Home Renovation Survival Guide

Home renovations are notorious for being stressful. Whether you’re taking on a large project like a historic house or “just” remodeling your kitchen, home renovations can challenge your relationships, budget, and sense of sanity.

However, it is possible to cut down on the stress and conflict of a home renovation. Here are some tips to help you manage a renovation with fewer headaches and more joy.

Choose a leader.

If several people are trying to lead the project, conflict is likely to ensue. This tension can be especially damaging in a marriage. To help avoid arguments, the couple can decide beforehand who will manage the project. If both you and your partner are strong-willed and want to stay involved, consider relying on an outside person, like a designer.

Hire reliable experts.

DIY projects can be fun, but when you’re dealing with a massive undertaking like a home renovation, hiring experts can relieve a lot of stress. Although you might be able to do some things yourself, it’s important to know your limits. Be honest about your weaknesses, and bring in experts for the rest.

Do make sure the experts are trustworthy, though. Take time to compare reviews, research legalities, and evaluate the contract before you hire. A critical eye during the hiring process can help prevent unpleasant surprises later.

Set aside plenty of time.

Even if you’ve hired contractors to do everything, you’ll still need to spend several hours each week answering questions and reviewing the contractors’ work. A home renovation can easily turn into a part-time job, or even a full-time job if you’re doing a lot yourself. Be sure you’ve reserved enough time in your schedule for this work. Otherwise, you might end up renovating your home for years.

Find an effective way to stay organized.

To successfully manage a home renovation, you’ll need an effective way to keep track of deadlines, expenses, appointments, and paperwork. Before you start the project, find an organizational method that works for you. For example, you can use a bullet journal or an accordion folder with a calendar. Ideally, the method you choose will not only help you stay on schedule, but also give you peace of mind.

Budget for surprises.

Even with meticulous planning and the best contractors, you may still run into problems, delays, and unexpected costs. You can hope for a smooth renovation, but your budget should be prepared for the worst. Then, if you do survive the renovation without any extra costs, you can use that money to hire professional cleaners after everything is done.

Protect your valuables.

Renovations tend to be dirty and messy. The dust alone can get everywhere. You can try to protect your valuables with plastic sheeting, but for complete safety, it’s best to move them somewhere else.

Items you regularly use, such as clothing, can be stored in plastic bags and put into a “renovation-free” zone, like a spare room. Other items like collectibles or artwork can be put into self-storage unit. Then, they’ll be completely secure, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Give yourself a break.

A home renovation is important, but so is your health and wellbeing. To ease the stress and prevent a burnout, take a time-out every now and then. Plan fun activities away from the renovation, doing something that takes your mind off the project. During this mini vacation, avoid talking about the renovation and focus on other activities you enjoy.

Also, try to create peaceful areas in your home where you can escape the renovation. This oasis doesn’t need to be large. If you don’t have much extra space, you can reserve a small corner or a balcony for relaxation. Keep this area chaos-free, and go to it whenever you need a break.

Keep your team’s spirits up.

A renovation is a team effort. Even if you’re the only person continuously working on the project, the chaos and stress still affects other people. Anyone who’s affected is part of your team, from your spouse and children to the contractors you’ve hired. Remember to stay attuned to how these people are feeling. Are they positive about the project or feeling overwhelmed? How can you buoy their spirits?
This thoughtfulness doesn’t need to take much time or effort. A compliment or a glass of wine at the right moment can make a big difference. The better your team is doing, the easier the project will seem. Together, you can turn a difficult renovation into a memorable adventure.

Home Remodel | How To Keep Cat Safety in Mind

There’s no denying, moving is stressful. It is stressful for people, and it causes stress in cats. Moving is so stressful that many homeowners decide to stay put and renovate. Keeping cat safety in mind during a home remodel will be at the top of your list whether your remodeling plans include creating a cat-friendly home, replacing drafty windows, or something more extensive.

Create a Cat Safety Room

If you work from a home office, keeping your cat at home during the remodel is a viable option. Help prevent cat anxiety by moving your pet’s food, water, and toys into your office. Relocating the litter box to your workspace might not sound appealing, but at least it will remind you to clear it out once or twice a day.

If you are working away from your home, you may want to consider boarding your kitty. It may sound drastic but, if your home remodel is extensive, this could reduce your cat’s anxiety in the long run.  

Choose Low VOC Paints for Your Home Remodel

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are toxic and potentially dangerous to humans and their pets. The most common products used in home remodels with high VOCs are found in paints and adhesives. Fortunately, there are plenty of choices for eco-friendly, low-VOC paints, stains, and finishes for your renovation project. These choices are much less toxic than their counterparts.

