Six ways to survive living in a building site while you renovate
If you're currently living in a building site I feel for you, I really do. We've done it three times and it doesn't get any easier. In fact it probably gets shitter.
A before and after of our house - see the light.
Pay for storage if you can afford it (or beg / borrow a garage from a generous family member). Dust is your enemy. It will find you, and it will get you. It will cover you while you sleep and it will remain months after you finish the works as a cruel reminder of the hell you went through. Bag, double bag, triple bag and air lock bag your stuff if you’re storing it in the ‘site’. You know those handy boxes with holes for handles? They were made by the devil. Dust will find those holes. We bought a load of plastic laundry bags from the pound shop and put our (already bagged) clothes in these for easy storage. Could I get a prize for saying BAG the most times in one blogpost?
2. INVEST IN A BABY BELLING
This bad boy saved our bank balance and potentially our relationship when we were doing up our first flat. We were sans kitchen for about 6 months, yep six entire months, and this little contraption saved (or more importantly cooked) our bacon. Two hobs and an oven big enough for half a pizza – we really did live the dream. First half the pizza for mains, second for dessert. It stopped us spanking too much money on eating out or deliveroos and, lets be honest if you’re living in a construction site you don’t have money for fancy dining.
3. RINSE A GYM MEMBERSHIP
Getting membership to a swanky gym while you renovate your bathroom ain’t at all a bad shout. I wish I’d done this. At one point we only had a bath, which was fine in theory but it was doubling as our kitchen sink as the only tap / plughole in the house. I remember one of the lowest points was noticing last nights’ broccoli floating in the tub with me one night as I bathed. Real grim stuff. Not exactly a slumdog I do realise that, but not exactly the highlife. I wish I’d tapped up David Lloyd for it’s posh showers and free hairdryers. Next time* David, you will be mine. * there will definitely be no next time.
4. DON'T FORGET A GSOH
It’s pretty savage living in a building site. Tempers run high, things get delayed / more expensive / broken / dusty and a sense of humour failure (sorry, that should definitely be plural – failures) is/ are inevitable. Try to see the funny side of it. Just try…. Also if you’re the partner of a heavily pregnant woman, she is ALWAYS RIGHT. In fact that’s just life, not specific to a renovation project.
5. TIME YOUR HOLIDAYS RIGHT
So you’ve probably got no cash for a holiday anyway…. But if you do have a few weeks off work to escape to your parents / inlaws / an Airbnb with running water and limited dust then programme it to time with the most disruptive parts of the building works. Having no loo is, I would say the most disruptive element of any project. No roof is probs worse but if you’re living in a building without a lid you need to have serious words with yourself, and probably your building control officer too. If you have mates / family that live miles away make weekend trips to see them and to save you from dust.
6. DON'T FORGET PROTECTION
Floorboards or concrete floors retain dust – emit dust even, so buying a van load of Corex is not a bad call. We used it throughout all the ‘habitable’ rooms and you can just cut it to size and gaffer tape it together to cover the entire floor. It’s easy to hoover / mop the dust off and you can replace it if it gets really shoddy It also helps to stop the draught coming through the gaps in the floorboards. Protection is key (ahem...) so mattress protectors, pillow protectors all that kind of stuff will help to keep the dust out of the big stuff. I think we ended up throwing our pillows and duvets away they were so grim. Man, those were some dark days 7 months pregnant in a heating-less house mopping temporary floor covering. I live to tell the tale though. And so will you.
Best of luck my friends. You will survive. I do not envy you though, I do not.