introduces new people into the web of conflicts. Some people just need a few days at a hotel where they can settle into an alternative routine, take a long shower, and unwind before they can continue coping with the renovation process.
Focus On Communication
When plotting out a renovation, it’s easy to get caught up in all the technical elements, such as the design of the renovation, who will install the windows, or do the carpentry, and those details will influence your renovation. Good planning can prevent all kinds of crises that lead to conflict and stress. But the other factor that really influences renovation stress is communication styles.
If you’re navigating a renovation with your partner or family, sit down and talk about how you’ll handle conflict during this process. Acknowledge that you’ll probably butt heads at least occasionally and create a protocol for settling arguments over changes. You should be making as many decisions beforehand as possible, but if a conflict arises – or you’re just fighting about who took too long in the only available shower – you need to be ready to set it aside and keep moving forward.
Renovations are stressful, but they’re also temporary, so don’t let them rock your relationship. Plan the process carefully and create outlets for the stress of it all. The whole process will be done soon enough.