Did you know that remodeling your home can be as stressful as moving into a new one? You may have decided to remodel the old kitchen, or perhaps you’re adding on to your home so that mom or dad can live with you. These days, if you’re part of the Sandwich Generation, your grown child may be living at home as well.
I actually really like the idea of having the whole family together as much as possible. But with everyone living under one roof, it’s easy to get your toes stepped on. Meanwhile, any construction going on can make life more stressful. If remodeling your home is something you are going through or plan to do, then it’s important to get everyone prepared. It’s tough to live in a home under construction. Making a solid plan is important to your sanity, and it will keep everyone on good terms. Knowing where you will sleep, shower, and eat is very important. People get cranky when the basics of life are not readily available.
It’s my belief that if you are remodeling an entire house, you should move out, but most people don’t. It’s an additional expense, and moving even temporarily takes a lot of effort, so most folks just put up with the noise and disruption. Still, having some ground rules helps. For example, you’ll want to hire contractors who are willing to clean up daily, so you can function somewhat normally in your home at night. It’s also a good idea to keep at least one room and one bathroom fully functional at all times.
The kitchen is the heart of most homes, so if it’s being remodeled, you need to create an alternative. The backyard BBQ is a great way to enjoy family meals if your kitchen is in pieces, and I have always been a big fan of takeout. Some people even choose to camp in their own backyards or to use a motor home until the dust settles.
If you are moving into a new home, you’ll have no dust to deal with, but you will need to plan ahead. Many people wait until the last minute to pack, which is always a bad idea.
Whether you are downsizing to a smaller home because the kids are gone or you’re opting for a bigger space, moving takes a lot of planning. Though most of us move several times in life, it doesn’t necessarily get any easier. As we mature and our families grow, we end up with more rather than fewer things to move. If you plan ahead, it will lower your stress level greatly.
It’s wise to keep your eyes on the finish line. Knowing that this disruption in your life is temporary can help ease some of your tension. Once your family is settled in to your new or newly remodeled home, life will be sweeter, and you can enjoy the new space you have created in your lives. When you’re in the middle of it, you may not be able to see that what you are really doing is making your family more comfortable and closer. Try to remember that part.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at BartonGoldsmith, or email him at Bartonbartongoldsmith.com.