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15 Things to Expect When Doing a DIY Renovation

15 Things to Expect When Doing a DIY Renovation

The Troop and I have been homeless for the past four months.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. We’ve been staying with his parents.

But we’ve been without our own home for that long.

When our apartment lease was up, We crammed the contents of our lives into a 16×8 PODS® storage container and moved 45 minutes north of the duplex. Bringing only what we’d think we’d need for a few weeks while we finished renovations. In typical DIY fashion, renovations have been taking way longer than we thought.

Working on this property for the past 7 months (wow I can’t believe I just typed “7 months”) has been the most fun and educational experience for both of us. It’s also been way different from we thought.

I’m realistic, and knew long days demoing walls and running to Home Depot were a given. But there are just some things that you can’t predict.

So here is a list of things to expect when doing a DIY renovation.

  • All meals will be eaten on the floor. If not a floor, then on the tailgate of a truck or on a makeshift table using plywood and saw horses.
  • Get comfy with your nearby public toilet. If you don’t have a functioning bathroom and aren’t about that Gatorade bottle life (I’m talking to the guys out there) then you’re gonna have to find another place to do your business.
  • Date nights are no longer sushi at the brewery, but instead rushed walks down the lumber aisle at Home Depot.
  • Your boogers will be gnarly. Spend a day tearing down plaster walls or cutting tiles and your nose will produce some huge dirt boogers.
  • You’ll long for a new pair of shoes or other similar frivolous purchase but decide $65 is way to much to spend, only to then write a check for $3,000 to your plumber like it’s pocket change.
  • The lives of your friends and family will seem so much more amazing and carefree. Be prepared for the invites you’ll have to decline and the “we miss you” texts accompanied by some great shots of a beer by the beach. Meanwhile you’re inside on a sunny day covered in plaster dust.
  • Crying over credit card bills, bounced checks, or overdraft fees.
  • Did I mention missing out on social events?

But there are some good things, too!

  • Like when sitting on your unfinished floor that you worked on all day is more satisfying than anything else.
  • When you scroll through pictures of what the project looked like before renovations and getting a strong sense of accomplishment.
  • Friends and family you may not have spoken to in a while will reach out with some well needed words of praise and encouragement.
  • Tasks that seemed so daunting just a few weeks or months ago, are now super easy and attainable. Like tiling a bathroom floor or assembling kitchen cabinets.
  • You’ll learn a lot about yourself. What your emotional and physical limits are and that those limits are A LOT further away than you think. That the lack of routine and stability doesn’t negatively affect you as much as you thought it would.
  • You’ll learn more about your partner. You’ll notice little things you’ve never caught before. Like how they know every word to a song you’ve never heard of. They’ll impress you by ripping out the whole back of the second floor and somehow put it back together before sun down, and then disappoint you because they forgot to mail a check or follow-up with a contractor.
  • You’ll realize it’s really not that scary. I cried out of pure terror the day our first offer was accepted. What were we getting ourselves into? Why did we think this was a good idea?

Let me tell you something.

That was the last time I ever felt “scared” throughout this whole process.

Stressed? Yeah.

But never scared. I never felt like we didn’t make the right choice to start down this path. We’re behind schedule, over budget, and over worked. But we wouldn’t trade this for anything else. Your first deal doesn’t have to be the best deal as long as it’s an educational one.

Down the line, we may be a little less involved in the actual renovations, but by doing this one ourselves, we have a solid foundation to build from. If that becomes the case, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll miss everything mentioned above.

Maybe not the boogers; those things are insane.

Happy Holidays, everyone!


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2 thoughts on “15 Things to Expect When Doing a DIY Renovation”

  • Love: “Your first deal doesn’t have to be the best deal, just an educational one.” ❤️❤️ SO true. We definitely learned the most with our first deal…. and we are still learning. Great post!

    • Hi Katelynn!

      I think going into the first deal with the mindset that it wont be a home run is important. The mistakes made and the lessons learned are so much more valuable than a bigger profit. Of course, we hope we take those lessons and implement the new skills and experiences into the next one to get that better profit!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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