How to have a life when you don’t have walls

So this renovation that my husband and I are working on – it necessitates tearing out every single wall and ceiling in our home.  A daunting task, and not just because it’s a lot of work!  It’s also a life upheaving inconvenience.

There are ways to survive it however, so I thought I’d share the 5 most useful tips I’ve received from others who have done such a thing, or that I’ve learned myself!

  1. Move out.  Now, I wouldn’t advocate abandoning your house for minor renovations, you can work around a lot.  But gutting it?  Yes. Leave.  You need a place of sanity and sleep to retreat to.  We managed to stay in our house until there were only 2 livable rooms left.  And then we had to shut off the electricity.  So plan ahead and have a place to escape to when it gets to that point! A friend’s, family member’s, hotel (although that gets expensive and you may be out for a couple months), a campground, anything!
  2. At least one of you needs to be calm.  It doesn’t have to be the same one of you all the time either. Our local scoutsmaster told us that what saved him and his wife during their remodelling was that they took turns having down days. When he was upset, she was calm and reassuring.  When she couldn’t take it anymore, he was loving and encouraging.  The trick is not to lose it at the same time!
  3. Be adventurous. If you look at this experience as one for the history books – a great journey to your dream home – it helps you see past the current trial and make it worth it!  See it as an adventure. See it as an experiment.  See it as a wealth of crazy stories to share at family gatherings for the next 15 years.
  4. Take a lot of pictures.  You are doing something amazing here. Document it!  Also – it helps to look back at the photos of everything you are working to fix, and how far you have come!  My parents have a scrapbook of their renovation, and they share it with anyone who seems interested.
  5. Have a sense of humour.  I once heard a sense of humour described as a sense of the proper place of things. So don’t sweat the small stuff. Let a mole hill remain at its proper elevation. Remember that all renovations end and this too shall pass!  Any number of cliches may help, as long as you keep your sense of humour about you.  

What about you?  What are the best tips you have to share for how to survive a house with no walls, electricity, running water?