Home Projects

8 Tips for Destressing During a DIY Renovation

updated May 4, 2019
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We are in the middle of a kitchen and bathroom renovation with a quick turnaround (one week), in our small one-bedroom condo, and it has definitely gotten me thinking about different ways to de-stress during the process. With a short amount of time to complete our projects, our home is a disaster area, and we’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way. Here are a few things to remember next time you’re in the midst of a DIY project.

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1. Fill up your gas tank and make lists — lots of lists. I think we may have been to the hardware store roughly eighteen times since this project started, and I’ve come to peace with it. You will inevitably run across problems that require materials or tools that you don’t currently have and you’ll end up at the hardware store. However, you can make sure that you remember what you’re there for while shopping by writing everything down and having transportation ready to go!

2. Drink water and eat right. This is my favorite tip, because this is one mistake I think we’ve made during this project. Eating fast foods or quick meals that aren’t healthy may be easy, but they’ll also zap your energy and make you grumpy and tired. Plan ahead and make your meals pre-renovation and freeze them: healthy meals ready to be heated up.

3. Realize that things may not go exactly as planned. Problems pop up that you just won’t see coming. For instance, we found out while tiling our kitchen backsplash that one cabinet was actually installed 1/8 of an inch lower than the other cabinet. This is a non-existent issue until all of the tiles under one cabinet fit perfectly, then magically need to be cut under the next one. Allow time and anticipate that things may (and most likely will) go wrong.

4. Have a backup bathroom and kitchen plan. Have friendly neighbors? A service bathroom in the laundry room? Access to a toilet and sink is imperative. You’ll need to wash tools, your hands, grab a drink of water, and obviously, relieve yourself when necessary. If you’re replacing any of these fixtures, think ahead and double the time you believe it will take (see #3) to install, just in case things go wrong! You will be thankful for your backup plan then.

5. Stick to your schedule but allow extra time. Come the third day of DIY renovation, and you’ll be wanting to take a nice, three-hour nap in the middle of your work. However, make sure you don’t drag behind, or you may end up with more problems than you expected. Also, allow about one extra day for the issues that may pop up. If you take time off from work to complete the project, you won’t want to go back into work knowing that you’re coming home to a big, unfinished mess at the end of the day.

6. Take calming breaks. This is a must — just don’t go overboard. Take a walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air, have a nice cold sparkling water, or splash some water on your face. This tiny recharge will help you power through the rest of the project.

7. If you have kids or pets, make a plan for their day as well. Let’s be honest, toddlers, puppies, kittens, etc., do not mix when it comes to renovation. Plan to have someone watch your child, or in the case of pets, arrange a pet-sitter or safe place out of the way for them if needed.

8. Have a set time to wrap up, clean up, and sit down with a cup of tea or glass of wine. I understand the desire to power through and finish, but working when you are exhausted will impede progress and produce sloppy work. Have a set time that you’ll clean up your space, take a load off and relax.

Got tips of your own? Leave them for us in the comments!