Home Renovation Survival Tips


In September I started a massive kitchen renovation. What do I mean by massive? I mean 3 months so far without water, counters, floors, major appliances and more! And I did not move out! Instead, I stayed in my house with my adorable pups and figured out the best way to survive the chaos. 

Here are a few of the tips and tricks I used to live in a home that is under construction and not go crazy in the process!

Tip 1 – Keep Your Eye on the Prize
When you’re embarking on a major renovation, the first suggestion I have is to create an inspiration board, file or collage. This is a collection of all the pictures of the space that inspire you, items you want, colours you prefer. This is key for the design process but for survival during the reno too – you will need to gaze lovingly at this collage to know that all the mess and inconvenience is going to be worth it!


Compare that beautiful inspiration collage to these images – this was my reality for THREE months! To stay sane, and functional, and still live there, I had to find ways to make things work for all of us.


Tip 2 – Clean as you go
For my own health and for the health and safety of my two sweet dogs, I needed to keep my home clean and tidy, despite the state the house was in. I can’t tell you how many Swiffer pads I went through each day! I was constantly whipping that magic tool around, day in and day out. I’d start with the Swiffer Sweeper to trap and lock in all the dirt (and let me tell you there was A LOT of dirt). Then I’d use the Swiffer Wet Jet on the finished hardwood floors to clean up any remaining dirt and grime and make it a safe haven for all of us. At least until the dirt and dust appeared the next day and then I’d start the clean up again.


News flash - I am a bit OBSESSED about cleanliness, which made living in a renovation zone pretty difficult. I had to find new products to compliment my go-to ones to get me through this seemingly endless mess. I tried Scrub Daddy for the first time during my reno and it was amazing! This little sponge doesn’t scratch delicate surfaces and doesn’t require harsh chemicals, which I am totally against for my own health and that of my fur friends. The power of this little scrubber is amazing.  


Tip 3 - Clean the insides of your appliances
Speaking of cleaning, people often overlook cleaning the inside of their appliances. Yes, your appliances need cleaning too! If you still have appliances up and running, it’s important to take care of them and clean them properly, especially after a renovation. Did you know that only 27% of Canadians have cleaned the inside of their dishwasher in the past 12 months? EWWW! Imagine that! There are specially formulated tablets that actually clean the inside of dishwashers called affresh. They clean the hard water and mineral deposits that accumulate in your dishwasher over time. 


Tip 4 – Make Healthy Choices
Besides cleaning the floors, it’s important to clean surfaces, windows, the top of furniture and anything else that might be dusty. Because I am so against toxins and chemicals, I was thrilled when I found out about Thieves; this is an all-natural, 100% pure, plant-based, essential oil cleaner from Young Living. Half a capful makes a full bottle of this cleaning goodness (one single Thieves bottle will make 26 full bottles of cleaner - at $27.50 for the Thieves, that is a steal!). In addition to being all plant and essential oils based, it kills 99.96% of airborne bacteria and germs, it’s safe around kids, and I don’t need to worry when my sweet pups come into contact with it. Where to find it? The Oil Girls Canada.
 Clean air is so importance to me because I have severe allergies. If you are living through a reno, or you have kids or pets, clean air should be a top priority. The Philips Air Purifier is proven to reduce allergens, odors, volatile organic compound emissions and even certain bacteria – say that three times fast! The filter removes 99.97% of allergens and pollutants while the Active Carbon filter reduces gases and odors from the air.


Tip 5 – Small Essentials
Living without a kitchen is hard – and I don’t mean kinda hard, I mean REALLY hard. To stay sane I had to make sure I had access to appliances and alternate items so I was not breaking the bank every night eating out … but keep in mind all my appliances had been removed! My KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker was my saviour. All you have to do is throw in your ingredients, let them simmer and have a meal at the end of the day. It also automatically goes into keep warm mode for up to four hours so you know you’ll have a hot meal to look forward to.
This compact oven from KitchenAid is also great if you are going to have to go longer periods of time without a kitchen (and mine was pretty long). It takes up a very small footprint, you can plug it in just about anywhere to make a “make-shift” kitchen in another area of your home to make anything from roasted meats, fish and vegetables, to quiche, pizza, muffins and more.


Tip 6 – Stress Buster
This might seem like an odd recommendation but another key to surviving a reno is to decrease your stress (and trust me I had A LOT of it when there were hiccups in the delivery times, delays and changes that needed to be made, all which inevitably slowed down the process). Make sure you have a safe, clean retreat to get away to where you can rest and restore before conquering the next day that will have an entirely new set of challenges! Soft pillows, a comfortable mattress (my new Bills Bed mattress sure came in handy these past few months!). Try out my new fully washable, hypoallergenic, animal cruelty-free, Canadian made sleeping pillows and duvets – a good night’s sleep is just the blink of an eye away. 


In Summary

All in all, I think I am surviving just fine! My pups and I still live at home, eat at home, and enjoy the rest of the house – no easy feat in these conditions! But the tips I shared are sure to help you through the long weeks of a reno. Keep looking at your inspiration photos – it will all be worth it in the end.