Renovations are known to be stressful, due to the disruption of your usual routine. While we didn’t enjoy sharing a bathroom with our 13 year old daughter, doing this activity together taught us a few tips about dealing with the stress of renovating. Have we had our fair share of bickering? Sure. Renovations tend to increase stress. Despite everything, we have managed (relatively) to stay unharmed, thanks to these tips for staying sane.
Be clear on the budget
Renovation budget issues are probably one of the biggest complaints between couples. Your (and being clear on how you’re going to pay for things) will color your entire experience, so make sure it’s your first discussion. How much have you saved and how much will you use other funds (credit cards, equity loans, etc.)? Nothing is more stressful than watching your funds run out faster than they should. It’s not always the most enjoyable conversation, but budgeting and setting up a contingency fund will help you stay calm when other renovation issues arise.
Make your choice with your arguments.
In your quest for the space of your dreams, it can be easy to focus on the details of ceiling tiles. How are you going to love your kitchen if you don’t pick the perfect paint color? But every detail can be one of the biggest renovation stressors. At the very beginning of our renovation, I spotted the only thing I wouldn’t want to move on: the counters. Identifying what is essential made it easy to carry over and compromise on other details. When our shower contractor couldn’t complete my first pick on time, switching it to something more accessible wasn’t a big deal.
Pick your three home improvement essentials, then be flexible about the rest. You will get what you want without going completely crazy.
Compartmentalize the process
When your remodeling takes up a lot of your time and budget, it’s easy to start letting it color all of your interactions. Who can think of the evening date when your kitchen is in ruins? But compartmentalizing the renovation helps you take the stress out of costs, materials, and contractors when spending time with your family. I like to think of it as a working day: I can write “x” hours, but when I’m done with the day I focus on other things. So when I spend time with my family, I don’t focus on fixtures or paint samples. This means that it is forbidden to browse online at home or talk about the renovation after certain hours – and to preserve my sanity.
If you or your spouse is lucky enough to have a vacation, this would be a great time to use it. Sure, you might need a beach and a drink after your renovation, but there’s a good chance your time will be better served at your home. Whether it’s overseeing the installation of a cabinet or getting your paint brush wet, renovations are less stressful if you can do it during the day. Working a full day and trying to plan your working hours or coming home to work from home after a full day at the office consumes your energy and doesn’t give you any downtime. You don’t need to spend all your vacation time,