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Four ways to keep your sanity during home renovations

We’ve all seen the TV shows with home renovations that go from dingy to fabulous in a span of 30 minutes. We sometimes see the homeowner bemoan the extra expenses and how they don’t have a home to live in while their kitchen is being gutted. In the end, everybody is all smiles during the big unveil.  However, the reality is that sometimes you are doing the work yourself at every spare moment you have, while at the same time balancing a day job.

We’ve gone through numerous upgrades and renovations on our new home in the one year we’ve been living here. One big upgrade was to the tiny’ “builder special” deck which was falling apart and not to code. We rebuilt it with a new frame, composite board and solid aluminum railings. Not to mention, we made it functional with the ability to accommodate a table and chairs.

Throughout the process, we have learned a few things about DIY home renovations and how they can run smoothly. There will be days you are super tired and want to just walk away from everything. And there are days where you are extremely satisfied when a project is completed.

Here are four ways to keep your sanity during home renovations:

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

You are not superhuman. You don’t have a half hour TV show which can edit three-plus days of work into a half hour.  Break up parts of the project over the span of a few days – even a few months –  and you’ll avoid making mistakes, burn out and potential spats with your reno partner/friends/hubby or wife.

Take a siesta

Working on rebuilding our deck we noticed that the sun would hit the backyard at around noon. Waking up early and getting started at 7 a.m., we would work through until about noon on weekends, and then take afternoon siestas. It would help recharge our energy levels so that we could do a bit more work in the cooler evening if we wished to do so.

Take a nap. Make yourself a drink (keep it to one if it’s alcoholic). Watch a bit of TV or read a book. It’s break-time not work-time. The dishes can be washed at another time.

Don’t worry about the dust, dirt and other crap

Home renovations are not for everybody. Anybody who has obsessive compulsive tendencies to clean up every piece of dust should take a vacation during home renovations and leave the work and clean up to somebody else. Chances are, if you are taking your time to do your work, the tools will be taking up space in one room alongside the building materials. Unless you have a picky, stumble-bum of a mother-in-law who is expected to come visit, don’t worry about cleaning these up or putting them away each day.  You’ll drive yourself ragged if you spend time doing so.

Treat yourself to a meal out

We aren’t talking about a fine-dining establishment –  a casual family restaurant will provide you with a good meal on those days when you are too tired to cook at home. It’s also a great time for you and your partner/spouse to reconnect on home renovations plans and issues… or on other topics to take your mind off of what you still need to accomplish.

 What are your tips to keep sane during home renovations? We’d love to hear your stories, good or bad about your DIY disasters or successes. 



  1. OMG!
    I can’t. Home Renos Drive me CRAZY. Even the simplest things. It’s the mess and the chaos in the small area in my condo.

    Great tips though. I’ll try to keep them in mind during the next round of renos.

  2. There’s a lot we could do around here … painting, new cupboards, get rid of carpet/put in hardwood flooring, etc. It just sounds like a lot of work. Ha!