Remodeling Stress ~ How to Cope During DIY Projects

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Numerous shows are on television demonstrating how “easy” it can be to take a home and turn it into something fabulous. Knock out a wall (or two), put down new flooring, and even add-on…all in one episode. It all seems so glorious and begs you to give DIY a try, doesn’t it? Somehow though, it doesn’t quite prepare you for real life DIY and the reality of remodeling stress. Yep, I’m talking about that smack-in-the-face kind of “What is going on?” feeling. To aid in that journey to get that euphoric accomplishment feeling, I am going to share 5 ways to prepare and cope during your remodel.

DIY not what you thought it would be? Remodeling Stress is real and we want to help! | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Being a homeowner is one of the purest joys that be found. It’s responsibility and freedom that can’t be found elsewhere. I liken it to a roller-coaster ride, full of highs and lows, with a whole lot of fun and fear mixed in. As parents to 6 children, and avid DIYers, here are a few things JC and I have found to aid in making those dips and twists more doable.

JC & Larissa Haynes in DIY mode | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Before I get started, first for all of you who have been following our year-long kitchen remodel…Yes, we are still working on it. Did we think it would take us over a year to complete? NO!! Are we frustrated? YES!! We knew it would be a long journey because (1) JC works a full-time job for more than 40 hrs/week (2) he is our delivery/shipping guy (aka. job #2) (3) he is our mechanic (4) all our DIY has to be squeezed into a Saturday and an occasional day off (5) I homeschool our 6 kids (6) we run a home business (7) I blog (8) we need sleep. Need I say more?

Hanging Up Beadboard in our Laundry Room | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

So, yes, it has been much longer than planned. After a couple of months of setbacks with poison ivy, sickness, car repairs, just plain life, we are now back in the saddle full bore.

Before I go on, let me announce the winner of the Rug Expedition giveaway.

CONGRATULATIONS TO…

Rug Expedition Giveaway Winner

⇒ Lee Ann O. ⇐

Thank you to all who played along. Wish I could send one to each of you!

And now, back to today’s topic…

Originally we had plans to get our reclaimed wood countertops done all by ourselves. However, since winter came much faster than our time allowed to get the wood done, we decided to call in the Amish. JC tried his best, but knew we couldn’t beat old man winter. It just took me two months of convincing him before he realized it. ahem. Can’t blame the dude for trying. He really wanted to do this himself.

Using Router to Level Reclaimed Barn Wood | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

We are currently in putting-counters-together mode, and once those are done, it is smooth-sailing (or so we hope!) Is remodeling fun? YES. Does it cause stress? YES. Is there anything we can do? YES!! Here’s some of what we learned along the way during our bathroom, master bedroom, patio, boy’s room, and now kitchen remodel (all good reads, BTW):

1. Plan

You might be saying, “Well, duh”. Seriously though, no architect just goes about building without laying out a plan. Here are some elements that we have found key to a good DIY plan:

  • Reality check – Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t put high expectations on yourself. Take an honest look at the project, even sit down in the room to be worked on and make a list of priorities and order of events. Research using dear ol’ Google or YouTube. Even set a workable time-frame for completion so that everyone involved has a goal and are on the same page with expectations.
  • Set a budget – be realistic about needs vs. wants. Sometimes a project can be completed to get it livable and the wants can be added in as budget allows. Trust us, it will make you appreciate them all the more.
  • Talk it out – If you are teaming up with a spouse or a buddy, be sure to listen to what each other has to say. Each will bring their own skills to the project and it makes things go much smoother if those skills are used in the best way possible. Doling out tasks will not only make the job faster, but will be enjoyable for all. Though, be warned, not all DIY is fun and does require a willingness to give in once in a while.
  • Prayer – For us this is an essential. Asking for guidance from the One who knows best undoubtedly makes for smoother project, and helps us stay focused on what really matters.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

2. Adapt

In nature I am amazed at how wonderfully creatures were created to adapt to their surroundings. They were equipped with the make-do or do without essentials. Likewise, remodeling stress can be quickly lightened when we are willing to forego our above plan when we encounter unexpected events. What am I talking about? Put simply – be ready to throw your plan out the door. Yep.

