Home Renovation


Moving, Storage, and Safety

Your contract is signed. Your financing is approved. You’ve got a start date coming up. Now what?

Good planning is critical to making your renovation successful. Be sure to include these items in planning for budget, schedule, and logistics.

Moving and Storage

If your renovation is a long and intrusive, consider moving out. If this is an option, be sure you budget for it, including extra money for delays, the move out, the move back in, and storage of some of your furnishings.

If moving out isn’t viable, you’ll need to store furnishings that will be in the way of construction, or at risk from dust, dirt, and traffic through your house. Or, at the very least, move them elsewhere in the house out of harm’s way, and out of the way of workers.

If renovation will affect bathrooms and kitchens, prepare for eating out, dialing in, packing on the pounds, and a lot of disruption. 

Protecting your Valuables

If you have any concerns about valuables, put them away, or store them. Don’t tempt fate with Grandmother’s clock or the family portrait. Cover anything in adjoining areas with sheets or plastic. Sheet rock dust (from sanding walls and ceilings) as well as sawdust (sanding hardwood floors prior to staining and finishing) are extremely invasive.


If you move out for the duration, you will still be visiting the renovation site on a regular basis, preferably daily. Make sure your contractor knows that daily cleanup matters to you, and your neighbors.

If you are living on-site, this is even more critical. Insist on it.

Accidents can happen, even with the most diligent efforts on the part of your contractor to keep the site clean. It only takes one nail or piece of metal to send you to the Emergency Room for stitches and a tetanus shot. So don’t walk around the area in sandals. Keep pets, kids, and yourself away from scaffolding, ladders, cables and wires.

Move Out or Stay

If you stay in your house during the renovation, you’ll be living through commotion, noise, dust, and disorder. You need to realistically assess your tolerance for chaos. If you have young children and pets, or if you work from home, move out if at all possible.

Allergies and Sensitivities

Beware of unknown allergies and sensitivities. If you’re living in close proximity to installation of dry wall or insulation, or application of paint and floor finishes, you may find yourself having difficulties with fumes or particles. This is one more reason to look into “green” options.

If any of the products your builder is using begin to irritate you or your family, say something. Air filters or alternate materials may help alleviate the situation.

Like your Neighbors?

Ever been woken up on a Saturday morning at 7 am by construction noise? Ever hear sawing at 9 pm when all you want is to get to sleep because you work the early shift?

If you value your relationship with your neighbors, make sure you let them know about your renovation and your best guess at its duration. They’re impacted by noise, workers, trucks, and other fallout from your project. You don’t want a STOP WORK order over construction crews inadvertently violating local ordinances, all because a disgruntled neighbor made an angry phone call.

Be proactive. Be vigilant. Keep workers to appropriate schedules for your family, your neighbors, and your wallet.

Practical Essentials

For the sake of your sanity, your marriage, your children, your friends and co-workers – remember the essentials. Especially if you’re living at home during the renovation.

  • Do you have access to the clothes you need?
  • Do you have access to your garbage can for trash day?
  • Can you and your neighbors see past dumpsters and portable toilets to pull in and out of driveways?
  • Is the doggy door blocked, or does Butch need alternate facilities, too?

Make sure you can find your spouse, your roommate, your kids, your pets, your checkbooks, your medications, your phone and your keys. If you’ve got all that, you’re doing great. And everything else is going to get lost. Just accept it.

What happens first?

Your contractor will put a sign in your yard to advertise his services. He may fence off unaffected areas. A portable toilet will be delivered, and if there’s any demolition to take place, a dumpster.

Depending upon the project, demolition or removal of old mechanicals will take place first. Debris will be dumped or hauled away. Materials will begin to arrive – lumber, dropped in your driveway; cement trucks arriving to pour foundations or footings. Your architect will visit periodically to make sure things are on track, and your contractor should be their regularly.

You're On Your Way!

Enjoy watching the progress. Keep a tight hand on those change requests. And before you know it, you'll be living your newly renovated space!

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