How to organise & plan your house renovation

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Trying to keep sane during a major home renovation can be tough! Staying organised is key to getting the work done on time and in budget – here’s how…I’ve been working on my home renovation for a year now. The timescale has been ‘felixible’ to put it mildly – it’s a total DIY renovation so I’ve just been working on it when I have the time and the money. But even if you’re bringing in professionals to do tasks, remodelling a home can still be stressful. Not only are you trying to keep track of contractor schedules, material purchases and design decisions, you’re also living in a construction zone. Staying organised is key. Whether it’s just a new layer of exterior cladding going up, or you’re putting in a new bathroom, here are some organising tips to help everything go smoothly.


This is the one everyone knows about, and is still the one area that almost always gets away from you. You need to really take some time to sit down with a spreadsheet or paper and calculator and plan out a thorough budget. Making wild guesses about the main materials and figuring that it’s close enough is going to derail your project, guaranteed.Plan for all the incidentals (nails, trim, glue, etc.) and be generous when you factor in contractor or professional time. Nothing ever goes as quickly as you’d think. Keep it up-to-date as well, adjusting items as the project progresses. When you realise that certain things are costing significantly more, you can make changes to upcoming plans so that it doesn’t balloon out of control.


Permits, receipts, quotes, invoices and drawings all need to be saved and organised until the project is done (and possibly longer). Never throw anything away. Stuffing everything in a file is better than nothing, otherwise try to have a set of files organized by type of record. A binder would also work.Even when work is complete, it can be a good idea to hold onto your paperwork file. Years after you rebuilt the kitchen cabinets, you might suddenly need to find that same handle hardware or paint colour again. Having purchase records stored somewhere can be invaluable.


Whether its a standard business card or just a Facebook address, you should maintain a current contact list of everyone working on your job. If it’s a total DIY renovation, it will be pretty easy. Regardless of your specific plans, keep track of everyone you deal with. Even just the name of the person who helped you at the DIY store.


Get a datebook or calendar that is only used for this project and keep track of everything that is going on. Mark dates for material deliveries, expected contractor arrivals, planned phone calls and anything else you need to remember. That includes upcoming things as well as things that have passed. It’s very easy to forget how long ago you touched base with the electrician or plumber, so record when you spoke last.


Lastly, take a lot of pictures. Photos of all stages of construction and materials used so you can refer back to aspects of the job that may not always be visible. You can just file them away along with the other paperwork we mentioned, or store them digitally for safe-keeping. This is an important step if you are working with multiple contractors and you can provide visual details about work that has already been completed, or refer back if there are problems later on with the project.

Also, if you take photos, you can look back on them after a year or two (like I just have!) and be amazing at just how much work has been done and how far you’ve come. It’ll give you the encouragement and motivation to continue working on your renovation project.

Let me know your tips for keeping your house renovation on track by leaving me a comment below and I really hope that these ideas have helped if you’re planning a project.

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2 Responses

  1. It’s so hard to live on a building site, isn’t it? I agree, I think the lighter days will help – we’ll be able to work outside more and do DIY tasks in the evenings too 🙂 Best of luck with your renovation! xxx

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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