Home improvements can be fun and exciting – at least the end result can be. The process itself can be stressful, expensive and noisy for many homeowners, their families, neighbors and pets.
Since areas of your home may be out of commission for a few days or even up to several months, it’s critical for your safety, sanity and sense of well-being to maintain a sense of normalcy for your family during this time.
Maintaining the Status Quo With Kids
While extensive work may be going on in your home, maintaining daily routines is important. This will dissipate the stress that younger children, elderly parents, and even pets feel as a result of the construction. When younger children are involved, maintaining the same meal times and family rituals, such as bedtime stories or nightly homework sessions, is necessary. Keeping up these day-to-day activities will help to reduce stress for younger children.
Another way to alleviate the stress of a home improvement project is to prepare the house for all inconveniences. For example, if the remodeling is taking place in the kitchen, set up a temporary kitchen in an unaffected room with a microwave and refrigerator so that the appliances are still usable and accessible. This same principle applies to the family room as well. If the family room is being renovated, set up a temporary family room in a bedroom where the family can continue to gather together during construction. This will help the whole family continue to feel at home despite the mess.
It’s also important to remember that the constant noise and disruption of construction can induce stress in the whole family and can adversely affect their quality of life. Construction noise has also been known to degrade a person’s health over time, so consider a plan of escape during construction hours.
If the project is extensive, staying in a motel or even a rented trailer or RV may be best. Even for a small project, taking the family on a mini vacation or going away for the weekend is a good idea.
Protecting Your Pets
Construction might be harder for your pets than it is for any other members of your household. If you’re worried about how they’ll react to the noise or strange people coming and going, consider boarding pets or keeping them at a friend’s house while construction is underway. If keeping them elsewhere isn’t possible, here are some tips to help your pets cope during construction:
- To prevent your pet from panicking due to the noise, keep her in an enclosed area in a quieter part of the house. Surround her with objects familiar to her, such as a favorite toy or blanket.
- Dogs can be kept in an indoor crate, outside in a fenced yard or tied up while workers are there.
- Keep curious pets away from the construction zone even after workers are gone. There may be toxic paints and chemicals or exposed wiring that could cause an accident.
- Maintain a familiar routine with your pets. Stick with the daily schedule of feeding, walking, and play time that took place before the home improvement project began.
Don’t Forget Your Neighbors
Be courteous: Alert your neighbors before construction begins. Consider adding a clause to the contract with your contractor that specifies that the majority of the mess will be picked up from the yard and the house cleaned up as much as possible each day. This will keep your neighbors happier during the construction process and alleviate much of the stress of living in a constant mess.
Another courtesy is to limit early morning as well as weekend construction noises so that your neighbors do not lose patience with your project. Check on city noise ordinances to find out if construction work is prohibited during certain hours.