Before & After · DIY · things around home

How I Survive DIY Remodeling

If you are one of those in the crazy camp industrious to do DIY home remodeling, you probably know all too well what it is like living in a construction zone. It’s loud, it’s dusty, it’s unsettling, and it seems never ending. There is no easy way around it. It’s not pretty and it can put a real strain on family life.

This was my view, down my hallway, last week, and it was disastrous! I had a good laugh, because there were a few times I had special mail deliveries, and I wanted to get to the front door in time to open it and watch the guy’s reaction!  That never happened, because I couldn’t get there fast enough, and this was why…




Yes. this photo has not been altered in any way!  Every wall, including the ceiling, is was mustard gold, and the flooring…well, the picture speaks for itself!

I thought I’d share with you how I best survive home remodeling projects, just in case you are one of the crazy ones industrious ones to  plan your own. This isn’t our first experience with DIY projects, so in some ways it does get easier, I think. You can see other before and afters we survived, here, here, here, and here.

First off, let me say, not everyday during a project is easy. It’s not everyday, I do the following list and everything is a wonderful breeze. There are those times I feel like curling up in a non-dusty corner of my house (if there is such a thing) to have a good long  cry, and I’ve done just that! It’s especially hard for women, I think, during  remodeling, because our little nest is all messed up, and we are trying our little heart’s best to scurry around to fix it, so we can return to some form of normalcy. Guys feathers don’t seem to get as ruffled from all the dirt, dust, and general chaos!

The following are some things I try and do to keep our sanity and family life moving along, because life and the world doesn’t stop when you’re wrapped up in a home improvement project.

Here’s My 5 Tips to Survive DIY Remodeling

  • Clean as You Go. Didn’t your Mama tell you that in the kitchen when you were learning to cook? Mine did. It makes perfect sense with other DIY projects too. For some reason, it seems like it takes less time if you follow this plan of action then leave everything everywhere to the absolute end.
  • Designate a “No Work Zone.” This is a must if you want to keep your sanity. For us, this project is in the main hallway to just about every room in the house, so there is no way around isolating this area. But, if you are doing a particular room and can close it off, that’s tremendously helpful. If you can’t, then designate another room, or small area, in your home that you can gather and not see your project. It’ll be a place you can retreat when looking at the mess gets too overwhelming. Also, if you have small children or pets, I’d highly recommend them staying with family or friends, for their own safety, especially for the major deconstruction/construction days.
  • Minimally Clean the Rest of Your House. This is easy! With the added project, who has the time or energy to clean like you normally would? I try and do just enough to meet health department standards! I wipe down food prep areas, give bathrooms and bedrooms a quick tidy, unless your remodeling that, and close the doors, or hang plastic in doorways to other areas that aren’t affected. Designate an old pair of shoes to wear in the “work zone” and take them off when walking in other rooms especially with carpet. Try and embrace the dust! After all, when else can you have someone come over, and an inch of dust on absolutely everything, is totally acceptable?  Save the deep cleaning for when everything is completed.
  • Make a Schedule of the Project … What Has Been Done… What Needs to Be Done. This is so encouraging, because when you’re living in the chaos of remodeling, it feels like your life will never change. It’s easy to forget what has already been done and how far you’ve come. Take lots of pictures. There’s a thrill of crossing those completed tasks off the list, isn’t there? It’s also helpful to see how much longer the project will take, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Try and keep a balance and a realistic estimate of how long the project will take and how to incorporate your normal duties and routine, as well as periods of rest into your schedule.
  • Give Yourselves Sneak Peeks. If you’ve planned well, you should have most, if not all, the new materials, you will be remodeling with, on site and ready to go. After  cleaning the project area, why not give yourself a sneak peek at the way things will look in the future?  Temporarily lay some of your flooring down, paint a section of the wall, hold up or hang a new light. That’s what we did. During the priming stage, we needed a boost, so we hung one of three lanterns planned for the hallway. At first, my  Sweetheart husband held it up for me to see, but when I came home from running errands, I saw he had it hung (and wrapped). I think we both needed that encouragement.


Try to remind yourself (often), this too shall pass, and to be thankful. After all, you’re getting a new room or a new something wonderful added to your home!


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