As a child, I always loved helping my parents with various projects around the house.  While other kids were out riding their bikes on the first nice day of spring, I was cleaning out the coat closet with my mom for spring cleaning.  One of my favorite childhood memories was my dad letting me help him build a new kitchen table. I can still feel the sense of pride and accomplishment that I felt when my mom walked in from work and I ran to the front door to show her what we had built from scratch.

The skills I learned as a child grew and the passion I feel for building and fixing and completing DIY projects around the house never quite went away. At the same time, adulthood has brought many previously unforeseen stressors that I never knew that I would have growing up as a child.  Owning a house is hard work, especially when there are bills to pay. Even though I love fixing up my house and I am forever grateful that I have a home that I can tinker with constantly, remodeling takes time, effort and money. I often find it stressful when I know that I need to complete a home project, but I can’t fit it into my schedule.  Or worse, when I know I don’t have the money to fix something that I know I have to fix. In these moments, here are some helpful tips that I’ve used to help alleviate my stress and make remodeling projects fun again.

Tip #1: Keep a project notebook.  

My project notebooks have absolutely saved me so much time and stress throughout the remodeling process.  Always keep immaculate records and record everything: costs, things that have been completed, things that have not yet been completed, items that have been broken or damaged.  Project notebooks are also a good way to set goals and projected finish times so you can break down the project into more manageable pieces and accomplish it little by little.  This is especially helpful for those of us who are remodeling while also working full time jobs.

Tip #2: Get help.

Even though I’ve always loved fixing things around the house, I’ve learned that I simply can’t do everything.  Since graduating, I’ve learned that whenever I recruit some willing friends and family to help me in my remodeling quest, it cuts down on my stress and it also becomes even more fun.  Divide tasks among family members according to their strengths and interests. My dad is a master woodworker; whenever I have a table or a dresser to put together, he’s the first one I call.  One of my best friends has a great eye for detail and has a perfectly curated Pinterest board. She absolutely loves it when I ask her for decorating advice and has helped me pick my colors and theme for multiple rooms.

Sometimes when a project is really big, I know I will have to hire professional contractors.  In this case, I will make sure that I record all of their information in my project notebook, as well as keep track of all quotes and appointments.  Which brings me to my next tip…

Tip #3: Vet your contractors!

I can’t stress this enough.  I understand the need to stay within your budget.  But there is honestly nothing worse than hiring a contractor solely because the prices look good on their website and paying them to do subpar work.  Correcting the mistakes of a contractor who has done a crappy job with a renovation project is often even more costly and time consuming than paying the extra money for a contractor who is proven to do great work.  For the sake of your sanity, put that extra time into vetting everyone on your list of contractors.  Look at pictures of their work, read all of the reviews, and if possible, get in contact with people who have used them in the past.  It may seem easier to just choose who gives you the lowest quote but trust me. You will regret it.

Tip #4: Prepare for the unexpected.

In a perfect world, every single project would go as planned.  But at least one unforeseen expense or mistake will come up with any remodeling project.  I’ve found that renovation budgets have a tendency to expand infinitely if you don’t properly map out the costs of everything that you need to get done.  That’s why it’s imperative for you to be realistic and go into the project with a planned-out budget that accounts for all potential expenses that might be incurred as a result of human error.  I usually include an emergency budget that is up to 20% of the overall budget, depending on the type of project it is and how risky it is to complete.

Tip #5: Breathe!

This is the most important thing to remember.  Even if you meticulously plan, budget, and get help for a renovation project, renovation itself can still be stressful.  In the event that you find yourself overwhelmed by a project, stop and take a deep breathe. Sometimes, that means taking a break from the project altogether, putting on your favorite music, and just zoning out.  I’ve found that a couple of drops of CBD oil often does the trick for me and relaxes me like no other.  After taking a breather, you will able to return to the project with a clearer, and less stressed out head.

Author Bio: Mollie Wilson is a freelance writer from North Carolina. When she is not writing, she is perusing
an adventures life- backpacking, climbing, exploring local coffee shops, and traveling.