We also have a roommate, which means that our whole renovation and all our living space can take up no more than 1000 square feet (plus a 60 foot shed which is awkwardly in our redneck yard).
When we first began our health, our marriage, and our sanity suffered. Recently though, we've begun to hit our stride. As such, I feel like I can offer a few tips on how to survive and thrive in the several year grind known as DIY remodeling.
1. Achieve livable prior to moving in
Since our house wasn't actually falling apart at the seams, we considered our Minimum Viable Product to be a house that smelled good, and didn't feel too grungy on entry. Paint and cleaning did the job. I don't regret this decision one bit. Living in a construction zone is not easy, but at least it feels a little bit homey, and it's possible to do light cleaning rather than just rubbing someone else's grease around.
2. Keep working out
After seeing the weight start to creep on, I started a weight training program with some built in sprints that only takes about 20 minutes to complete. This little program seems to be sufficient for maintaining both my weight and my fitness levels. On top of that, the program really reduces my stress levels. I can do my workout routine in the morning or in the evening (or over lunch if I don't blog instead), and I feel immensely better for it.
My husband puts in a 12-13 mile bike commute every week day, and sporadically does push ups. This keeps him looking and feeling good (he has a six pack in case anyone wanted to be jealous, but don't be too jealous because he's too pale to go outside sans shirt).
I think it's important to prioritize working out above the home remodel, but on most days, I have time and energy for both.
3. Do ONE project at a time
The second weakness is that nightly clean up takes twice as long. When you are doing a live in remodel, you have to clean up all your tools and all your mess every night. This takes up a lot of time. Usually at least 30 minutes if you are doing everything yourself. However, when we work together it takes less than half the time.
As a side note, our differing expectations regarding cleanliness have easily been the biggest source of marital discord during this remodel. Since we've moved to the one project policy, this has been much less of an issue. That being said, nothing replaces good old fashioned communication of expectations, humility to admit you've messed up, and a willingness to extend and accept forgiveness as building blocks in your relationship.
4. Plan your trash
In all seriousness, we generate a ton of trash every time we "deconstruct", but we haven't had to rent a dumpster yet. This is because the week that we only start deconstructing when we have an empty trash can. This allows us to fill up the entire trash can with nasty carpeting, tiles, linoleum, dry wall, and other construction related refuse. It also means that we have to be very careful to generate very little trash outside of construction or we end up in a situation where I am sneaking around on Friday morning filling our neighbor's trash bins with trash that was sitting on our porch for the last 3-4 days.
As part of our trash planning, we will rent a dumpster when we deconstruct the bathrooms, just because we will be taking the bathrooms down to the studs and subfloor, but other than that, careful planning allows us to keep our trash contained while our house improves.
5. Celebrate the completion of projects
Will we DIY again?
What advice do you have for me?