Building your own home, or totally renovating an older one, is the perfect way to create the house of your dreams, complete with everything you need. While it’s exciting to scribble out designs and browse through catalogues of furniture and materials, building a home is no walk in the park. It presents a myriad of challenges, and things rarely happen the way you planned.
Keeping your cool and staying organized can be a challenge, but it’s essential if you want your build to be stress-free. So many who have built their own home didn’t quite realize what they were getting themselves into, and would never do it again. Fortunately, with careful planning and some organizational tips, you can keep stress at bay as you build your dream home.
Settle on Your Needs and Wants
The first step towards grabbing the idea by the reigns is to know exactly what you must have and what isn’t strictly necessary. Trends come and go, and the latest so-called ‘essential’ materials always look appealing, so it’s only natural to become overwhelmed. However, by discerning between needs and wants early on, you’re less likely to get sidetracked on projects that aren’t so important in the long run.
Write up a list of all the things you want from your new home, then organize them into two categories: what you absolutely need for a great living experience, and what would be nice to have as well.
Make a Build Binder
A build binder is a great way of staying organized and will help ensure you don’t lose any contact details or product codes. It’s simply a ring-bind folder, separated into numerous categories—perhaps by room, or by task, such as tiling, flooring, etc. Within this folder, you can keep the contact details of everyone involved in your build, as well as plans, and photos/catalogue clippings of furniture and materials.
Find a Contractor You’re Comfortable With
Whether you’re planning to hire a contractor or to take on that role yourself, it’s essential that you’re picky about who you hire to help. It’s well worth doing your research and interviewing various candidates before settling on a particular contractor. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable working with your contractor and feel confident that your home is in their hands.
No matter how good someone is, if you don’t feel like you can discuss your plans with them and bounce ideas off them, your build can soon become more stressful than it needs to be.
Keep Your Paperwork Tidy
During your build, you’ll collect a rather large stash of invoices, receipts, permits and a great many other important documents. It’s imperative that you keep hold of these for future use, so make a separate folder just for the paperwork associated with your construction work. Use tabs to help separate the different types of documents, making it easy to find whatever you’re looking for when you really need it.
Keeping digital backups of everything is a great idea, and can save you having to lug heavy folders around with you all the time. The simplest solution is to use the camera on a smartphone to take photos and create an electronic house build folder. Not only does this ensure that you have a second copy should anything happen to the original, but it’s also useful to have photos close to hand for those impromptu meetings or shopping trips.
Make backups of all your paperwork, receipts, invoices and also keep photos of designs, furniture and materials that you like.
Keep a Clear Inbox
Your inbox is likely to be flooded with correspondence with contractors, estimates, delivery notes, and much more. Rather than having all these building-related emails mix in with the rest of the stuff in your inbox, create a separate section specifically for house stuff. This is quick and easy to do on most modern email services, and online instructions can be found with ease.
You might even consider creating a brand-new email address that is used only for house-related correspondence.
Be Prepared on the Go
Designing, planning and building your new home is a full-time obsession, and inspiration can hit at any time. Be sure you’re prepared for impromptu meetings, awesome finds and last minute tours. Create a ‘home kit,’ complete with a measuring tape, notepad and pen, your build binder and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Carry this kit in your car and it should ensure that you are prepared for anything that might suddenly come up.