As you know if you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook, we are in the middle of a huge kitchen remodel that my husband and I are doing almost completely ourselves (except for 1 or 2 parts). Talk about a DIY project! I’m not really sure what it is about My Man and I that makes us want to try doing things ourselves. We just do. We are both middle children from large families and we are pretty independent and like to work things out ourselves. We’ve done quite a few DIY projects over the years. My Man is quite handy with tools and a go-getter when it comes to figuring out something new. He’ll work on it until he gets it right. And me? Well, I like the creative side of learning something new and I’m desperate for more counter space in my kitchen, so it’s all worth it to me. Needless to say though, we’ve learned a few things from this DIY kitchen makeover. We’ve learned things about the mindset you need to have and some other ideas to help a big DIY project go smoother. So I’m sharing what I’ve learned so far. These are my best tips to not go crazy during a home renovation or DIY project and also a little info on how to mentally prepare for a home remodel. Plus, stay tuned as I’ll be adding out BEFORE and AFTER pictures of our kitchen (as soon as we are done!)
*This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and ideas are my own.
1. Be in the right mindset
This one is the most important one of all. So I put it very first. Before you start a large DIY project you must have the right mindset to begin with. You need to be in the mood for change and a little upheaval. Don’t start a large kitchen renovation when you have other big events going on in your life. Make sure you are clear of pressing problems on your mind or a tight, full schedule. In other words, don’t a large remodel right before big holidays, a new baby, or a stressful season at work.
One year my husband decided to make mudroom shelves. He did an awesome job, but he started the project too close to Christmas–and for me as a mom, Christmas is a busy holiday. I was not in the mood at all to help him and I didn’t even want to know how it was going because I was in a stressful season of the year. I totally appreciate the mudroom shelves now, but at the time, the project seemed like a huge nuisance.
You’ll know when the time is right for a home renovation project. I think it’s the same as that “spring-cleaning” vibe we all get from time to time. You just feel it.
2. Have at least one room in your house that is renovation-free
Create a peaceful space. This has been very important for me as we have renovated our kitchen. Because we were also doing work in our living room and front room as well, our entire first floor was in some kind of chaos here and there. So I made it a point to keep the upstairs “project-free”–especially my own bedroom. That way, when we needed a break and wanted to feel “normal” we had a nice space to relax in that wasn’t covered with dust.
3. Get rid of junk
Use your home remodel as a chance to get rid of junk. As you renovate an area of your home, you naturally have to go through all the items that have been there for awhile. Take this time to sort and get rid of the things you don’t really use. I have loved this part most of all. When our lives are going normally, I tend to forget about the things on the back shelf or the box I put in the closet when we moved in. This was a great time for me to go through everything in these spaces and make sure we still needed it or even wanted it. You might as well just clear out the junk, while your house is in a little upheaval.
4. Get a lot of paper plates
I know it’s not green. But for your own mental sanity, having less dishes to do (especially during a kitchen renovation) will just save your life. I also had a friend remind me when I started that having a kitchen remodel going on means less worrying about keeping everything perfectly clean all the time. And others have joked that it’s a great excuse to get take out for awhile. For me, dinner has been saved many, many nights by my Instant Pot. Oh goodness, there’s so much you can make in this thing! Even when my stove was out of commission, I could still make a full dinner, served nicely on a paper plate. If you don’t have one folks, it’s time to get one.
5. Have a lot of old rags around for constant dust
One big thing about a home renovation project is DUST. Even after I thought I had wiped away all the dust after a certain part in the project I would find more dust a few days later even though no more of that had been going on. I guess it’s true how they say to wait until the dust settles. So keep a lot of old rags around for cleaning dust or wiping caulk or whatever. You’ll be glad to have a lot.
6. Two words: Shop-Vac
As long as I’m mentioning the mess of a large DIY project, I might as well mention that our Shop-Vac has been our best friend. It cleans up big chunks of wood, nails, and also cleans up dust too. I hope that whoever invented the Shop Vac is a rich person by now, because I am truly grateful.
7. Be ready for advice from others
I don’t know what it is about DIY projects but they always seem to elicit a lot of advice from everyone. Most of the advice or tips are wonderful and very helpful. We’ve had ideas given to us that have totally made it easier or was just a darn good idea. In fact, the whole concept of our kitchen remodel is all from the advice of another person. But you’ll probably get some unwanted criticism about how you decided to do your renovation. That’s just how it is. Take it all with a grain of salt and let it go. Remember that this is YOUR project and in the end you have to be happy with it. Get expert tips along the way as needed. Do your research and talk to others about their experiences. This will help you make your decisions. But remember to choose what makes you happy, since you are the one that has to live there.
8. Try to agree with your partner as much as possible
My husband and I think very differently about a lot of things (we mostly just agree on the big things, like religion, Mexican food, and the need for a good vacation every year). We knew going into this project that it was vital for our marriage to try to agree or at least meet the other person halfway if we were going to make it through a large remodel like ours. In fact, we did not even start this project until we found a solution that we both liked. We discussed it for months, going back and forth with different ideas. Finally, one night the magic happened and we both agreed on how we should remodel our kitchen. It was a miracle! So the next day, before the magic disappeared, we started the project. My Man headed straight to the kitchen and started knocking out the wall! It’s so important that both of you approve of the project. That way, all parties involved will feel invested in the goal and it will help you work better as a team throughout the project journey.
9. At some point you will hate it
It’s true. At some point you will hate your home renovation, your kitchen remodel, or whatever. BUT KEEP GOING. Do not stop in the middle of it and leave it undone for months. About halfway through our kitchen renovation, I hated it completely. The finished goal seemed far away, and it was too late to turn back. I was tired of working on it, and my husband and my kids were all sick of it. If you get to this point, I suggest taking just a short time off–a day or two, maybe a week at most. We took a day off and went skiing. My husband took a few days off to go visit his family in another state. We also make sure to get out of the house and catch a movie or something so we can feel normal. And that seems to revive us, so we can work again. Also, I suggest only having certain days that you work on it. For us, each week we only worked on our remodel on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The rest of the week we tried to live life as normally as possible. Just keep your eye on the prize. Remember how good it will feel to accomplish something.
Good luck on your project! STAY TUNED for BEFORE and AFTER photos of our DIY home remodel!!!