We're not done with the kitchen reno yet (that we started last January, gulp), but I feel like I've learned enough in the past ten months to share some of my hard-earned wisdom.
I know that ours isn't your typical kitchen reno, we didn't rip down any walls, take out cabinets or replace appliances, although we did build a cabinet, and we didn't hire anyone to do any of the work. Our reno has been done by just the two of us...from design to electrical to plumbing (we have removed and reinstalled the sink 4 times, and counting), to planking the ceiling and installing granite countertops.
Not that there's anything wrong with hiring out.
A lot Some days I wish we would've done that, but we were on a very tight budget and we were confident that we could handle the projects that we needed to do on our own, although we did sweat it out when it came time to do the granite countertops. It's really been a long, tough road but it's been a great experience and I've learned a thing or two about myself. I know, learning stuff about yourself from a kitchen reno...crazy!
Anyway, here's a few things that have helped me survive through all of the chaos.
Try to make some part of your living space a reno free zone. We have a small house and all the stuff that we had in the kitchen has been tucked into different corners in almost every room, with lot of tools and paint adding to the mess. It's been hard at times, but I try to keep the living room looking as normal and tidy as possible so we can relax at night without looking at reno stuff.
Go ahead and decorate, a little, for a holiday. When you're in the middle of a reno and there's stuff everywhere, the last thing you want to do is haul boxes out of the basement and take more stuff out. I know, I get it, but it's nice to have a small area fixed up and looking pretty (like my living room) for a special holiday/season. It adds some life back into your space. I didn't feel like doing it, but I was so glad I did after it was decorated.
Don't go crazy cleaning all the time. Ok, this has been a really tough one for me. I'm going to tell you something that I've never told you before...I'm a little OCD when it comes to cleaning. When we were first married, I would happily clean the same things every. single. day. I've really calmed down over the last 30 years, if you ask my husband he would say I'm still obsessed, but having a dirty house still stresses me out. Well, when you're knocking down soffits and building cabinets in the house, everything tends to get really dusty and dirty. I've tried to keep up but it's been frustrating and nearly impossible, so I've had to let it go. Don't get me wrong, I can't stand the mess but it makes me angry when I clean something and 15 minutes later it looks like I never touched it. I've gotten by doing the bare minimum and, when I can't stand to look at the dust anymore, I take a walk outside .
Take some time to get out of the house, away from the mess, and have some fun. I work from home so I am around all of this 24/7. Living in a disaster zone all the time can really get to me so I go outside as much as I can, even if it's just to walk Finn (you'd think I would've lost a couple of pounds with all of this walking around outside for 10 months 😉 ). I try to go out and putz around in the garden for a while or I'll take a drive to HomeGoods to walk around and browse. Anything to get my mind off of the house and the reno. Most of the time it works and I can go back in and get my work done, but not always. We also try to spend some time together going to breakfast and hitting up a few estate sales every Saturday before we get down to working on the kitchen. It's something we both enjoy and it gives us something to look forward to, instead of worrying about what we're going to work on in the kitchen.
Remember that this isn't going to last forever. I have to tell myself this every day. When you're in the thick of things, it's so hard to look past it all, but you need to remember that it's only a moment in time and it won't last forever. I just keep reminding myself that we'll have a beautiful kitchen we can all cook in when we're done. When we're done...when we're done.
Ten months is a long time for a kitchen reno but we're finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Last weekend we finished tiling the backsplash on the big window wall and the stove wall is on the list for this weekend. One project at a time, that's all we can do.
Have you lived through any kind of big renovation before? How did you survive?