If your cat suffers from feline asthma, manufacturers like ECOS Paints manufacture paints and coatings formulated for individuals with chemical sensitivities. Keep in mind, selecting safer paints and coatings is of particular importance in bedrooms. It is important to have healthy indoor air quality where people spend such long hours sleeping.

Clearly, a better choice, using low-VOC paints during your home remodel will be safer for your family, cats, and the environment.

Know the 5 Signs of a Stressed-Out Cat


Remodeling involves considerable decision-making, and it rarely gets finished on time or under budget. Even so, nobody knows Frisky as you do, so be sure to keep a watchful eye for these signs of stress in your cat. If you are juggling a full-time job, kids, and remodeling, then you’ll be stressed out too. Task family members with showing extra affection and attention to your cat.

1. Urinating Outside the Litter Box

A cat that tinkles outside the litter box is typically suffering from stress or an underlying health issue. One of the most common causes of cat stress is when their environment changes in unpredictable ways. Loud noises, new smells, and strange people in your home are sure to set off alarm bells. Insulate your cat from these changes to the best of your ability.

2. Decrease in Appetite

Anyone who loves Garfield already knows that cats do not go on diets. If your fluffy friend loses his appetite, it is important to consult your veterinarian. It will probably be due to the disruption happening in your home. However, it could also be due to an underlying health condition.

3. Hiding

Even though cats are often characterized as aloof animals, most cats are sociable— just on their terms. If your cat is hiding under the bed, it might be a good idea to set up her home in a bedroom room during your remodel. Relocate their litter box, toys, water to this room. Also, be sure to turn on a radio or TV to help disguise constructions noises.

4. Excessive Grooming

A kitty grooming itself is such a natural sight that it might be difficult to determine when too much grooming turns into a bad thing. Sure signs are sores or bald spots, but barring those, you probably don’t need to worry too much. Grooming is a natural way for cats to alleviate stress.

5. Aggression Toward People or Other Animals

If your kitty shows aggression towards another animal, the simple solution is to avoid the other animal and keep your cat feeling safe. However, if your otherwise mellow cat starts acting aggressively towards people during your construction project, it’s time to check-in with your cat veterinarian. Starting treatment for pet stress sooner rather than later will result in a better outcome for you and your cat.

Construction Clean Up


Creating a cat safety zone during some phases of your home remodel will be more challenging. It is advisable to make cleaning up the construction zones at the end of every day a part of your contract with your remodeler. Doing this will help eliminate dangerous objects to your cat such as nails, staples, or scraps of sandpaper. Before letting your feline enter the remodeling zone at the end of the work day, double check for poisonous substances such as open glue bottles or paint cans.

Whether you own a famous kitty featured on the #catsofinstagram or your cat is too cool for social media, emergency trips to the vet is an unhappy cat. It is never too early to start thinking about cat safety during your next home renovation project. You know and love your kitty better than anyone else.


Kitchen Remodel: How to Pay Less for Appliances

We have all heard the saying, “They don’t make ‘em the way the used to,” and that has never been truer than for appliances. Anyone who has purchased more than one appliance in their lifetime understands this harsh new reality. What used to last for 25+ years now lasts for 12 years, maybe. If you’re lucky. If you are planning a kitchen remodel, how to pay less for appliances is no doubt at the top of your list.

Saving a buck doesn’t mean that you have to feel like you are sacrificing on quality either—we will help you figure out ways to save on the bottom line all while going green and creating a new, beautiful kitchen.

Look for product rebates & promotional offers on energy efficient appliances

While there are low-cost appliances out there, affordable doesn’t have to mean cheap or junk. Amana, Bosch, Frigidaire, and Samsung are all respected manufacturers. If you want to save money and the planet, check for special offers on appliances through the Energy Star certified appliances program. Simply type in your zip code in the rebate finder on the website.    

The Energy Star website also provides a refrigerator retirement savings calculator to help you determine how much you can save by replacing an older refrigerator with a newer, energy-efficient model. Also, ask your sales person if there are other types of rebates, including those offered through your local utility company, before you fall in love with an appliance.

Shop on holidays and in September, October, and January

The best time to buy a refrigerator is in May, right before new models roll out for the summer. For other appliances—dishwashers, ovens, and over-the-range microwaves—looks for steep discounts over President’s Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday, and Labor Day holidays.

