Well you have finally made the decision to renovate. Now you need to get organized before the renovation begins. If you are lucky you have a contractor and/or project manager who will keep you on track and give you plenty of notice of key decisions you need to make – however, we are not all this lucky! We have both been through at least one renovation and we learned a lot along the way – some by accident! Here is our advice on how to approach this awesome endeavor in an organized and hopefully less stressful manner.
First, research what you want for your new space. Magazines are a great source of inspiration. When you see something you like tear it out and keep it in a file. The internet is another great resource. For example, it you are researching windows you can Google window suppliers in your area and view their photo galleries for ideas. If you see something you like just print it out and put it in your folder. You never know, you might even come across the perfect couch in one of these photos!
Research what types of permits your project will require. Most contractors will handle the permit process for you but it is important that you know what is required as it is the homeowners responsibility to ensure they have the correct permits. Unfortunately, there are those contractors that want to avoid the hassle of dealing with the inspector and may lead you to believe the project does not need one. To research permits we suggest you Google building permits for your city. If you live in Toronto go to this website: Permits.
Now clear out the space that is going to be renovated. Get some empty boxes or plastic bins to pack away the items you are keeping. Keeping is the keyword here!! Take this opportunity to purge items you don’t use. There are a number of charities that will gladly pick up your used items. Try to sort the items you are keeping and pack them in one box so they will be easier to unpack once the renovation is complete. For example, sports equipment, toys, tools, etc. Label the boxes or bins so it is easy to find what you are looking for and store the boxes in a clean dry area.
Cover any furniture that might get dirty during the renovation. Dust and dirt has a nasty habit of spreading to other areas of the house. Pack pillows, lamp shades, throw blankets, etc. on top of the furniture and cover everything with a furniture cover or plastic sheet.
Seal off the area being renovated with a plastic sheet. The Box Shop is a great place to find furniture covers, boxes and plastic sheets, check out their website: Packing Supplies. Make sure you include money in your budget to hire cleaners at the end of the project. You will most likely need to have your rugs, furniture, windows and vents cleaned too.
Now the fun part – picking your finishes and furniture!! For most people this can be overwhelming. The trick is to keep samples of everything you have chosen. Bring these with you whenever you venture out to choose another item. It is amazing how each choice influences another. Keep all your samples in a folder with your floor plans, measurements, measuring tape and your magazine pictures. Remember to keep the paint chip for the final paint choices and write the room name on the chip so you can get more when you need to do touch ups.
Finally keep a spreadsheet to track expenses against your budget. Hopefully your contractor provides you with a quote that itemizes key milestones and payments for the project. Use this to set-up your spreadsheet, add in all the other incidentals you plan to purchase (e.g. furniture) and then track payments as you make them. This will help you to identify how you are tracking against your budget at all times. Here is a sample spreadsheet Sample Reno Budget .
Now let the project begin. Remember, contractors work at their own pace but the project will eventually be done and it will be well worth the wait and effort!!