- Someday Lesson: When change creates chaos, counter it with a little bit of order.
When it comes to self-development, it’s not just your internal thoughts and emotions that are up for change. Nor just your body either. We are highly influenced by our environments and where we live has a huge effect on us.
For that reason the home renovation business is huge. And having a house you love to come home to is one of many people’s top Somedays. Because houses never stay in perfect condition forever, every homeowner at some point faces the question of renovating their home. Your kitchen may have harvest gold appliances and faux-oak cupboards; your bathroom was built for people under 5’6”; or you have to dress in the hallway because your master bedroom holds your bed and nothing else.
When faced with these challenges, people ask themselves two questions: Do I sell? Or do I renovate? If you like your neighborhood, and have a strong attachment to your home, you are likely going to answer “Renovate.”
Then the questions start flooding in. To what extent will I be renovating? Will it be a new addition? Is there demolition involved? Do I get a designer? Can I do the work myself? Can my relationship stand the stress? How do I get a contractor I trust? What about permits, and demolition debris removal?
It’s enough to stop many people from ever considering renovating. Maybe just a new coat of paint will be enough!
If you have an older home, starting to renovate one area, often leads to changes in another, then another and soon the whole house is torn up and your initial four week little bathroom reno becomes a six month whole-home gutting.
As with most projects, the keys to a successful renovation are planning, preparation and monitoring. By knowing what you want to do, knowing who you want to do and what your budget is, you already minimize the potential for disaster. In creating clear limits, expectations and desired outcomes, you stop the project from taking over your home and your life. And by monitoring the progress and maintaining as normal a life as possible throughout the project, you keep project-fatigue at bay and lower stress levels for everyone involved.
For me the biggest challenge isn’t picking the architect or contractor, nor doing the work yourself and wondering if you’re getting it right. No, the biggest challenge is surviving the chaos a renovation creates.
I grew up in a home under constant renovation and my parents taught me how to survive the chaos – by not letting the chaos reign.
That’s right. The trick to living in chaos is to not live in chaos. While that may sound like a contradiction, it actually makes sense. When the big picture is chaotic, keep the day to day details of life as organized as possible.
Also pamper yourself. A renovation is chaotic by nature, and it’s all about change – something most people tend not to cope with well. If you feel your stress levels rising, remove yourself from the home for a bit. Go out for dinner or spend some time at the gym.
If your stress levels are rising, however, because of problems with the contractor or designer/architect, raise the issue as quickly as possible. If you have gone through the planning process, you should have a comfortable enough relationship with the contractor and planning professional that you should be able to raise concerns without tempers flaring or miscommunication occurring.
To minimize stress, stay out of the construction area except during planned meetings. Don’t be a micromanager – that’s why you’ve hired a professional!
Other ways to create comfort for yourself including making sure the rest of the home stays as normal and as organized as possible. For example, if your living room is being renovated, collapse the dining room table and set up the living room in the dining room. It’s unlikely you’ll be entertaining much during the process, so why have the dining room?
And this advice doesn’t just apply to physical renovation projects. Any big change in your life will create chaos of some sort or other during the transition. Apply the same rules for home renovation to whatever Someday you’re working on and you’ve find the chaos becomes quite ordered and ultimately manageable.