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How to Take the Stress Out of Home Improvement Projects

October 08, 2021

Home improvement projects are never completely stress free, but there is a lot you can do to make them better for your mental health.

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How to Stay Calm Amid the Chaos of a Home Renovation

The time had come for a few home-improvement projects. In the scheme of things, it was nothing much — three rooms and the stairwell painted, a couple of hardwood floors cleaned and re-finished, a few light fixtures replaced, an old tub swapped out with a shower. Even so, these relatively small jobs created a big disruption in our household. Read on to hear what the experts say — and what I and others have learned — about staying sane while everything in your home is turned upside-down.

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Make a Plan for Your Home Renovation. Then Stick To It

Setting a firm list of priorities and budget will help you make confident decisions and stick to them, says Paul Morimoto, lead of Design Experience for home renovation platform Block Renovation. “Seemingly small changes like adding a light switch or swapping a tile material may require a lot of work to redesign, re-spec and re-scope your project, and certainly will impact your timeline and budget, even before construction begins,” Morimoto says.

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Get Ready for Disruption Before Your Reno Work Begins

At the very least, prepare the rooms that will be affected by the renovation before the work crew comes in: clear shelves, move breakable objects, secure or isolate pets, protect or move anything that might be damaged or vulnerable during renovation or painting, suggests Lee Shaw, a painter and handyman in Nashville.

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Manage Your Subcontractors' Schedules

If you’ll have different work crews doing different projects (painters in one room and bathroom installers in another, for example), try to schedule the work to be done at different times, if possible, so they don’t get in each other’s way. Also manage your own schedule so that the disruption is not happening during otherwise stressful times, suggests Lu Ann Curlee, a certified public accountant in Woodbury, Tennessee. “I don’t schedule renovation work during times such as the holidays, or tax season,” she says.

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