How to Whiz Through Home Improvements


Even the simplest-sounding jobs can cause chaos when it comes to home improvements. Taking a logical, structured approach to organising any DIY task will help you get the job done quicker and with a lot less stress.

Decide What You Want

This process might not be quite as easy as it sounds. There’s so much choice that pinning down exactly what you want, beyond a vague notion of updating the d├ęcor or freshening up your accessories and accents, can be surprisingly tough.

Creating a mood board might help. At a basic level, this is no more than a place to gather ideas for colours, styles, concepts, or furnishings that build on a central theme. You could have a physical board where you pin actual samples of fabrics or wallpapers along with paint colours that show what you want to create. Or it could be a digital version, and this might be easier to maintain, especially as you can take photos of items in shops or copy images found online.

At this stage of your home improvement project, try not to get too fixed on how to achieve the look you want. Keeping an open mind lets you adopt new ideas or make connections between colours and styles you might otherwise miss. It also gives you some flexibility when you’re ready to start buying. Unless you can get bespoke items made, it’s very hard to match what’s in the real world with the vision in your mind’s eye.

Gather Materials

Once you have a solid idea about how you’ll make your vision a reality, it’s time to start scouting out the actual materials you’ll need.

Give yourself plenty of time for this so you can have a good around, visiting brick and mortar shops as well as searching online. When you spot a bargain or the perfect items, snap it up straight away even if it feels like you’re not quite ready to use it yet. If storage is a problem, consider renting a self storage room to stow your haul. It’s liberating knowing you can store whatever you need to without cluttering up rooms at home.

Carry your mood board with you all the time. Of course, you can’t cart a big, physical board around with you, but you can take a quick photo and have that on your phone so you can make sure potential purchases are really what you’re looking for.

Organise Workflow

This can be the step that stalls many a home improvement project. Even just painting the walls can create a shocking amount of disruption all over the house if you’re not prepared and organised.

You need to think about the logistics:
  • How to make space to work.
  • Where to put items for safekeeping while work is ongoing.
  • Where and how to arrange tools so they’re handy when you need them, especially big items like ladders and pasting tables.
  • How you’ll make time to finish the work.
  • How long you expect the job to take.

You also need to factor in the timings for any jobs you can’t do yourself, such as plumbing or electrics that need professional, safe installation. Your schedule will depend on trade people’s availability.

If it’s possible, any job will be easier and get completed faster if you can work in an empty room. If you have a storage unit, it’s much easier to pack up valuables and furnishings so you can move them out and into safety. Taking a bit of time to clear the room saves a lot of frustration that comes from constantly having to shift things to make room to work.

Be realistic about how long the job will take and consider whether you need time off work to get it done. It’s easy to think you’ll do a couple of hours in the evening after work, but very hard to get up and at it after a long day, especially if you also have kids to look after.

Maybe you could get childcare help from family or arrange a block of days off that you could dedicate to the project. It might create less family friction to get it all done at once than to drag it out over several weeks or months. Kitchen and bathroom renovations can be especially tricky to plan around family life.

Enjoy the Process

While organisation and planning are important to help home improvements go well, so is accepting that things don’t always go according to plan. Expecting the unexpected can help reduce stress when things go awry.
  • Maybe the plumber had to change dates, so everything gets put on hold.
  • Maybe you forgot to buy something despite making lists and being logical.
  • Maybe you fall ill.
  • Maybe there’s an emergency at work and your leave is cancelled.

There are all sorts of reasons a job can go wrong, so making contingency plans can help. Unless a mishap actually brings the house down, things will come right in the end. Try not to stress but enjoy the journey and reward of a well-planned and finally finished home improvement project.

*This is a collaborative post*

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