Once the decision has been made to tackle home improvement projects, the honey-do list seemingly never stops growing. As a homeowner, it can be hard to know where to begin.
When you have limited resources (and patience) for renovations, you have to triage the needs. If you’re overwhelmed with decision fatigue, follow these few simple steps to prioritize your “to-fix” list in a smart order.
Go functional first.
Get tough with yourself and decide what is a “need to have” versus a “want to have.” Then, tackle the “need” list first. If you don’t have wainscotting in the living room for six months, you’ll be just fine. If you don’t have a functioning toilet or kitchen sink, you won’t.
Once you’ve made your master list in descending order of need, you need to zoom out on the picture a bit. Would it make sense to go one room at a time? Or maybe it would be more logical to tackle multiple elements of several projects at once (e.g. painting all interior walls, or replacing carpet in all bedrooms). Efficiency becomes especially important if you are hiring help and not DIY-ing it.
Pick projects that pack a punch.
Next up, organize your priority list by what will have the biggest impact for the lowest cost. For example, updating hardware is a much smaller undertaking than ripping out and replacing old floors — and yet it can totally change a room. These projects are nice to take on toward the beginning of your renovations for several reasons: first, you’ll see major improvements with less effort; secondly, the momentum of a completed project will propel you toward your final goal.
First impressions matter.
Consider tackling the projects that have a big impact on the way people live and visit in heavily-used spaces. Think through your list — what do people see first? Replacing shutters for instant curb appeal or brightening up the living room paint can completely change a first impression, whereas a revamped laundry room may not.
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Remember: When it comes to home renovations, unless something is leaking or smoking, most things can wait. In fact, it may be good to live in a place for a while to see how you use it before you tackle renovations. And then, narrow your focus and take it one step at a time.