Breaking Eggs

By: Janice Clements

There’s a saying we’re fond of in our home, “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” Messy work, but the outcome is always worthwhile.

It tends to be the one thing that people forget when undertaking a major renovation or moving homes. The planning, whether it’s looking at new homes or envisioning your home as its best-looking-future-self, is so fun that we forget about the sometimes-bumpy road that leads to the future we want for ourselves.

In fact, when I send Wayne’s clients staging notes or start speaking renovation process details with homeowners, I often receive a glassy stare - it’s not pleasant to think of how much time, effort and sheer work goes into preparing for these life-upsetting changes. But it’s real. And at times difficult. Know that it’s doable and eventually, it will come to an end.

Here are some tips for those about to journey down the often-adventurous path to new or newly-done homes:

Surround yourself with the right team. Planning is everything. Whether you’re selling or renovating, the right team of people will help make the process easier. Note that I don’t say the right team will make the process perfect. Moving or renovating are processes that involve humans and as such are not perfect – what you want is a team that will be accountable, and will problem solve every issue that arises. Interviewing a variety of contractors and/or realtors will help ensure you get the right people for your team.

Plan for discomfort. So, you know that feeling when you’re just about to head out the door and you can’t find your house or car keys? You can see them in your minds-eye but can’t put your hands on them – when the one thing you need is not at your fingertips? Become friends with that feeling. For a while (perhaps several months) things will not be where you expect them to be. Your shaving cream or razor blades, the extra tubes of toothpaste you bought just before your bathroom renovation may be stuck in a box somewhere inconvenient. 

So, how to resolve this?

Create an “Important” pile. Whether you’re moving or renovating, things will get boxed up and/or moved to places they’re not usually found. Designate a corner of your home where you keep things that are important to you when you land on the other side of your move or renovation. If possible, move these items yourself – don’t put them on a moving truck. Items like, the coffee maker, bedding, clean underwear, extra toothbrushes, soap… any item you need first thing in the morning to get yourself to work or at night need to get yourself into bed. 

Pack your valuables. Regardless of your situation, make sure to pack your valuables away for safe-keeping. If you’re prepping your house for sale, you’ll want to ensure that items of sentimental or monetary value are out of sight from strangers coming through your home. If you’re renovating, avoid heartbreak by tucking away breakables to places unaffected by the work being done in your home.

Make-shift spaces. Create a spot in your home for a make-shift kitchen – whether you’re moving or renovating, having a spot to keep food fresh, to sit and eat is, to make yourself a cup of tea (or have a shot of bourbon) is going to be the thing you rely on for some sanity while your life is temporarily turned upside down.

Enlist the help of friends or family. At our age, we had no expectations of friends and family helping us move, but I’m not sure what we would have done without the help of our family. I’m so grateful that whomever was available swooped in and helped with last-minute packing. If you have people offering to help, take them up on the offer. You’ll be grateful for the extra hands when things get busy.

Purge. And then, purge some more. It was in the days just prior to our move that it struck me just how much stuff we had. My sister-in-law commented particularly on the massive collection of spices I had tucked away in my kitchen (some of which were expired, unbeknownst to me). Take the opportunity to rid your home of unused, out of date or out of style items. If you don’t need it, don’t pay to move it. If you’re renovating, know that bringing new items into your home may make the old items look tired and dated. Doing an inventory of older items will help you decide what to keep and what to lose. 

Keep your eye on the prize! There will be days when it won’t feel like it, but know that the process, whether it’s a major renovation or moving your life and home to another place entirely, will come to an end. 

Try to enjoy and learn from the experience and know that soon enough life will return to normal!



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