Not all things go according to plan. For instance, let’s say your plan is to remove a drop ceiling. You start tearing it out only to find that there is a hot mess of electrical wires and possibly even water damage being hidden. What to do? First, assess what needs to be done to keep you on your plan or consider how to adapt. Absolutely be willing to step back from the project for a time to regroup and move forward. Nothing can be worse than forcing a plan to work that is obviously showing it needs tweaking. Talk it out and make changes as needed. Being clear on expectations and possibilities are a must to avoid that remodeling stress.

3. Surrender

As much as I hate to admit it, there are certain things that not all DIYers can do. There is a point when we have to know our limitations and know when to CALL A PROFESSIONAL. Money and time can be saved when we allow a certain part of the project to be handled by a trained pro. Although it can be scary to let go of your project, it can also be very freeing. Taking advantage of their skills and expertise allow you to tackle another part of your project, thus lightening that remodeling stress. In the end, you will be able to continue on your plan and have that feel-good feeling.

*note: when we called a plumber to do the work in the kitchen we wanted to hand-off, it took them 2 months to show up. That event alone set us back immensely, so…be prepared.

4. Include

Can you imagine the feeling you would get if you were invited to a party and you walk in only to find that you are the sole attendee? Though some of us tend to feel like flying solo is the way to be, there is also much joy to be found in including others. What in the world am I talking about? Call in the family, friends, and neighbors to lend a hand. More likely than not, they would love the chance to help and each party can bring their own mix to the fun and relieve your remodeling stress.

Hanging Beadboard in Kitchen Remodel | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Also, call in your built-in crew – your children. Involve your children because there is no better teacher than experience and it builds their confidence. Assign jobs that are age appropriate and ask them to help you in the smallest ways. Yes, it make take a bit of time to guide, but the reward will be immense for all of you. Your whole family will be able to step back and reap the rewards of the completed project.

5. Enjoy

Not everyone is able to DIY for different reasons, so be sure to enjoy that you have the capability and willingness to do so. Celebrate your accomplishments both big and small. Did you hang a light fixture and it actually works? Do a happy dance!! Did you complete a room? Have a special dinner. Making life enjoyable requires a light-hearted vision and seeing the blue skies beyond the gray clouds. However, some stress will strengthen our fortitude to complete the job, while some can be left at the door. Can I get an amen?

We truly hope these tips and laughable events have helped you along your remodeling journey. It all is really an adventure of learning and growing, and most importantly accomplishment.

Do share this post so that others can know they are not alone. Oh, and do tell us about your remodeling stress too! Sharing helps others and we want to build each other up.

DIY not what you thought it would be? Remodeling Stress is real and we want to help! | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Up next, I’ve got a fun way to take organizing to a new level. Stay tuned! Sign up for my newsletter HERE so you can get your free Furniture Buying Checklist and a special discount to my shop.

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More remodeling stress free projects:

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19 Comments

  • Lee Ann Oliverio

    Whoop whoop! Thank you so much for the rug gift card, I’ll put it to good use for sure! Thanks for all your great tips, your kitchen looks beautiful!

    January 26, 2017 at 7:28 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m so excited for you! Thank you, Lee Ann.

      January 26, 2017 at 12:54 pm Reply
  • Mary - the boondocks blog

    Larissa you certainly have your hands full during the day and a good nights sleep is a must. DIYs can be very hard to handle when you have a full life. The important thing is to celebrate the little progress you make each day and know that you are one step closer to your goal!

    January 26, 2017 at 7:58 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I couldn’t agree more, Mary. I do think we need a break as things have been crazy for the past year. Hopefully we are past our biggest hurdle and can move on. Thank you!

      January 26, 2017 at 12:55 pm Reply
  • Carol S

    I too am in the middle of a kitchen remodel. All DIY. Life certainly does get in the way of progress. Had to lay out some plywood for kitchen counters at Christmas. Temp install on the kitchen sink so we wouldn’t have to do dishes in the laundry room sink. Back to the laundry room after guests gone! Now that the butcher block counter tops are in, my husband is obsessing about water on his hard work. 🙂 This too shall pass. Now the baton is to me to paint cabinets and trim. Getting close! Definitely have to celebrate each small progress and keep one’s eye on the achievements along the way. You are amazing!