Buy an appliance package

You can double up on manufacturer’s rebates when you buy an appliance package—range, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher. Brands that bundle their appliances include, Frigidaire, Bosch, Samsung, and KitchenAid. What is nice about these packages is that you can get beautiful stainless steel appliances with matching handles and finishes, and all at a great discount because you are buying several products from the same manufacturer.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate

Even though banners may not by flying, it is very common for the salespeople to strike a deal to meet sales goals. It is very likely that they will be more willing to negotiate with you towards the end of their monthly or quarterly deadlines. This strategy is advisable for any major appliance, including dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, washing machines, and dryers.

If you can’t wait that long, keep in mind, people buy from people, and if you can establish a good rapport with your local appliance salesperson, he or she will work hard to make you happy. Even if that means offering a discount.

Why buy new appliances during your kitchen remodel?

Whether you are undertaking a full kitchen remodel, or simply updating one or more of your appliances, it is important to think about your ROI or Return on Investment. In other words, what will it cost you compared to the value it will bring if you plan to resell your home? The good news is that a kitchen remodel will typically recoup an average of 66% ROI. However, again, this is only if you are selling your home.  

With brand new sparkling appliances, maybe you will get in touch with your inner Rachel Ray or Bobby Flay and cook more at home, which will save you tons of money by not dining out.

8 Unusual Things to do with Cardboard Moving Boxes

There are more than 101 things to do with cardboard boxes, and besides building an actual skyscraper or luxury ocean liner, almost anything can be made out of a moving box. From napkin rings and picture frames to castles, airplanes, and rocket ships, it would appear that when it comes to cardboard, inventions range from the sublimely simple to museum-worthy art pieces.

The Imagination Foundation’s Cardboard Challenge invites the world to play with cardboard and build anything they can dream up. With 46 participating countries and almost 500 events in the United States alone, thousands of children around the world have the opportunity to bring their ideas to life with their cardboard creations. Here are a few humble ideas for a day of play with your moving boxes that will offer a welcome respite from the stress of moving. Continue reading “8 Unusual Things to do with Cardboard Moving Boxes”

How to Pack a Moving Truck: Use Your Head, Save Your Back

Moving day is not only stressful, but it’s also downright physically demanding. Especially if you’ve signed up for a DIY move that requires you do all the heavy lifting. Bending over to pick up and lift moving boxes for hours at a time is not your back’s idea of a good time (and probably not yours either).

But alas, moving day is all about picking up moving boxes, furniture, and other household items and loading them onto the moving truck. Then of course unloading everything once you arrive at your new home.
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6 Tips for Choosing a Moving Company

Did you know that the average American will move approximately 12 times during his or her lifetime? No matter the amount of stress and hassle moving to a new home creates, people are willing to do it. Usually, it’s because we need more space, got a new job, or are downsizing.


Whatever the reason for your move take comfort knowing you’re not alone. Millions of other Americans are taking on the challenge of moving this summer too.
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3 Simple Home Staging Tips to Help Sell Your House

Are you thinking about moving? Maybe it’s the warmer weather and the fact that the future looks brighter now that the sun isn’t hiding behind gray clouds.

One of the most important things you can do to sell your home quickly and for the highest possible price is to understand the value of staging. Getting a full-price offer within a reasonable amount of time is every homeowner’s dream.
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Create Moving Box Masterpieces

Just build it, and they will come! That’s what happens if you end up building with large cardboard boxes. Youth and science organizations have caught on to the universal appeal of playing with moving and shipping boxes, and are engaging kids of all ages to create cardboard masterpieces that include everything from boats and rocket ships to princess hats and palaces.

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3 Time Saving Post-Holiday Tips to Declutter Any Home

The decorations are put away, and the new diet has begun. With a renewed commitment to the gym and perhaps a few moments to reflect on the past 12 months, January is the time of year to make that infamous list called “New Year’s Resolutions.”

Even if you don’t believe in resetting your resolutions every year, clearing out the clutter is worth putting on your to-do list. Maybe you got some really cool presents you want to show off. Perhaps you have a tortured relationship with “stuff.” Maybe you’re married to the King or Queen of Clutter.

It’s not too late to get a head start on the New Year and begin clearing out the untidiness that might otherwise undermine your best efforts to begin anew. Here are three timesaving tips to help declutter your home.

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5 Fun Things to do with Moving Boxes After the Move

After all the expenses and hard work of orchestrating a move, are you ready for a little fun? How about something that gives your pocketbook a break? Before getting rid of that pile of moving boxes in the corner of your family room get in touch with your inner child, and give the kids something inexpensive to play with that offers hours of entertainment.

Young yoy with moving box creation car
Photo Credit: MrMcgroovys.com

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