May Newsletter
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Is your home bursting at the seams? Are you dreaming about your dream kitchen? Do you wish your house had a master suite? Renovating your home can be a satisfying way to improve your quality of life. The key to success is good planning.
Know What You Want. Create a list of what you want and need to achieve.
  • Collect ideas
  • Make note of your physical wants
  • List your emotional wants
  • Identify any non-negotiable items.
Determine A Realistic Budget. The temptation to do more than you planned is immense. Know yourself and what you can afford. What can you stretch your budget to, and what will cause financial problems? Projects typically exceed budgets by at least 20%.  Factor in some potential overage.
If your desires exceed your budget, talk to your contractor about ways to reduce costs. Can you give up recessed lighting for hardwood floors? Is there a cheaper look-a-like? Consider DIY options. Beware when buying online: you may pay less for the item but more for the contractors.  Time lost while you ship back a damaged product and wait for a replacement can throw the entire project off schedule and budget.
Include in your budget the cost of extra meals out and a little pampering. You’ll deserve both.
If You Pay Peanuts, You May Get Monkeys.  Shop diligently for contractors or designers. The cheapest price is tempting, but it’s not worth the savings if the project is done poorly or left unfinished.
Do your homework. Ask neighbors, friends and family for referrals. Look at local directories, or search online. However you find someone, be sure to interview both the contractor and a few past customers.
Make sure that whomever you hire is insured and licensed by the state of Maryland for the type of work they will do for you! To check on a contractor’s license, visit
Understand The Process. Know what to expect before construction begins. Ask your contractor for a written or emailed explanation of starting time, daily and weekly goals, a thorough timetable of subcontractors (first week carpenter, then two days for electrician, followed by a week for the plumber, etc.). How will set-backs be handled?
Learn how to communicate with your contractor. Calls, texts, email? Avoid frustration by knowing a typical time frame for replies.
Schedule The Project Accordingly.  Once you have an understanding of what to expect, plan the timing of the construction work.
  • Are there times when a contractor might give a discount?
  • What time of the year can you most easily handle interruptions and added responsibilities? If you have children, will the disruption be less during the school year or during the summer holiday?
  • Factor in: school, work and volunteer calendars; after-school activities; camps.

Get Ready, Get Set… Get Organized Before You Hit Go.  Prepare your home for disruptions. Your household can still run smoothly, if you plan ahead.
  • Set up staging areas where needed.
  • Do you need a new enter/exit zone of your home with needed purses, backpacks, coats and shoes?
  • Do you need a temporary small food station to replace a kitchen?
  • Do you need a portable leisure or work station that can be set up on the dining table and quickly removed at mealtime?
  • An organizer can help you establish functional spaces and routines.
Prepare Yourself. Acknowledge that, despite your efforts, construction will be challenging.
  • Allow more time to do daily tasks and to get out the door in the morning.
  • Every evening, make sure all temporary systems are in place for the next day.
  • Reduce your commitments, if possible.
  • Be ready for more noise, phone calls, and unexpected construction surprises.
  • If possible, double your patience level with your spouse and children; remember that everything is harder for them too.
Get help – call an Organizer!  If planning your renovation has exhausted you even before the work has begun, call an organizer.  An organizer can help you prepare and implement systems to ensure that your life continues without being completely derailed by the renovation.  At TLC Home, we have experience and expertise to help you get the most out of the changes to your home, while staying on track with your day-to-day life.
© 2014 Terry L. Cooch, TLC Home LLC. All Rights Reserved.
About the author: Terry L. Cooch is a professional organizer, owner of TLC Home LLC, organizing and staging services. Her website is

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