    January 26, 2017 at 8:14 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Good for you! I have had my pots and homeschool stuff in boxes for over a year and I think I’m going to go batty. It makes it harder to do daily grind stuff, so I will not know what to do with myself when we’re done! 😀

      January 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm Reply
  • Sherry Stuifbergen

    Can’t wait to see the final kitchen project done. You have the vision and it will be great! It appears you have done alot to your home. It is not the “average” home…no way!

    January 26, 2017 at 9:18 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You and me both, Sherry! 😀 I love doing what we do, just we wish we had more time to do it. Life is too short as it is. Thank you, girl!

      January 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm Reply
  • Marie from The Interior Frugalista

    Larissa, you are Super Woman to me and I don’t know how you get all that you accomplish done in a day and do it all so well. This is a fantastic checklist full of helpful tips and information. A few of those points I want my husband to read because we differ on those and I bet you can probably guess which ones. ha ha

    January 26, 2017 at 10:40 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You support is what helps me through, Marie. It truly is wearing and I feel like I’m ready to break at times. We are near the end and I can’t wait! Then…we move onto our family room…ha!

      January 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm Reply
  • Susan

    I’m amazed at the amount of stuff you accomplish – busy Busy BUSY ! Love your advice on successfully DIY’ing: adapting, planning, giving-in to a professional when totally and absolutely necessary, enjoying and employing each other’s talents and finding time to take re-energizing breaks. You and your entire family inspire me !

    January 26, 2017 at 10:48 am Reply
    • Larissa

      How wonderful your words are to hear, Susan. Thank you!

      January 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm Reply
  • Patty

    Larissa, to be HONEST with you I just don’t know how you do what you do, the good Lord must have blessed you with tons of energy. You and your husband and six youngen’s are such an inspiration to me, I am trying to remodel the guest Bathroom, I have only been working on it for two years haha, but the problem is my (Mr. never did a DIY in his life) can not see my vision for making the guest BR larger, but I’m determined to do it my way and if I have to hire someone to help me I will. You have made me feel a little better about taking so long to do a simple project, Thank you for that. Please keep doing just what you are doing, it is so nice to see pictures of the kids and how they are growing and changing.

    January 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Sometimes it can seem like something that should be simple isn’t and that in itself is frustrating. I know what you mean, Patty. Thank you so much for the encouragment! Hang in there and we’ll both get ‘er done. 😀

      January 27, 2017 at 5:17 am Reply
  • Becky

    Great list! Oh, and I LOVE that picture of you surounded by kids with Mom-requests! Haha, EVERY MINUTE OF MY LIFE right there in that picture! SOmetimes you step back from a “non-productive” day and can’t believe what all you got done, WITH kids needing you every 2 seconds! I have 8 still at home with me 24/7 (one works so I see less of him), and YES! Food, algebra… they sure do make you feel needed!

    January 27, 2017 at 5:40 pm Reply
  • Cheryl B

    Larissa , I just needed this one…lol. I am so OCD, and type A.I just want it done way envision it.That sometimes I lose the small pleasures.Thank you for the reminder slow down ..Enjoy and be grateful its not the remodel grateful for but what is inside of it…my family…This is why I just love your posts.I need to remember even though my hands are full and sometimes heart burdened.. To and appreciate the roses I have in my life..bless you.

    January 28, 2017 at 3:56 am Reply
  • Suzzan HK

    I just refound you blog and we too are in a year long kitchen remodel that wasn’t planned but evolved after 3 plumbing issues. The last of which dumped thousands of gallons of water through our kitchen floor right by the sink when we weren’t home. I thank God every day for our old house that had a few open places in the floor that sent the water under the house and not all through the house. I appreciate your list. It really does make me feel better. We don’t have a lot of family near by to help but my son has driven hours to help us and has built our new cabinets for us. Thanks again.

    February 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm Reply
    • Suzan HK

      That should have been Suzan HK. lol

      February 18, 2017 at 6:31 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Glad to have you, Suzan! Sorry to hear of your troubles…oh my. Yes, remodeling is a chore that can prove to be so beneficial, but man, the stress!

      February 19, 2017 at 5:59 am Reply

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