Have you been daydreaming about making updates to your home? Do you have all sorts of ideas in your head or pinned to your Pinterest board, but the ideas never come to fruition? Or maybe you’re just stuck, paralyzed by the complexity of the projects that need attention. Whatever tribe you’re in we’re here to give you our best advice on how to make a plan and get things done!
Step 1: Compile a List
The first thing is to think about is what you want to accomplish and compile a list. Don’t hold back. Include projects big and small. Think of this as a brain dump. Don’t worry about the details just yet of when or how you’re going to make it happen. Just focus on the changes, updates, or fixes you’ve had on your mind and would like to complete at some point.
Step 2: Prioritize
Now that you’ve compiled a list of all the projects you’d like to accomplish. Let’s begin to prioritize your list. Really think about what you’re trying to achieve and WHY you want it done. A good place to start is to single out any projects that NEED to get done. These are the projects that can’t wait and you need to take action on immediately. Maybe you’ve had a leaky faucet that is costing you money and you just haven’t gotten around to fixing it or maybe it’s a bigger project, something you’ve been just living with because you’d thought you’d get around to doing it yourself, but you just never quite found the time. These items will be toward the top of your list. As you go through each project it might help to label them with the following: Needs to get done ASAP, In the next couple months, DIY, When we have time, or Someday.
Step 3: Set a budget
Now that you have a clear plan of what you’d like to accomplish, next is setting a budget. Setting a budget for a project can be difficult. This may require a bit of research if you’re not sure what kind of costs you’re looking at for a particular project. Doing a quick Google search might give you a ballpark amount or if you want to get a closer estimate taking the time to stop by a local store for an estimate might be a good idea. Don’t forget to bring any measurements you may need with you when you go!
Depending on material choices and labor costs, prices can vary quite significantly. If you’re looking to save some cash, buying materials from a big box store like Lowes, Menards, or Home Depot is recommended. If you go this route, keep in mind you may be left to hire an independent contractor for installation, which can be tricky if you don’t have a recommendation or someone you know you can trust.
If you have a bigger budget to spend and really want to have high-quality materials and more choices, you may opt to check out some local specialty stores in your area. Typically, specialty stores will have more of a range of materials to choose from and usually have their own installers, but often times will come with a higher price tag. After you have some numbers in terms of cost, this might shift some projects around on your list as to when you think you can tackle them.
Step 4: Assess Your Funds
If you’ve got money set aside and ready to go, good for you! If you need some time to save up it’s a good idea to come up with a savings plan. Write this category into your current budget or if you don’t already have a strict budget now would be a good time to start. Understanding how you’re spending your money and being intentional with what you spend it on will help you stay on track and set you up for success. This will also help you eliminate useless spending and direct your funds somewhere worthwhile, like your project list!
Step 5: Do Your Research
Not only is it important to research costs involved for a new project, but it is also just as important to find someone highly skilled to execute the job. When searching for a business or contractor to do the work it is a good idea to ask around. Getting a recommendation from a friend or someone you know and trust can give you peace of mind that the person you hire will get the job done and do it right.
You may not always be fortunate enough to have a good recommendation, so in this case, definitely do your research. Check the company or contractor out online. See what people are saying about them or their business. Do they have proper licenses or certifications to back up what they say they can do? Are they bonded and insured? Talk to the person completing the work and ask questions. Be very clear about what you need and make sure that the project is in their wheelhouse.
It is also a good idea to get at least 3 quotes. Be sure you know exactly what the quote includes so you can compare. You can even ask if the person anticipates any additional costs or risks. This will hopefully help you avoid any surprises later. Keep in mind if you are doing any extensive renovations there is always a chance once the contractor gets into the walls there could be unexpected issues that would be almost impossible to predict. Knowing that this is always a possibility though, can help you prepare so it is not such a huge blow if it does happen. Be ready to troubleshoot and pivot directions if needed and also having a little extra cash set aside for the unexpected is a good idea.
Lastly, before you choose someone you may want to check their availability. How soon they can put you on their schedule might have an impact on who you end up choosing.
We’re hoping this step-by-step guide has given you the momentum to start taking action. Now it’s time to make those plans and get going on your list! Our hope for you is that this leads you to a happier home that serves you and your family well in the upcoming year.