Y’all. I’m exhausted.
Corey and I are currently in the midst of renovating our master bathroom in 6 weeks for the One Room Challenge, and we’re officially at the point where we feel like we may have taken on
way a bit more than we can handle. Thankfully, we’re about to cross the threshold over into “we can do this” territory, so things are starting to look up.
Anytime we take on a major DIY or renovation project, I find myself becoming completely and utterly exhausted, a bit cranky, and my house completely devolves into chaos. If you saw my Instagram story over the weekend, you saw a tiny peek into the insanity that is my home right now – and that was just the tip of the iceberg! It can be tough to deal with the craziness that comes along with renovations (and this one is the biggest one we’ve ever done, so it’s particularly tough), so I thought today I’d share a few tips I’ve learned along the way for how to stay sane when your house is anything but.
- Let it go, let it goooooooo. I’m a neat freak. I sweep my floors every day, don’t let dishes sit in the sink for longer than a couple of hours, and start to feel a little twitchy anytime my house isn’t clean. As I’m sure you can imagine, this makes the mess of renovations tough for me. One thing I’ve learned to do is remind myself (over and over and over) that this is just temporary. It helps on a project like this where we have an official deadline, but in general, I just keep telling myself that my home will go back to normal some day and this is just something I have to deal with for the time being.
- Clean what you can. Even though you do have to let go of a perfectly clean house, you don’t have to let your home turn into a complete pigsty. Over many years of DIY drama, I’ve learned that there are a few key areas that go a long way towards making me feel better about the mess. So now, even when things are a little crazy in my house I make sure the dishes are done, there isn’t too much dirt on the floor, and the laundry is taken care of. If those three things are done, I’m a lot more capable of accepting the rest of the mess in the house.
- Find some time to rest. This part is hard for me. I’m the type that, when I get stressed, I tend to go into full-on beast mode and refuse to eat, sleep, or stop to breathe until the job is done. But, of course, that’s not really a healthy way to take care of things, and it leads to a lot of mistakes (remember my confession about the grout last week?). So, I’m learning now that I need to make sure to take care of myself, no matter how much is going on around me. This might mean taking one night each week to not work or think about the project, or maybe it just means setting an alarm and stopping the work at a decent hour each night. It looks different for everyone, but the bottom line is you have to take care of yourself, even when you have a million different things going on.
- Get out of the house! This one is tricky for Corey and I right now because we’ve been doing a no-spend month in October so we haven’t gone out to eat or really done anything fun. Normally, though, when renovations get really crazy we’re big on heading out of the house to grab dinner or just go out for ice cream. It makes a world of difference in our attitudes and doesn’t add to the mess at all – thank goodness! This time around I’m realizing just how much of a difference that makes for us, and next time we plan a renovation I’ll make sure we also include some eating-out money in the budget!
- Learn how to say no. This one is not easy for me, but when we have big renovations happening I have to start practicing my “no, thanks” skills. We’ve had several opportunities come up over the last few weeks (both socially and professionally) that we’ve had to turn down simply because we have too much on our plates already. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson a little too late and the first couple of weeks in November are going to be insane in our house…hopefully by Thanksgiving I’ll find some time to relax!
- When you start to hate everything, take a break. I touched on this a little in my post last week, but when I spend too much time working on a project I start to absolutely hate it. When you spend hours upon hours working on a project you often get to a point where all you can see are the flaws. You’re so frustrated by any mistakes that you’ve made that you just can’t see anything else. However, if anyone else looks at it, they probably won’t even notice the mistakes. I find that when this happens it helps me to step away for a few hours and work on something else (or just take a break!) so that I can kind of reset my perspective. When I come back, the flaws are always much less noticeable and I feel much better about things!
- Find something that makes you happy! When I’m working for hours and hours and hours on a project, I tend to get cranky (to say the least). It helps me stay positive if I listen to a fun podcast while I’m working or have some good television on in the background. Lately, I’ve been loving Young House Love’s podcast, the Chris Loves Julia podcast, and (because I’m a nerd) the Dave Ramsey podcast. If I’m binge-listening to something really entertaining, the project goes by a lot faster and feels a lot less annoying. Oh, and I also eat a lot of ice cream during big renovations. #noshame
- Try to maintain your routines. Things in our house have been a hot mess over the last few weeks, but we’re doing our best to keep as much as we can normal. No matter what is happening in the house, our bedtime routines with Jackson don’t change, we try our best to eat dinner at the table as a family, and we try really hard to not spend much time working while Jackson is awake. It’s not always easy, but it helps keep life as normal as possible for him, and it helps keep Corey and I in some semblance of normal as well.
- Don’t be afraid to scale back. When we get to a point where we feel like we’re really in over our heads, we try to reevaluate our project list and see what we can let go of. It’s always hard to admit that we’ve taken on too much, but our sanity is more important than the renovation. With this project, we’ve cut a few things that we had originally wanted to do and talked ourselves out of lots of ideas we have had in the name of keeping things simple. If things are feeling too difficult to us, it’s always really helpful to slow down and see what we can cut – sometimes we’re able to get our schedule back on track and add things back in, but sometimes we don’t. It helps if we remind ourselves that we can always come back later and do things that we don’t get to now!
- When you’re done, be LAZY! It’s so much easier for me to get through a big project if I know that the second it’s all over I can just veg on the couch for an entire weekend. I stay so much more motivated if there’s an end in sight and I know that once I reach it, I’ll have some time to breathe. As soon as this bathroom is complete, for example, I have every intention of staying in bed for as long as my family will allow, painting my nails and knowing they’ll stay painted longer than 10 minutes, and binge-watching something stupid on Netflix. I cannot wait.
We’ve got about two and a half weeks left in our renovation, and I think we’re at a point where I can say we’ll be done in time. We completed our last big project this weekend (and it’s major, y’all) and now it’s all little things from here on out.
We! Can! Do! This!
What are your best tips for surviving big DIY projects or renovations?