Moving in and out of a house in the same day by yourself in excruciatingly difficult. I worked the whole time through the move and though my husband took off a week from his work, we were both working around the clock to move out in and within a day. Both homes are very large-around 3500 and 4000 sq. feet, so you can imagine how much stuff we had for six people to fit in the space. Our kids were still very busy at school and needed our help with rides and support. It was intense.
When we finally had moved in the last box and last piece of furniture, I just sat there in an exhausted heap and looked at our hideous house. It was so hideous that I seriously was wondering, “What did we do?” I had a rock solid plan and I knew that it would eventually be incredible, but I kind of skipped over the part where I had to live in it while we slowly fixed it up. I was so overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work we had to do.
I knew what I wanted to do to make it livable,
but I did not know how to live there as it was.
I share this because I seriously thought I was ready to take all this on. I am not high-maintenance. I don’t mind waiting for nice things. I am a hard worker. I believed in my vision. I had deliberately chosen a fixer upper over a new build. If I could go back during the inception phase, I would have prepared more on making the current space work rather than fill Pinterest boards of what it could be . That is not reality when you are doing the work yourselves.
I wish I would have taken more pictures of what our house looked like when we moved in. I was honestly so horrified I didn’t want to remember. I think I deleted any pictures I did take. Even though the new house had more square footage, it lacked usable space. The kitchen was especially bad for me. If the kitchen isn’t organized and clean the whole house feels completely out of whack. The struggle was REAL.
I took that night ( and maybe a few more?) to wallow in my sorrows. Then when I was ready, I woke up, rolled up my sleeves and began to make this house work for us, as-is. I will not say that part was easy because I could see what it was ultimately supposed to be and I only wanted to work towards that goal. Living in the space as-is did NOT fit that vision.
Slowly I began to formulate a Stage One fix. This stage would involve making small, temporary changes that would allow us to live comfortably while we waited for the time for a more complete renovation. It wouldn’t be as pretty as Stage Two which would allow me to make the actual changes that I had planned. Addressing our home in stages would mean that things would be fixed in layers, not in a whole room top to bottom redo like they do on HGTV. I knew this was necessary, but it did take just a wee bit of wind out of my renovation sails. In my head I see post these big reveals of perfection, and I had to accept that just could not be with our budget and timeline.
I share this because if you are also thinking about living in your home while you renovate, on a limited budget, doing most of it yourselves, while working and with kids– prepare yourself. It is definitely not impossible, but it is not as easy as leaving your home for six weeks while contractors work on it and surprise you with the amazing results. Instead, try to find order and joy in the process and accept that your dream can still be achieved, but in a different way than you expected. It can be done!! You got this!